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Life Changes I Made as a Frugal Minimalist in 2020

Author:

Micha is an aspiring minimalist. And finding the process fun and liberating.

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I was in the first year of minimalism (decluttering, digitizing, and unsubscribing) when the covid-19 pandemic hit. I wondered, will this signal the end of minimalism? Is it no longer relevant? Is the minimalist way of life after all not a smart way to live. People are starting to hoard all sorts of things, preppers seem to be in a better position during such uncertain times.

As the days, weeks and months went on, it became clear - those that have an emergency fund saved for the rainy days have much more leeway on what next step to take in the face of sudden unemployment and are more able to adapt to the situation. It made me wish I have come across this lifestyle earlier on. I regret my past wasteful lifestyle and mindless buying.

LESSON LEARNED 1


The most essential thing we need is food and medicines.

There are two kinds of food I need, first, for nutrition and satiating my hunger. The other one is comfort food, those we eat because they are yummy, beat boredom, or satisfy our cravings. Minimalism helped me focus on preparing meals that give most nutrition or comfort and at certain times, both.


ACTION I TOOK:


I made space for a pantry.

I literally removed the clothes in a plastic cabinet to turn into a pantry. If ever there is a lockdown, what is the use of all these clothes? You cannot eat them, can you? I think that is the essence of minimalism, having enough of the things we need, no excesses.



I started I become aware of the shelf life, expiry dates of ingredients, and make sure we consume everything we buy. Every time we go out we risk catching the virus, so if we have the necessary ingredients and staples, we lessen the chance of exposing ourselves to the virus. I also keep a year’s worth of supply of items that will last more than a year like salt, sugar, black pepper, soy sauce. This also allows us to spend less for example buying a 17kgs can of cooking oil of a cheaper brand. And if there is one ingredient that we want fresh, we can go quickly to the store or market, pick up the item and go. Also if there is a lockdown, it is practical to have at least 2 weeks' worth of food in your kitchen.


As for toiletries, I try to keep one year’s worth of toiletries. For example, I bought 2 liters of store brand shampoo.

I started gardening by planting ginger first. From there, I can try other cooking staples like garlic or tomatoes.

LESSON LEARNED 2:


Importance of physical, mental, and emotional health

ACTION I TOOK


Since the final battle is with our immune system against the virus, we cannot afford to be weak. There are two ways to make sure of this.

First is to make sure you get all the nutrients your body needs.

After learning that egg is like a multivitamin except for Vitamin C, our family prepared breakfast around eggs. Either we pair dried fish, dried squid, frozen food, etc. with eggs either poached, sunny side up scrambled or we make canned tuna omelets. (Please consult your doctor first if the cholesterol in eggs will pose a problem for your health condition) We get Vitamin C from citrus fruits and other Vitamin C rich fruits in our garden or dishes with moringa leaves. Lemon infused water is also an excellent way to get Vitamin C. I would’ve eaten a Mediterranean diet 3 times a day if I have the ability to which by the way the internet says is the healthiest diet, but since I can't I have to pick the next best thing.

I learned to cook sweet potato delight. It is one of the most nutrition-packed food on the planet. I can easily consume a kilogram because I so so loved its taste.


Second, get rid of your body of toxins.

Turmeric is very effective in detoxification. You can also do apan mudra which is the hand gesture for detoxification in Ayurveda.


Find things that bring you joy.

Looking at my roses and orchids brings me joy. They call it “flower power” in the past. I think we need it again during these times. Gardening is also a relaxing activity and also strengthens the immune system both from physical activity and getting healthy sunlight.



Connect.

We need all the love we can get from family and friends. Heck, if you don’t have those, even well-meaning online friends. We need to keep our sanity and care for our mental health during these times.


Indulge.

You can go for a walk down memory lane for happy and warm moments. Or you can create one in your fantasies where you are in a happy place. Even if we can’t go physically, who says you can't go where you want to. You just need to expand your imagination.

LESSON LEARNED 3


My Limited Resources

I learned even more to value my limited resources. I saw before my two eyes why financial gurus tell of having at least having 6months to 1 year emergency fund.

A more important resource though is time because it is is limited and non-renewable. I would choose freedom, peace over mind over a collection of luxurious bags, for example. A stressful life is not how I would want to spend my time.

Our attention is also an important resource that I like to preserve through living simply and being intentional.


ACTION I TOOK


I created a wardrobe that is functional.

I only need three kinds of clothes – work clothes, clothes to wear around the house and clothes for errands in the town center. I also have to deal with three kinds of weathers or seasons – summer, the transition to cold months, and really cold months. I got rid of heeled shoes and kept closed pointed flats in back and nudes or browns. I got a black slip-on for casual wear.

I have been using my sling bag in a nice shade of red for half a year now. There is no need to transfer all my stuff in another bag. I just pick it up and go, no hassle.


I now see why minimalists emphasize buying quality and durable items. I also bought a few items that complete my wardrobe, those that complement the existing items I chose to keep. As I age, I gained a few inches around my waist. Comfort is most important to me more than ever. So the texture of the fabric is foremost when I make the keep or get-rid decision.


It gives me immense satisfaction to see all my pieces of clothing being worn and I am getting back my money’s worth the more often I wear them. I like how I love my wardrobe now because I can decide on what to wear in a matter of seconds.


life-changes-i-made-as-a-frugal-minimalist-in

I now see why minimalists emphasize buying quality and durable items. I also bought a few items that complete my wardrobe, those that complement the existing items I chose to keep. As I age, I gained a few inches around my waist. Comfort is most important to me more than ever. So the texture of the fabric is foremost when I make the keep or get-rid decision.


It gives me immense satisfaction to see all my pieces of clothing being worn and I am getting back my money’s worth the more often I wear them. I like how I love my wardrobe now because I can decide on what to wear in a matter of seconds.


KEY TAKEAWAY

Now, in my 2nd year of minimalism, I am starting to be able to know in my mind what items I have. I don’t have lost or forgotten things at the back of cabinets or broken things tucked somewhere in the house. Everything I own is things I actually use.


I am taking my time while in this minimalism journey and I know it will take years before I reach my desired state. That makes it less stressful and more satisfying. I don’t know what I will discover in the future, but that is something I look forward to.

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