“Weniger, Aber, Besser.” Nope, it’s not a new brand of beer. Not a high fashion clothing line either. These three words are German for “Less but Better”.
Legendary Industrial designer Dieter Rams believed that for a product to be truly functional and timeless, it has to cut through all the non-essentials. All efforts should only be focused on what is vital.
Do you still remember the phone you had before 2007?
Mine was a bulky Nokia touchscreen with a stylus. Then, the iPhone was released. All of sudden, scrolling through web pages in Opera Mini using a clunky stylus seemed silly.
When every phone manufacturer back then was coming up with more stuff and features to cram into their devices,
Steve Jobs and Apple surprised everybody with a completely new phone that focused on simplicity and beauty. And it forever changed the way we use our smartphones.
What is Minimalism?
Contrary to popular belief, Minimalism is not about owning less. It’s not about discarding all your possessions and going on living like a monk. Ask a true Minimalist and they will tell you that Minimalism is a “tool” that they use to experience true freedom, fulfillment, and happiness.
“Freedom from what?”, you ask.
Freedom from all the anxiety, stress, and worry that comes with owning a lot of stuff. “The things that you own end up owning you.”, said one popular maxim. And sadly, it’s true. Let’s say you buy a new car.
You haven’t even started using it for a full week when all of a sudden you “gotta have” new rims, custom seat covers, dash cam, spoilers, and new headlights.
In the next few months, you obsess on these things that you prioritize them over more important stuff, like setting aside cash to have your toilet’s flush fixed.
Minimalism can help people discover their life’s passion. If one focuses on what is truly essential and discards the “noise” around him, every waking day of his life can be dedicated into fulfilling his dream and doing the things he love.
Tyler asked Raymond what he wanted to do with his life. Crying and begging for his life while down on his knees, Raymond said that he wanted to become a veterinarian but couldn’t because he had to work.
Tyler takes his ID and reads it. “I know who you are and where you live, Raymond. If you’re not on your way to becoming a veterinarian in three weeks, I will find you and kill you. Now go home.
As Raymond got up and bolted away in tears, Tyler said, “Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.”
Too extreme? I know. But in a way, we can relate it to one of Minimalism core concepts, which is to say “Yes” to what is truly important in order to fulfill our dreams and say “No” to the non-essential.
Minimalism is focus. It’s about making room for the things that give you the greatest joy. It’s about having less in order to add more value into your life.
One of my favorite authors, Derek Sivers, once said: “When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”
Why Minimal Living is a Better Way of Life?
I chanced upon an article a few years ago about an art director’s decision to wear a “uniform” everyday.
She needed a solution to simplify her morning struggle when choosing what to wear. Turns out, this decision opened up a lot of realizations in terms of the benefits of keeping things simple.
What are these benefits?
1. Quality over Quantity
Ever bought those dirt-cheap batteries you find in your suking tindahan? I have. I bought 4 pieces for 10 pesos. I thought it was a sweet deal. I even liked its orange color.
However, less than a week after slapping two of these on our wall clock, both drained completely in the middle of the night.
Not knowing the clock is frozen, I ended up being late for work the next morning and had to spend a few more minutes on my way home just to buy new (and legit) batteries. It ended up costing me a lot more than just the few pesos I saved from buying those damn knock-offs. Moral of the story?
It’s not about how many you have. It’s about having a few pieces that work perfectly. Stuff that don’t fail you. One may have a dozen pair of cheap Adidas knock-off slip-ons but I’ll pick my trusty old Islander’s over those any day.
2. Save Time, Energy and Money
Less stuff means less things to manage.
This saves you precious time, money and energy. Think about it.
Here’s an example: More clothes = more dirty laundry, more closet space, more detergent and fabric conditioner needed, more water needed, more time needed to do the laundry, more electricity to consume, more clothes hangers to use—you get the idea.
And no—don’t go smart aleck saying you have your laundry done at laundry shops. The bottom line is that you’ll still end up paying more.
