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I keep starting this post and then stopping. The topic of “depriving” yourself when you’re downsizing and simplifying is a difficult one to address. At what point is it considered “depriving yourself”? I find myself wanting to tell you to “go for it!” if you find something you love, but that contradicts many of the other posts we’ve written where we tell you to “let it go”. Such a confusing topic. The good news that minimalist lifestyle choices does not mean you deprive yourself.
You know when you’re dieting and you’ve cut out a specific food group, so you begin to crave that chocolate bar or huge bowl of macaroni and cheese more than ever? Your mind gets into this “I NEEEEDDDD to have it!!!!” way of thinking, and instead of just taking a spoonful you end up choking because you’ve shoved so much food into your mouth at once? That feeling of deprivation SUCKS! That’s why so many dieters fail, yet so many diets tell you to give yourself a cheat day, find alternatives, or allow yourself to have a small snack size piece of chocolate instead of the full bar. You get to indulge in the treat but not OVERindulge. Not overindulging is the key here.
How does this compare to minimalism, you ask?
Simple. Let’s say you’re a huge collector of *I don’t know….* comic books/graphic novels. You made a decision to downsize and simplify, and now you find yourself saying “Nope. Don’t need it.” Great! What’s not so great is those graphic novels brought you joy at one point, and now you’re depriving yourself of them. When you do finally cave and buy one, you instead end up spending hundreds of dollars because you just can’t stop.
Now… I’m not saying this is the case for everyone. What I am saying though is replace the text “comic books/graphic novels” with something else, such as clothing, shoes, books, movies, etc. Let’s face it, it happens. I can safely say it’s happened to me a time or two before as well. I have a thing for purses… let’s leave it at that.
How does one satisfy a “craving” without overindulging?
The same way you would if you were dieting. You give yourself a little leeway. Here are three tips for how you can still enjoy the things you love, without overindulging or cluttering up your home:
- Set a budget for the year.
First thing, set a budget. If, for example, you love shoes, set a budget of maybe $200 for the year. This way you still get to enjoy your shoes without feeling like you broke the bank or cluttered your closet.
- Rent or borrow the item.
You may be surprised to realize just how many things you can go without if you simply rent them or borrow them from someone else. Movies, for example. We used to be BIG movie hoarders, but now with Amazon, Redbox, Netflix, etc. it is easier than ever to find a movie you enjoy, without cluttering your entertainment center.
- Stick to the rule of one in-one out.
This has been a classic rule for so long for one reason: It is super effective! You can enjoy that new purse or graphic novel, so long as you remove one you no longer need or use. It’s the best way to enjoy what you love without adding to the clutter.
One last thing….
It’s still important that you carefully weigh your purchases before indulging. Just because you have the leeway doesn’t mean you should go trigger happy. If you rush out and buy the first thing you see, you may be left feeling unsatisfied by your purchase. I find that when I sit on the thought of purchasing a “must have” item for a day or two, if I do finally purchase said item it’s a much more satisfying purchase, and the item is more likely to be enjoyed and used.
What tips would you give someone who is feeling deprived in their journey? Let us know on Facebook!
For tips on how to begin your decluttering journey, you can Start Here, or snag a copy of the 30 Day Challenge (our Minimalism and Decluttering eBook).