Living in New York (or any big city) forces a person to be minimalistic when it comes to their stuff. There’s barely enough space for the things I need, let alone the things I don’t need! It’s why I’m such a huge fan of Marie Kondo, she helps you to hold on to the things that spark the most joy, and get rid of all the stuff that doesn’t.
However, it was only when my appendix burst that I began to adopt minimalism as more of a way of life, as opposed to just a way to deal with clutter.
But what does that actually mean?
Minimalism isn’t about getting rid of everything you own or leaving everyone you know to travel around the world. It’s more about getting back to basics, relying less on material needs or obsessing over the desire to have it all.
As well as using the Marie Kondo method to clear clutter, I have also brought a more minimalist style to my life by writing ‘just enough’ lists. I found these helpful because as a type A personality I like to get as much done as possible, but it’s just not good for your long term well being.
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I’m also aware that I don’t like to say no to people, so I often end up signing up to loads of networking events or agreeing to proof read someone’s book when I have a tight deadline at work. To avoid this I have started setting myself limits, for example I only book two events after work per week. That’s it. Any more and I get cranky. I know myself and I try to keep within these guidelines.
As my web designer and media strategist Cass McCrory explains in her book, The Subtraction Project, it’s about getting rid of all the extra stuff in your life to make space for the things you truly enjoy.
So how can you bring a more minimalistic approach to your life:
- Use the Marie Kondo ‘Spark Joy’ principle, if something doesn’t bring you joy, whether it’s an item or clothing or your weekly yoga class, it needs to go.
- Set some rules for yourself — if like me you’re prone to saying yes to too many things, have some clear cut limits to stop yourself from agreeing to too much.
- Re-work your to-do list — if you have more than 10 things on your list, ask yourself do these all really need to be done today? I’ve worked on many other to-do list hacks in my course Listful Thinking Masterclass. It’s now closed but you can get on the waiting list here.
- Question yourself before you buy — The founders of minimalists.com recommend asking yourself a few questions before buying any new item. For example, “Will I use this nifty device all the time?” “Will that use justify its cost and the space it occupies in my life and in my home?” “Is there some other way to achieve the same end without accruing a new possession?” “Is there some other way I’d rather be spending this money?” By asking yourself these questions can help curb your spending habits and think more rationally when bombarded with sales and advertising.
As the guys at theminimalists.com point out, being a minimalist means different things to different people. You don’t have to sell everything you own or build your own tiny house. That’s what I like about minimalism so much, you can take it one step at a time and adapt the principles to suit your own needs. Do it part time if you like and see how it goes.
Originally published at medium.com