Inside: Read on for five ways you can treat yourself while living minimally. Being a minimalist doesn’t have to mean always going without. It just looks different.

A guest post by Cora Gold

If you’ve been working to live as a minimalist, you might be wondering if you can still treat yourself. And if so, what that would look like.

Minimalism is a great way to live intentionally, protect the environment, and be free from the weight of overconsumption.

But it doesn’t mean you never spend money on anything or don’t get to still enjoy your life. In fact, one of the key values behind minimalism is clearing out the clutter so that you can make space for more of what matters to you.

While you don’t want to splurge on unnecessary items or practice retail therapy, you may still want to reward yourself sometimes. So, how can you treat yourself while living minimally?

Here are five different things you can do while sticking to your minimalist values.

treat yourself while living minimally

5 Ways to Treat Yourself While Living Minimally

Living a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t mean you’re constantly living a life of deprivation. Minimalists can still have fun and enjoy things. It just may look a bit different than what it does for those focused on consuming more.

Here are five great ways to treat yourself while living minimally.

1. Host a Clothing Exchange

After ruthlessly decluttering your closet, you’re likely more careful about what you add to it in order to maintain your minimalist space.

It’s great to be more intentional with what you purchase and make sure it is something you love and will wear. But it can still be fun to add a special new (to you) piece from time to time.

Have you considered getting by with a little help from your friends? As a bonus, you can enjoy a happy afternoon full of fun and laughter while reconfirming your mutual commitment to a zero-waste lifestyle.

Host a clothing exchange. Have your BFFs bring over items from their wardrobe and make a pile where you can see everything at once. Then, get creative — how many new outfits can you create?

What if your friends come in assorted shapes and sizes? Emphasize accessories! The same funky belt can highlight two different waistlines, and scarves and sunglasses fit nearly everyone alike.

Furthermore, remember that the same T-shirt that’s a tiny bit long on you might make the perfect nightshirt for a shorter pal — or even a shirt-dress with the right sash and set of heels.

Just make sure you don’t take items that don’t fit or that you don’t love home with you or it will end up creating clutter in your closet.

treat yourself while living minimally

2. Go on a Weekend Adventure 

The best part about minimalism is spending less time maintaining your stuff in exchange for more adventure. When was the last time you hit the open road?

If you’re truly a weekend warrior, consider keeping a go-bag stocked with the following essentials so you can take off on a whim:

  • Your passport 
  • Spare cash
  • Comfortable shoes for spontaneous hiking 
  • Biodegradable soap and shampoo
  • Non-perishable camp snacks like trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, and granola bars

Do you think you need a bankroll to get out of Dodge? Think again. Thousands of YouTube videos can show you the ins and outs of boondocking — the technical term for dispersed camping on public lands.

If you aren’t already living the tiny RV lifestyle, consider outfitting your car for spontaneous camping. A rooftop tent provides extra security while keeping you away from slithering critters and keeps you from sleeping in a cramped ball in your backseat.

Be truly devout to your minimalist lifestyle by repurposing your dryer lint into fire starters and have your blaze ready for marshmallows in minutes.

Don’t have the time to do a weekend-long adventure? Consider doing a day trip and finally doing that hike or check out that town that you’ve been wanting to see.

Experiences make the best gifts even when they’re one you give yourself. Making new memories is priceless.

eating in a restaurant

3. Try a New Restaurant

Did many of your small kitchen gadgets find new homes when you converted to your minimalist lifestyle? Buying and maintaining less stuff means more money for others to pamper you — and for you to reward their efforts with a solid tip.

Instead of grueling over a stove for hours, go out to eat. Do you want to make your indulgence even more sustainable? Consider these factors when choosing a restaurant:

  • Farm-to-table goodness: These restaurants have exploded in popularity because they offer peak freshness. They also cut out the emissions created when shipping food over long distances.
  • Healthier options: Consider trying a new restaurant that has healthier options. That could include vegetarian, vegan, or simply ones that stick to using fresh foods without adding excessive amounts of saturated fats and sodium.
  • Local and seasonal offerings: The next-best thing to farm-to-table restaurants are those that source their products from local vendors and change their menu to reflect the seasons instead of shipping in exotic produce from far away.

If you have a list of places you’ve been wanting to try in your area, this can be a great way to treat yourself or celebrate a special occassion.

using a metal detector

4. Become an Urban Archeologist 

If you want a new treasure, why not find something that’s already out in the world? Hit a nearby park with a metal detector and see what you can find. 

They can be as exciting to explore as the innermost jungle, as long as you take the proper precautions to stay safe:

  • Go with a friend: There’s safety in numbers, so grab a partner if possible. New activities are more fun when the experience is shared with a friend. Also, metal detecting can make your arm tired so having a buddy to trade off with will make it more enjoyable.
  • Dress the part: A sturdy pair of close-toed shoes are a must — steel-toe boots are even better, especially when shuffling around in the dark. Gloves are also a good idea to keep your hands both warm and clean as you dig through the dirt looking for your treasures.
  • Bring the right tools: In addition to bringing a metal dectector, a small shovel and a flashlight are both very helpful as you search for treasures.

If you don’t have access to a metal detector or the idea just isn’t appealing to you, geo caching is another great option for enjoying a fun new experience.

Have a beach nearby? Look for treasures like sea glass, a shell, or a unique rock. You don’t have to take any of these items home. Simply take a picture and leave it behind.

treat yourself while living minimally

5. Find a Fun Volunteer Experience

Volunteering doesn’t have to be a chore. This activity is one of the best to boost your happiness and overall mental health because it stimulates the flow of positive neurotransmitters like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.

Furthermore, volunteering can be fun. Taking part in a city-wide tree-planting campaign provides many of the benefits of forest bathing while introducing you to new people and teaching you a thing or two.

Walking dogs for a nearby shelter can help ease your inner ache if you desperately want a canine companion, but your lease says, “No dogs allowed.”

Bring a friend with you — or propose a stint at your local soup kitchen as a first-date idea. If nothing else, it will help you weed out those matches who pretend to align with your value system but don’t walk the walk.

Treat Yourself While Living Minimally

Adjusting to a minimalist lifestyle takes intentionality. However, it doesn’t mean you stop doing things that make you happy. Quite the opposite actually. You’re creating additional space for what you love most.

And there are many simple ways to enjoy your life that don’t involve bringing new things into your home. You can still treat yourself while living minimally by focusing on experiences instead.

Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist magazine. She loves writing about family and living life to the fullest. Follow Cora on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

How do you like to treat yourself while living minimally? Share it in the comments section below.

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  1. I treat myself by getting my hair done at a local hairdresser who has a beautiful ‘salon’ in her home. It’s such a treat for me to have her wash my hair, give it a little trim and then ‘style’ it. It’s just the boost I enjoy from time to time! It lasts for about a week! 😊

  2. I love a great massage. You can usually get a 30 min. massage for about $35, or at least in my hometown it’s possible. And you’re not taking anything home except peace and relaxation!

  3. I appreciate the good ideas here, and especially like the comment: “becoming a minimalist doesn’t mean you stop doing things that make you happy. For instance, while taking several hauls to St. Vinnies to recycle, I took a look at my nicely organized linen closet. I realized we had been using the same dreary-drab mostly white towels for years! (Boring huh?) I thought so, and when the idea came to treat myself for my hard work, I rid our closet of those towels, (oddly still in good shape) gave them to a thrift store and went to T.J. Maxx where I found a variety of pretty peach and apricot towels to go with the multicolored shower curtain. These in spring colors lifted my spirits, gave a fresh look to the main bath, and the best part–is no clutter!

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