3 Reasons to Embrace a Minimalist Lifestyle, According to an Expert
Dara Zycherman, owner of Less Equals More, helps clients adopt a more minimalist lifestyle that's sustainable in more ways than one.
Minimalism is more than a pared-down aesthetic. If you ask Dara Zycherman, a minimalist lifestyle coach and the owner of Less Equals More, a shift toward a more minimal life is actually the key to a more sustainable life on a personal and planetary level.
Zycherman's innate identity as an organizer—present for her entire life—met a worthy partner in a love of the environment, nurtured over more than a decade working at the U.S. Green Building Council. After years spent tending to the planet on a macro level, Zycherman decided to take her work micro, coaching and aiding individuals, couples, and families on their journeys toward a more minimal, and thus more sustainable, life.
Why Is Minimalism So Important?
The average American home has 300,000 items and throws away more than 68 pounds of clothes and 185 pounds of plastic annually. As if that wasn't enough, the majority of said waste isn't even properly disposed of.
A minimalist lifestyle simply asks that you be more intentional about your belongings—what you already have, what you bring into your space, and why.
"Think about it—think about your life," suggests Zycherman in an episode of Good Together as something of a first step. "Think about what your goals are and think about how you want things to change, because that becomes a map that you use when you ask yourself questions."
While minimizing your belongings becomes more complex when considering variables like kids, habits, and more, the simple act of taking an inventory of the "what" and "why" of your stuff can begin to change the way you consume—and this will benefit both your individual experience and that of the collective.
Here are three of Zycherman's top reasons to consider a more minimal lifestyle (that have absolutely nothing to do with interior decor taste).
3 Reasons to Adopt a Minimalist Lifestyle
1. To Better Your Finances
Sure, if you're a minimalist, you buy less—but Zycherman says it's not just about that.
"It's actually about organizing your finances in a simple and streamlined way," she says. "It gives us an opportunity to get really clear on what you want to spend your money on, knowing where you're spending that money, and not allowing financial stress to dictate behavior or lack of behavior in action."
Once you've done that and you've gotten really clear and you're streamlined and you feel really in control, Zycherman says you can make some choices about where you spend your money.
2. To Live More Mindfully
If you want to live more mindfully, Zycherman says adopting a minimalist lifestyle is a great place to start.
"With mindfulness, we can determine what's most important in our life, what we really care about—our values, like sustainability," Zycherman says. "With minimalism, we can live a less distracted life where we're not so focused on things, and we're more focused on what's meaningful based on our presence and our state of peace in the moment at hand."
3. To Center Sustainability
Just because a product is sustainable doesn't mean you need to buy it. Sometimes you already have what you need on hand, be it an old t-shirt you can use as a cleaning rag, or takeout containers you can use to store future leftovers.
"No matter how 'green' a product is, it was always kind of clear to me: 'Wait a second, there's a lot behind any product that I buy. So what is the greenest product? It's not a product,'" Zycherman says. "I was seeing a commonality between sustainability and minimalism and living simply and like living with the earth in mind."
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