Related: How to Save More Money
3. Less “Decision Making Fatigue”
Ever wondered why Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Karl Lagerfeld, and other popular icons wore the same clothes everyday?
Asked why he always wore the same grey T-shirt to work, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replied, “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community,”.
Like energy, Willpower is a finite resource. These highly influential people figured that they should focus their energy and decision-making juice to the more important stuff.
Things like deciding what to wear uses up these precious resources that could be put to more essential use.
4. Less Clutter and Distractions
You’ve probably seen an Apple Store, right? I always liked how things looked clean and bright in there. They keep a minimalist design principle. All those shiny Apple products spotlighted perfectly for maximum “come-buy-me” effect.
Being a minimalist means having almost zero clutter and putting emphasis on the best stuff you have, eliminating distractions at the same time.
5. Appreciate things more
Since they only have a few items, Minimalists tend to put greater appreciation on the stuff they own. They take great care of them and generally feel more thankful for having it in their lives.
A kid who owns a dozen toy cars will usually find no great inclination towards a specific car but a child who owns just one 4×4 toy truck can play with it all day long.
20 Tips on How to Become a Minimalist
1. Prioritize the things you can’t live without.
When it comes to stuff I own, I always say that anything that haven’t seen action within the last 12 months should be seriously considered for disposal (sell it or give it away).
2. Invest in quality products
So that you only need one pair or set of it.
3. Ask yourself these questions before any purchase: “Do I need it?
Do I already have something similar to it? How often will I use it? Am I buying this on impulse?”
4. When buying groceries, make a list and stick to it.
This will prevent any splurges that comes to mind.
5. Designate a place for each item.
Whether it’s your husband’s work tools or your kid’s toys, knowing where to get each item saves time, effort, and allows you to focus on the task at hand.
It’s funny how laying around lazily in the house almost always ends up picking up the phone and ordering food. Avoid the temptation completely, go for a run or hit the gym.
Live closer to your work. Yes, this counts. Being a minimalist means spending less time on the road and more time to do the things you love.
7. Create to-do lists.
Having this routine allows your mind to go on auto-mode and easily dive into the important tasks of the day. This will prevent your mind to wander and avoid unnecessary actions.
8. Make a daily menu.
Figuring what to eat upon arriving home eats up precious time. Set a schedule for which food to prep on specific days.
9. Keep your clothes organized.
Fold your clothes. In her best selling book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, author Marie Kondo recommended folding your clothes and storing them in drawers instead of hanging them. Not only does it take less space, it looks a whole lot tidier and allows you to easily sort through them.
The easier they are to access, the faster you can prep, avoiding frustration which may lead to needless purchases for new ones.
10. Does this item “spark joy”?
Marie Kondo’s greatest tip is to ask yourself if the item “sparks joy” in your heart. She believes that each and every possession you have should be able to do this which in turn will allow you to stick only to the essentials.
From the same book, the author advises that if you’re having a hard time disposing something, treat it as a friend and “thank it” for bringing you joy. It will give you the courage to let it go.
11. Donate to charity.
Any items you no longer use can bring much joy and value to people in worse conditions.
12. Sell your old stuff online.
Computer tables, old washing machine, TV, etc. You’re not only keeping this tidy, but you’re also squeezing one last drop of value from that item.
Read Next: 5 Profitable Side Hustles for Filipinos [see “Buy & Sell” section]
13. Try the “333 Challenge”.
For those unfamiliar, the 333 Challenge is all about having “just” 33 pieces of clothing (or less) to wear for 3 months (hence the name). It allows people to really focus and think on which items to keep.
14. Do an annual purge.
Sometimes, we simply accumulate stuff even when we try being mindful about it. To deal with this, do an annual “Decluttering day” to keep unnecessary stuff from piling up.
15. Go for dual and multi-purpose items.
An ottoman is both a seat and a compartment for stuff. My small bottle opener double-duties as ref magnet for holding To-do’s in our fridge. When possible, buy stuff that can go multi-purpose to save on space and money.
