Minimalism: A Year Later (Part 2 of 4)

Over the course of 2017, I focused my sustainability efforts on minimalism. When I started out, I had no idea how great an impact it would make on my possessions, on my physical, mental and emotional health and on my life’s goals. I also realized that the first year was just the start of my journey.

Possessions: Minimalism and Personal Care Routines

I began my minimalist journey with my closet and so it just seemed logical to continue revamping my personal care and appearance. I began to tackle my beauty routines and possessions.

Some things I tried didn’t stick (like buzzing my hair), but overall my routines became more streamlined and better reflect my values.


Buzzed Hair.

(One minimalist experiment I tried was buzzing my hair. While I love the look of a buzz cut on many women, I didn’t find it suited the shape of my face.)

I’ve gone for a simplified look: no elaborate hair styling, make-up, or perfume simply because I currently find no value in it (if I one day do, then so be it). Minimalists can certainly be beauticians as well, but this doesn’t interest me personally.

My selection favors routines that don’t take up too much time or space, but also that have as few ingredients as possible. I don’t use products that have been tested on animals or have animal-derived ingredients.

Oral Hygiene:

  • tongue scraper (mornings)

  • dental floss (evenings)

  • toothbrush (2x/day)

  • tooth powder or toothpaste (2x/day)

  • mouth rinse (2x/day)

Face Care: (1x/day)

  • witch hazel (in roller bottle)

  • oil blend (in roller bottle)

  • chap stick

In The Shower: (3-4x/week)

  • shampoo

  • conditioner

  • liquid Soap

Body Skin Care: (Variable)

  • dry skin brush (1x/day)

  • lip and scar balm (for stretch marks, 1x/day)

  • Nova Scotia Fisherman: Xtreme Skin Care (for my super dry hands, as needed)

  • salt deodorant

Misc. Body: (1x/week)

  • safety razor and coconut oil (shaving)

  • fingernail clipper

  • toenail clipper

  • tweezers

  • small scissors

Hair: (daily)

  • wooden comb

  • a small baggy of assorted hair ties, bobby pins, and clips

  • fancy leaf/feather hair clip (1)

  • fancy hair piece (with stick)

Women’s Health:

  • cloth pads (x9)

  • Diva cup

  • basal body thermometer (not shown in picture)

hygiene spread

Health: Minimalism and Fitness

During my pregnancy, I did try to stay fit with varying degrees of success over 9 long months. It was actually at the end of the pregnancy and when dealing with a newborn that my fitness suffered the most. As anyone involved in fitness can attest, with a break in practice, your fitness gains can easily be lost. Still carrying the baby weight, I feel as though I’m starting from scratch. My core is especially weak.

I have three kids, have very little personal time, and very little daylight at this time of the year. With these factors in mind, I’ve fashioned a simple routine that has already shown itself to be beneficial.

Early in the morning, before the kids wake up and my husband leaves, I spend about 30 minutes doing the following:

  • 4 Sun Salutations

  • App assisted, body weight training:

    • Leg Challenge Apps on my cell phone (Right now, I’m working on a squat challenge.)

    • Core Challenge Apps on my cell phone (Right now, I’m doing an app that has 5 different body weight exercises.)

    • Arm Challenge Apps (Right now, I’m using an app that has multiple exercises and a set of light weights I already had at home.)

  • 7 Minute Full Body Workout App

  • Stretching

I also try to incorporate more movement into my day by: writing while sitting on an exercise ball, moving the baby changing station up the stairs, parking further from my destination and walking, housecleaning as exercise.

I’m one of those crazy people who enjoys exercise, but it can be difficult to slip it into a busy day. By simplifying my routine and lowering my expectations somewhat (I tell myself that in warmer months I’ll get to doing more) as well as being consistent, I feel as thought my fitness is not being neglected.

Goal: Health

Health is a very important, lifelong value for me. After all, as it is often noted, if you don’t have your health, you haven’t got anything.

I didn’t expect minimalism to improve my physical health. Sure, I kind of figured it could have a positive impact on my mental and emotional health as I removed clutter and excessive obligations from my life and home, but how could paring down help build my health?

As noted above, by simplifying my exercise routine, I am able to do it more consistently which is crucial to keeping those fitness gains I do make.

I apply a lot fewer chemicals to my body while preparing for the day, keeping the ingredients simple and less toxic.

I also clean my home with little more than vinegar, water, baking soda, and castile soap.

With less stress, I feel freer to add routines to increase the quality of my sleep such as winding down at night with self-massage, daily gratitude journal, a cup of chamomile tea, and meditation.

Beyond striving for simplicity and “do-ability”, minimalism has filled my life with more intention. I think about what I do and whether or not it serves me and my goals. For instance, I choose not to get drunk because I am acutely aware of the financial cost, potential weight gain, and the cost to next day’s productivity and emotional state.

Still to Come: Minimalism and Diet

I don’t eat less. That might be a bit contrary to what one might expect from minimalism and diet being linked.

So far, minimalism has begun to affect my dietary habits, but I haven’t hit that magic groove that tells me that my decluttering has reached a satisfactory level for me right now. It is a feeling I get when the level of decluttering reveals the possessions and routines that are in alignment my values and sense of self.

I also have to make more compromises here as my husband and I have very different cooking styles and goals. This is shared territory.

Some adjustments I’ve made so far include:

  • organized and decluttered (a bit) in the kitchen

  • purchasing packaged foods with fewer ingredients

  • cooking simpler meals that are less time, ingredient and utensil intensive

  • meal prep my lunches, cooking a big batch that lasts for about five days (this has decreased the amount of processed foods I eat)

  • employing a meal plan and making a shopping list from it

  • not worrying over the “perfect” diet, just making incremental changes

Minimalism has positively impacted my health in non-minimal ways. It should be fun to see how these changes magnify themselves, when done consistently, over the course of another year.

Until next time, be the light by living lightly!

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