Minimalism + Ethical and Sustainable Living

It all started

when I decided to move away from my home state and head to Florida with my soon-to-be husband. With no money for a UHAUL, we packed up everything that we absolutely needed into our car and left everything else to a thrift store.

That. Was. Scary.

Taking the first leap into minimalism as a matter of necessity is a theme I often find when people tell tales of how they became a minimalist. For me, if it weren’t for that necessary first big, ginormous, frightening leap, I don’t think I would have ever found my way to a minimalist lifestyle. To be honest, before Florida I was quite the opposite of a minimalist – I was the ultimate consumer.

Without diving deep into my past consumeristic lifestyle, we’ll move onto why I decided to delve further into a life of minimalism.

My second push at continuing my minimalist journey was a lack of funds now that:

  1. I’d given up my unemployment check (and hopes of a job in a state deep in economic crisis) and deciding to look in for a job in Florida instead,
  2. My husband was on the hunt for a new job as well after being laid off from his last one,
  3. I started a new business,
  4. Our Florida apartment cost 3x what our Tennessee housing had.

Our lack of funds led us to not buy anything, basically for an entire year, with the exception of our $20 thrifted couch from Salvation Army.

I thought I’d be giving up a lot, not being able to buy the things I wanted (and thought I needed) now that we were house-poor…

But in that year of living by the beach and DOING MORE instead of OWNING MORE, I realized the true freedom that having less brought me.

Ever since, I’ve opened up my eyes, mind, and heart to a host of alternative living practices: we now live in a 25′ RV full time, adopt a vegetarian/sometimes vegan lifestyle, shy away from harsh chemical-laden products, and choose to buy thrifted over new items whenever possible. In many ways, becoming a minimalist has changed my entire world.

Minimalism, to me, is purchasing and owning only those things that are useful and/or bring me joy.

Aria

Living in an RV has made this even easier, as the small amount of space forces us to keep paring down what we own and questioning what we truly need in our humble home. We’ve realized that at the end of the day, it’s the people and experiences we have, not the things we have that really matter. What we buy affects how we live, but it also affects others, and that’s probably the most important thing I’ve learned from this journey.

Learning about how the daily choices I make impacts myself, others, the animals and the planet has been radically life-changing.

Changing the way you live, shop, eat, etc can dramatically improve your life, the lives of those around you, and the home we all share – Mother Earth. Choosing whether or not to buy sustainably and ethically impacts the lives of other people every single time you shop. What we eat affects our health, the animals, and our planet. What we put on our skin, hair, nails, and clothes affects our health, animals, and the environment.

Learning about how these simple daily choices impacts us, other people, animals, and our planet can make such a huge difference. That is why I’m writing this article – to bring your awareness to these critical facts in the hope that you’ll want to educate yourself, dive deeper, and make more mindful daily choices.

If you’d like to learn more about minimalism and living an ethical and sustainable lifestyle, check out these resources:

Minimalism Documentary

All about Fast Fashion

How Your Food Choices Affect…

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