16. Be honest.
Your old T-shirt with a hole the size of your fist belongs to the recycle bin (or just turn it into a rag or something).
And if you realize you’ve been spending time on shopping apps too often, get rid of them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “just looking” into the item showcase then end up adding them to your cart “because it’s such a great deal” a few minutes later. Don’t be one of those people.
17. Prune your wardrobe.
Remember, decision fatigue is a real thing. Does that small-sized blazer from 2009 still fit? Hand it over to cousin or a friend. Win-win.
Do an audit of the total number of clothes you wear in a week. If you realize your only using X number of shirts with X number of pants, you can probably store the others somewhere or better yet, sell them.
18. Stick to the essentials.
When buying new clothes, ask yourself, “Is this something I’ll wear often? Will this go with the current wardrobe I own?”
When it comes to shoes, try to stick to the basics. Most will probably have more than 6 pairs of (ladies) at any given time. No problem with that as long as you’re truly using them all on a regular basis.
19, Learn to say no.
This is a biggie. Whether it’s a new purchase “on sale” or a colleague inviting you for a drink later on a Monday, always remember that you should always prioritize the important things so you don’t end up with regret later.
20. Start the habit in your Kitchen.
At our home, we only have a pair of drinking glasses at the cupboard. Yup, just two. We almost never have any guests at our small condo hence the decision. And I always thought having more than enough makes me lazy, because instead of making sure the glasses are always clean and ready to use, I just reach for new ones.
It may sound silly but it definitely works for us.
In case the occasional visits happen, we have a couple of extras tucked in the kitchen drawers. The key is to keep them hidden most of the time to keep things tidy (crucial in smaller spaces). Less stuff means more space saved.
This is going to be difficult, but you have to sell or dispose of old kitchenware too. That’s the minimalist’s way to do it.
Lastly, always check your fridge for leftovers. You can save some money on meals and keep the refrigerator clean and tidy.
10 Useful Resources on Minimalism
A documentary that tries to answer the question, How might your life be better with less? It shows the lives of minimalists from around the world and how they find value in living the minimalist life.
2. Be More with Less [Blog]:
Founded by Courtney Carver, this site is all about “simplifying your life and infusing it with love.”
3. Becoming Minimalist [Blog]:
Joshua Becker built and writes on this blog that “is designed to inspire others to pursue their greatest passions by owning fewer possessions.”
4. The Minimalists [Blog]:
From the creators of the “Minimalist” documentary we mentioned earlier. Aside from writing for their blog, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus also do talks around the world and have published a book about the topic and currently runs a podcast.
5. The Tiny Life [Blog]:
This website promotes Tiny House living, Minimalism and Homesteading (self-sufficient lifestyle)
6. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo [Book]:
This is the book we mentioned earlier in our list. This book popularized the KonMari Method, which is an organizational technique that consists of “gathering together all of one’s belongings, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that spark joy and choosing a place for everything from then on.”
7. Spark Joy by KonMari [Book]:
The follow-up to her best-seller, this one’s an illustrative guide for an easier understanding and application of the KonMari method.
8. Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life [Book]:
The book that narrated the journey and personal experiences and learnings of Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists).
9. Minimalism PH [Facebook Group]:
From their page: “A group for people who want to start or share about their minimalism journey. Simply because it hasn’t been started yet.”
10. Break the Twitch [YouTube Channel]:
This YouTube channel highlights the philosophy of living intentionally and offers dozens of useful video tutorials on minimalism, and establishing daily habits.
Where to Donate or Sell your Decluttered Items: Clothes, Furniture, and Toys
If you’re keen on the idea that Minimalism is a good thing, then why not start by decluttering and helping others at the same time?
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of places where you can donate your old stuff.
1. Habitat For Humanity ReStore Philippines
Habitat for Humanity is all about building homes, communities and hope. ReStore serves as their donation center. They sell donated items and all proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity’s projects.
