While each of these concepts or activities are all different and stand alone, they can be inter-related.
Here are some definitions/explanations of the three terms.
Minimalism – is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. This comes from ‘The Minimalists’. You can read the full article here.
Decluttering – to remove things you do not need from a place, in order to make it more pleasant and more useful. From the Cambridge Dictionary.
Zero Waste – is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators or the ocean. From Wikipaedia.
Minimalism and decluttering are very personal and subjective topics and I am not here to tell you that you must only own a certain number of a particular item or what you should or should not remove from your life or home.
There is no good reason for the order in which I listed these topics but I feel as though decluttering should come first. I think it would be almost impossible to consider minimalism without first removing the clutter.
Identifying and removing clutter is the first step to clearing both physical and mental spaces. However, beware of anyone who tells you that they they decluttered their entire home on the weekend. It is best done as a considered and incremental process otherwise the results are likely to be the same as a ‘crash diet’. You may lose your way and end up in a worse position than when you started.
Below are are couple of photos of my bathroom. It did not always look like this. I do not expect that is how yours should look. It is simply an example.
It is close to 20 years since I began to question the variety of lotions and potions I seemed to have but I did not throw any away. I gradually used things up and did not replace them. Routines have been simplified and we no longer use shampoo or conditioner. I mostly wash my hair with plain water and occasionally use a small amount of body wash. This was not a conscious decision but a by-product of questioning what we really need. I am not alone as you can see here.
The reason that I mentioned not using shampoo or conditioner is that is a perfect example of how minimalism, decluttering and zero waste can be tied together. My shower shelf and bathroom cabinet are not cluttered and our bathroom needs are minimal. There are no shampoo bottles ending up in landfill or at best, possibly being recycled. Additionally, trying to avoid harsh chemicals and toxins ceases to be an issue.
You do not need to subscribe to any particular philosophy but living an authentic life which works for you is important.