Make it minimal

Saloni Dhumne
Monday, 2 September 2019

If you want to do your own bit for the environment, adopt a minimalist lifestyle. Here are some easy steps to help you begin the journey

Millennials are known to have grown up in a culture wherein one is encouraged to show off and spend a lot of money. And when one lives in such times it is hard to minimise your possessions and solely invest in things that you truly need. But if you care for the environment, you need to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. In fact, minimalism has been trending all over social media and also making its way into various industries like fashion, design, food, technology, housing, beauty, and so on. Here are some ways in which you can imbibe the idea of minimalism on an individual level.

Changing one’s own lifestyle is not an easy task. Hence it is ideal to start small by taking one step at a time. Ankita Malakar, Agartala-based Instagram blogger, who tries to go green by implementing a minimalist lifestyle, talks about ways in which she began her journey. “I started small by clearing my junk mail, cleaning my room, switching to a wooden toothbrush and a comb instead of plastic ones, reading digital books instead of buying a new one every week and so on,” says Malakar. 

Similarly, Naina Rathi, who recently started leading a minimalist lifestyle, is trying to inculcate little changes every day. “I consciously think about what I buy and consume and it has changed my priorities for the better,” says Rathi.

Setting smaller targets for yourself makes it more realistic. Mumbai-based Li Actuallee, an interdisciplinary artist and a queer yogi, lives by the motto: ‘Live simply, so that you can love to the maximum’. Her core philosophy is to lead a more intentional life, full of simplicity and meaning. She has taken steps and made little changes in her everyday life that contribute to the planet and her own lifestyle on a very large scale. “I carry tote bags while shopping to avoid taking extra bags from the store. Every time I go out to eat, I carry a tiffin box for the leftovers and I always make sure to carry water in a reusable bottle to avoid buying it from outside,” says the artist. 

She adds that when she requires something,  she first tries to find a used version instead of purchasing a new one and similarly, when she is no longer in need of a particular item, she tries to find someone in need of it instead of just throwing it away.

Vyshnavi Gudivada, popularly known as ‘The Indian Minimalist’, owns a website that talks about various methods of decluttering on a personal level. “The 90/90 method has worked out the best for me and for many others,’’ she says. The 90/90 method is about putting an item of clothing into a declutter bin if you have not used it for 90 consecutive days. “See, if you happen to wear it for another 90 days, it is worth preserving and if not, it is time for you to donate or recycle it,” says Gudivada. 

She also asks consumers to think twice before purchasing new clothes as the production of a single t-shirt requires about 2,700 litres of water and with the prevailing water crisis going on in the country, water conservation is no longer just an option. Fast fashion brands use materials containing a large number of microplastics which are discharged into the air, water and land with every consecutive wash that damages the environment on a massive scale. “Instead of buying from fast fashion brands, consider purchasing from thrift stores and flea markets. If possible, try to get your garments stitched using environment-friendly materials like hemp, cotton, linen and flax. But on the whole, buy less, as minimalism is all about lessening your possessions” she adds.

Sathvika Tummalapalli, a 21-year-old freelance graphic designer who mostly survives on hand-me-down clothes, feels that fast fashion brands generate a large amount of pollutant residue, thus harming the environment. She believes in the idea of finding a second use of already used items and using hand me downs is her core method to execute her belief.  “The hand-me-downs carry the souls of those who have worn it and all of them happen to be my sisters. It feels calming on a mental and emotional level, thus adding to my minimalist lifestyle. Hence, I’ve not purchased any clothing or jewellery for about three years now,” says Tummalapalli.

Reduce, recycle and reuse is the best formula that one can follow to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. Minimalism has multiple benefits, both mentally and environmentally. Vara Laxmi, a mass communication graduate from Hyderabad, says, “Your mind feels at peace when you set little goals for yourself like cleaning your room periodically. This not only creates more living space but also makes you realise the number of unnecessary things you have. Decluttering not only makes your room tidy but also makes you feel organised and at peace.” 

Gudivada adds, “Decluttering has multiple benefits not just financially but also reduces decision fatigue. The less you spend, the more money you have for experiences. And, when you clear the clutter from your home, your mental clutter gets cleared too.”

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