Ditching the bulky lifestyle in favor of minimalism is the latest trend, and some may not put any stock into it, but there truly are benefits to living a minimalist lifestyle that everyone—minimalist and skeptic alike—can enjoy. By reducing clutter in any aspect of your life, you expand your freedoms; whether that’s more time, more money, or more space, you’re free to do more of what you love.
Starting small is key. The first step to a more minimalist lifestyle is reducing what you carry with you. It’s a safe bet that nearly everyone carries things in their wallet or bag that they simply don’t need. We’ve divided these items into 4 categories, so you can easily reduce clutter and only carry what matters.
Whether you mean to or not, it’s not unlikely that you’ve been carrying around an expired credit or debit card, gift card, or coupon. The first step in reducing what you carry is to go through your wallet and make sure you’re not carrying any of these expired, useless cards.
Next, evaluate which of your credit cards you use enough to justify carrying. Did you once give in to a pushy cashier and get that store credit card that you haven’t used in over a year? Do you have a credit card that gives you great savings, but you almost never use it? Leave those cards at home, or better yet, snip the card and close the account! Doing this will not only reduce your everyday carry, but it may also improve your credit and encourage you to spend less.
Despite living in the digital age, lots of people still carry around sentimental items that can easily be digitized or just thrown out. One of the biggest culprits is photos. Don’t carry around wallet-size photos or photo booth strips! There’s really no need, and doing so only serves to fill up your wallet. Scan these photos and put them on your phone’s camera roll so you still have them on-the-go (and take a look at our post on the best apps for storing photos). If one photo is extremely important to you, make it your phone’s wallpaper so you see it frequently.
Another item some people carry for the sentimental value is ticket stubs from movie theaters, museums, or theme parks. You don’t need to carry these with you; you’ll never use them again. If the memories attached are just too valuable to throw away, try taping the stub to your car’s dashboard or inside the mirror visor. While ticket stubs are small and lightweight, they take up unnecessary space in your wallet and can easily be placed somewhere in your car or home where not only will you see them more often than if they stayed tucked inside your wallet, but they’ll also give that space some personality.
Once you’ve removed expired and sentimental items from your wallet or bag, it’s time to move on to items that you might think are necessary to carry, but again (thanks to the age of digitization), they won’t be missed. Membership cards were once necessary to bring with you to stores, but nowadays, the vast majority of stores offering memberships simply ask for your phone number at checkout and don’t require you to have the physical card.
Many people also carry bills and receipts in their purses, bags, or wallets. Don’t do this! Opt for paperless billing so that all your bills are emailed to you, and check out our post on the 5 best apps for scanning and storing receipts so you don’t have to keep the physical copies with you. Likewise, an app exists for the other things you might carry like coupons and books. Nearly every store that offers coupons has an app where you can receive, store, and redeem coupons. As for books, choose from any number of apps for listening to audiobooks—and if you prefer to read books rather than listen to them, use an app to download the text to your phone or tablet.
The last step in minimizing what you carry is to examine your necessary carry items, and see how you can reorganize them to reduce the bulk. Medical necessities are among the top items that people carry, and while you definitely shouldn’t forsake these things in favor of minimalism, there are ways to reduce them in your everyday carry. For example, lots of people carry medications with them. If you’re one of these people, consider switching out the pill bottle for a smaller pill organizer or pill capsule. Additionally, for any coins you have, keep them in a cup holder in your car so you can use them for small drive-thru purchases. This will not only reduce your overall carry, but make things quieter and more organized.
A majority of people have HSA and medical insurance cards that they absolutely need. However, instead of carrying these in your wallet or bag every day, try putting them in a secure, designated spot in your home or car and removing them when necessary. That way, you’ll only carry them with you when you know you’ll actually need them. Doing this will reduce a surprising amount of space in your wallet! (Hint: you can also apply this principle to punch cards that you don’t want to throw away, but aren’t used frequently.)
Going minimal doesn’t always mean whitewashed walls and a tiny home. At the end of the day, the goal of a minimalist lifestyle is to free up time and space to do more things you love. By minimizing what you carry, you’re free to go more places without being weighed down by a bulky wallet. Grab a slim, minimalist wallet here.