What have you heard about minimalism? If you picture couples selling their homes and moving into tiny shipping containers nestled deep in the woods, that’s only one version of minimalism – it’s not the whole story.
Yes, plenty of minimalists move into 350-square foot tiny homes and live waste-free, plastic-free lives by making their own napkins and toilet paper. However, not every minimalist has a house to sell or cash in the bank to drop $40,000 on a tiny home.
Hollywood wants you to believe that minimalism is about living with as little as possible in as small of a space as possible. In reality, minimalists live diverse lives and many wouldn’t move into a tiny home for a million bucks. Minimalism is a personal experience that looks different for everyone.
Being a minimalist isn’t about forcing yourself into a cookie-cutter, “as seen on TV” lifestyle. You can be a minimalist on your own terms. In fact, you can adopt minimalist habits without the full commitment and transform your life in the process.
1. Minimizing waste in any form will make a difference
Not ready to live a waste-free life? That’s perfectly okay. While some people enjoy the challenge of producing less than a mason jar full of trash each year, you don’t have to set that kind of goal for yourself to make a difference.
News articles tend to highlight stories depicting people who go far out of their way to reduce their trash production. This gives the false notion that you have to go all-in or your efforts don’t matter. The truth is, all of your efforts to reduce your trash production matter, from buying in bulk to switching brands to reduce plastic packaging.
If all you did was switch from plastic razors to a safety razor, your shaving routine would almost qualify as waste-free. Your razor would last a lifetime and 5 tiny cardboard boxes of 10 replacement blades would last you a year or more, depending on how often you shave.
2. Minimizing social media use will give you more time for your projects
The average person spends nearly 2.5 hours per day on social media. That’s 17.5 hours per week and 75 hours per month. That’s a lot of time!
Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time to pursue your own interests? Reducing the amount of time you spend on social media will automatically grant you more hours in the day.
Instead of bickering with strangers over political differences, find other ways to spend your precious time. Get involved in a community project, volunteer at your local food bank, or start that project you’ve been putting off for years.
3. Decluttering will improve your life
How many times do you kick stuff around wishing you had more space in your house? Is your garage piled high with boxes of stuff you’ll never use? Are you ever going to have that garage sale? Now is the time. You’ve already spent far too much time thinking about your clutter. It’s time to get rid of clutter and take your life back.
Clutter wastes space and time
Check out these statistics on clutter from BecomingMinimalist.com. The data shows that getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40% of housework in most homes. The National Association of Professional Organizers says we will spend an entire year of our lives looking for lost items. If you store items in a self-storage facility, you’re wasting thousands of dollars every year. These are alarming statistics.
Clutter is a mood killer
It’s hard to stay in a good mood when you’re surrounded by clutter. A messy desk kills creativity and a messy living room makes it hard to truly relax. Random piles of stuff can also give you anxiety.
Your brain loves order. Don’t let clutter ruin your life mentally, physically, or financially. If you have stuff hanging around, spend a few days going through each box and make an immediate decision: keep or not. Anything you don’t want to keep, either sell it or donate to charity. Don’t put it back in the “keep” pile.
Be your version of a minimalist
You don’t need to be a full-time, all-in minimalist if that’s not your cup of tea. You only need to be your own version of a minimalist. If that means adopting two minimalist habits and ignoring the rest, that’s perfectly acceptable.
The point of being a minimalist is to eliminate excess and that process looks different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to be a minimalist as long as you’re minimizing something in your life that doesn’t serve you or the world.