Phone: (0927) 527-0887 or (0908)727-3377
2. Segunda Mana
Caritas Manila’s fund raising project. All proceeds from items sold will go to financing their outreach projects.
Phone: (02) 564-0205 and 562-0020 t0 25
3. Ortigas Library Foundation
For pre-loved books, you can bring them to Ortigas Library Foundation. Their goal is to distribute these books to less-equipped libraries within the Philippines.
Phone: (02) 631-1231 to 38, local numbers 228 and 222
4. LoveYourself, Inc.
This group advocates awareness and counseling about HIV/AIDS and general well-being. They will accept your old computers and furniture to help fund this endeavor.
5. Philippine Toy Library
Share the gift of happiness that toys bring with other less fortunate children. They also accept paints, used books, and building materials.
Address: 56 Esteban Abada St., Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Phone: (0917) 318-2795
Email: e-mail at info[at]toylibraryph.com
6. H&M Foundation
Aside from giving 1 peso to local charities per kilo of used clothes you donate, H & M also offers a 15% discount with each bag of clothes.
Address: All H & M Stores
7. Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
Promoting values and inspiring disaster victims to help others is what the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is all about. They accept used clothing and other stuff at their headquarters in Q.C
Address: 76 Cordillera corner Agno Street, Barangay Doña Josefa, Quezon City
8. Precious Heritage Ministries Foundation, Inc.
Giving hope and love to the neglected and less-privileged children is this foundation’s mission. You can give used clothes and other pre-loved items in their office at Sta. Cruz Manila or Antipolo.
Address: 1340 Manuel Hizon Street, Santa Cruz, Manila
Phone: 736-5867, 0998-971-7176
9. Citizens’ Disaster Response Center
Helping people who went through disasters like fires and floods is what this foundation seeks to do. You can donate stuff like used clothes, medicine, water, canned goods and their team will re-package them for distribution to our fellow Filipinos.
Address: 72-A Times Street, West Triangle Homes, Quezon City
10. Philippine American Guardian Association
They tied up with DSWD for greater reach in helping develop programs focused on children and less-fortunate families. They distribute donated clothes during their programs.
Address: Unit 310 3/F Cattleya Condominium Building, 235 Salcedo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City
Phone: 817-5896, 0998-846-2038
11. Goodwill Industries of the Philippines
Goodwill accepts and resells used items for funding their development programs for helping persons with disabilities.
Address: 22 VRCC Road, VFP Industrial Area, Veterans Center, Taguig City
Phone: 838-7170, 837-3094
12. Philippine Red Cross
The Philippine Red Cross will accept used items like clothes for helping fellow Filipinos affected by typhoons and other natural calamities.
Address: Lourdes 1, 661 Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City
13. Christian Mission Service Philippines
Helping orphaned and abandoned children is this foundation’s main focus. By donating your used clothing, your helping both children and the foundation run its daycare centers.
Address: 188 Kaimitoville, Kaimito Street, Valle Verde II, Ugong, Pasig City
14. Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines
Your blessing will go a long way. Donate your used clothes and other items to Operation Blessing and they will distribute this to people in dire need of basic amenities.
Address: C5 Road corner Retelco Drive, Bagong Ilog, Pasig City
Phone: 477-7802 to 08
15. Aling Puring
No, she’s not the Puregold lady. Lola Puring Dy is known for picking up used items from households for reselling at her thrift store. She will pick up the items at your home, so better call her if you want a hassle-free way of disposing old stuff.
Phone: (02) 241-6565, mobile 0917-333-7563, 0917-890-4799
16. Virlanie Foundation Philippines
Established in 1992, this institution have helped thousands of street children live a better life. Items liked used bedding, utensils and clothes can be donated here.
Address: 4055 Yague Street, Barangay Singkamas 1204 Makati City, Philippines.
17. Buy, Sell & Trade websites and Facebook Groups
If you want to make some money from your pre-loved items, why not sell or trade them? Popular sites include Olx.PH and Carousell.PH. You can also join FB groups such as the following: