How to Practice Minimalism While Living Abroad
We currently live in a society where we are bombarded with the desire to constantly buy more, have more and consume more. Being surrounded with endless options every day, often comes with a desire to have it all. Never feeling satisfied with what we have, can lead us to having more than what we really need. In comes the concept of minimalism, a mindset leading us to living a freer life. Embracing and practicing minimalism helps us to feel happier, healthier and more grateful for what we do have.
Living abroad is the perfect opportunity to practice the art of minimalism. It's the perfect moment to begin as you can only bring a limited number of clothes and you’re essentially re-creating the life you once had in the states. It’s time to break down some simple ways to start incorporating minimalism into your everyday life.
Minimal Guide to Clothing
What we wear is a way to express our style and creativity but sometimes, we have more than we need. How many pieces do you own in your closet that you haven’t worn in the past 3 months? How about 6? Okay, it’s time to do an inventory and bring it back to the basics.
- Basic pieces are everything. It allows for you to be able to make at least 15 different outfits out of a few simple switch-ups. When we have endless clothing options, we end up wearing the same things continuously. So, why not get rid of what you don’t use? Yes, the fringe shirt you wore to that college festival probably won’t be of good use now, no matter how badly you wish it were.
- Accessories can take an outfit from 0 to 100, if you do it right. Don’t be afraid to get creative and use your favorite accessories in different ways. That long gold necklace you might have, try using it as a waist belt with your favorite jumpsuit, to see it come to life in a totally different way than you’re used to. (Yes, I might be talking from experience). That scarf you love, wear it in a different way or even throw it around your shoulders as a shawl to give an outfit a new look.
- Layering is the perfect way to have your wardrobe expand into the different seasons. Your favorite tank top can be worn in the winter under an open sweater and scarf. The button-up shirt that you normally wear to the beach, throw it on with a pair of jeans for the perfect fall ensemble.
Minimal Guide to Decorating Your Apartment
In our apartments back at home, the space is probably filled with a plethora of things that we’ve had for years but forgot existed. When moving to a new apartment, take out the time to stop and think what you truly need to bring with you and how can you make more of your space with less.
- Make the most of natural light. Sometimes light can make all of the difference in transforming your space, to make it seem larger and more welcoming.
- Have a few statement pieces in each room. If you have a handful of things in the apartment that are unique and pop out, they will be a great way to grab the attention and start the conversation with any visitors. Attention to detail is everything.
- Keep it clean. More than anything, one of the keys to living a minimal lifestyle is keeping things organized.
Minimal Guide to Beauty Products
Stop and think about your current beauty supply. Is it enough to fill a small shop? How often do you actually use that third tube of mascara you have on your dresser? It’s so easy to have more than we need, but quite often, we only use our favorites.
- Go through your beauty and hair supplies and ask yourself, “When was the last time I used this nail polish color?” “Will I use it in the next three months?” If the answer is no, toss it.
- Check expiration dates. Piling up on products sometimes means that they expire without us noticing. Go through and see what is out of date before the next time you use it.
Minimal Guide to Food
Odds are, wherever you’re moving too will have food that’s different than what you’re used to at home. Of course, we’ll miss our grandmother’s spices and cooking, the glory that is everything bagels with cream cheese and Chipotle but something you’ll quickly learn is that you can live without it.
- Use fresh, healthy food for more flavor. This will also help you lose weight and not feel bad about indulging.
- Only buy what you’re going to eat. Buying multiple packages of the same thing, although it’ll expire can end up wasting money and refrigerator space.
- Take advantage of meal plans. If you list out what you’ll try to eat during the week, it will help solidify your grocery list and make life each day when you get hungry between work and your other obligations (whether that be a second job or grabbing cañas with a few friends).
These are just some suggestions to start embracing a lifestyle where you learn to do more, with less. How do you embrace minimalism in your every day life?
Sienna Brown is the founder of Las Morenas de España. From New York to Murcia, Spain, she is constantly on a journey to inspire and be inspired while engaging in different methods of creation. Her passion for learning about others leads her towards constant exploration and practicing the art of listening as much as she can. See more of her work here and follow her adventures on instagram.