Minimalism is focused on living with less. Do you want to start living a minimalist lifestyle? Here are the top tips & tricks how to start doing so!
One of my goals was to collect less stuff and embrace minimalism. The minimalist lifestyle sounded awesome to me; less clutter, less maintenance costs, less things to worry about, less less less!
I’ve already been doing great for some years not buying anything except for what I need. However, I certainly had a lot of stuff that I bought years ago, never used and still keep around ‘just in case’.
I don’t even know what kind of stuff I had that was taking in so much space. It’s just lying there, chilling.
In theory, being a minimalist sounds great, not having too much stuff to worry about and only keep the necessities that you use. In practice it’s harder to implement.
First, we’ll discuss the benefits of minimalism. After that, we will discuss a couple of small steps you can take to get started.
So let’s dive straight into minimalism!
Minimalist Lifestyle – Less Worry
As I’m collecting more stuff with the years, I realize that a lot of things don’t bring me joy or happiness. They just make me worry about; ‘I should really use that’, ‘Why am I not wearing that’, ‘Why do I have so much stuff’. It’s not that my space is cluttered, I keep it as clean as possible. It’s more that my closets and my cabinets are just overflowing, the stuff is everywhere and I can’t find a thing.
I love a lot of the things I own, but some things are just there, not bringing me any joy and taking up space. Also, I don’t even know what I have. Sometimes I find something that I forget I had.. I think that says it all!
There is also this voice in my head asking me ‘why do you want to throw it out?’, ‘maybe you’ll need it one day’, ‘you spent money buying this’. If you’re also having one of these voices, please ignore them. You’ll feel much better when things are cleaned up and you are seeing less stuff around the house.
So get rid of the unnecessary stuff that you don’t completely love & you have some extra space in your mind to think about other things!
Related Reads: Why Experiences Are Better Than Things
Minimalist Lifestyle – Less Maintenance
The more you embrace minimalism, the less time you have to spend on maintenance and cleaning. You don’t have to clean the things anymore that don’t bring you joy, I know we all dread cleaning. This will be a good first spot to step up your game! In addition, you don’t have to maintain everything anymore. No more gadgets fixing, sowing clothes, deep cleaning etc.
This will free up much of your time, alongside with the fact that you will have less to organize and less to search for! Imagine allll the time that you are spending now on organizing, cleaning, maintenance, searching for stuff. Uhg, especially the searching for stuff would save me a lot of time! This time you can spend now on doing things you love, what a different life that would be!
You can pick up things you enjoy, but never had the time for! Like:
- Your hobbies
- Spending time with friends and family
- Spend time with yourself, just relaxing
- Learn a new skill
Minimalist Lifestyle – Less Spending
Freeing up space in your house and in your mind is only one benefit of minimalism! What if you want to get things out of your house that are perfectly fine to use? One thing you could do is sell them. Sell them on eBay, Craigslist, etc. This will bring you extra income, on top of the other benefits!
Related read: Side Hustle, ways to earn extra income.
Next to the fact that you can sell your stuff, living the minimalist lifestyle is just that – a lifestyle. This means that you want to prevent cleaning out your house, selling and throwing out things, only to buy them again the next month. You’ll only buy what truly brings you joy and that you really need. This basically means you will be buying less stuff, which means a higher savings rate and a bigger investment account.
Staying On Track
Throwing out things would hurt in the beginning, but it would feel good afterward. However, staying on track would be the hard part.
If you get your stuff down to a certain # of items, what do you do when you want to buy something new? The best way to go about this, is to ask yourself: ‘Do I love this item more than any of the other things I have now?’. If you say no, be honest with yourself and don’t buy the thing. If you say yes, go for it! HOWEVER, you should get rid of as at least one thing in exchange for your new item.
Buying New Things
I started around 3 years ago on the one end of the spectrum: I don’t buy things I don’t need anymore. First I was having very real issues with buying everything in sight. When I buy something, I ask myself:
- Do I really need this?
- Will it bring me joy?
- Can I afford it?
- Do I want to spend my money on this?
If the answer to all these questions is YES, then I’ll buy it. Most of the time, if I don’t really love something it isn’t worth spending my money buying it. For friends and family, I love to buy gifts, so I spend much more than I would for myself.
One extra tip that I can give you, is to go shopping with a goal. Last month I really needed an extra pair of work pants. I only was wearing the same black jeans, and I really needed the extra one. Well, the shops are only open from 9 am until 6 pm on the day that I had time, and I was there at 5.30 pm. I took 15 different pairs of jeans into the fitting room, which I fitted in 20 minutes. In the end, I bought 3 pairs of trousers within 30 minutes for €60 (apparently it was on sale, happy me!).
So make sure you ask yourself the questions above, go shopping with a goal and you buy less of what you don’t need.
7 Small Steps To Begin With The Minimalist Lifestyle
It can be difficult to start with a minimalist lifestyle. You want to start, but taking on everything at once is way too overwhelming. Here are a couple of small steps you can take to get started!
1. Write Down Your Why
Writing down your why is the start of many processes. Why do you want to simplify your life? Why do you want to live the minimalist lifestyle?
It could be that you’re stressed out, write that down. Or you could feel like you don’t get any time with your partner. Write that down. Don’t have money to spend on the things you love? Write that down. Want to be financially free? Write that down too!
The whys you write down for your process will keep you motivated. When you want to quit, when you feel like it’s too hard to keep going, when you need that finish push – your whys will do exactly that!
2. Think About It
To through you home and take a step back. Take the observer role and walk through your house. What are the things that you would like to see change? What would your current home ideally look like?
When you take a step back and really observe your home from an objective perspective, you will see the true potential of you home.
Imagine what you home would look like when you’re done with it. This can provide you with some extra motivation to get started and make the change happen.
3. Get Rid Of Duplicates
Getting rid of everything that you don’t use anymore is a little to radical for the majority. When you want to get rid of stuff, it can start to feel overwhelming. Where do you start?
Take a small step and put all your duplicates in a box. Do you have the same games? Put them in the box. Do you have duplicate books? Put them in the box.
Go through your house and fill up the box. You will be surprised how many things you have save for ‘just in case’.
Put the box away for 30 days. Anything you haven’t used by then, you can donate.
Good news: once you start it will get easier. So there you go.
4. Dress With less
People have way more clothes than they think. Consider implementing a clothing ban for a while.
A clothing ban is a period in which you don’t buy any new clothing, jewelry, or shoes. You can decide for yourself what you include in your clothing ban, it can be anything that you want to include.
I have a clothing ban in place for almost two years now. Read everything that I learned from my clothing ban and how it can benefit you as well!
Having no new clothing into your closet will help you a lot with identifying which of your current clothes you actually love. Some items you won’t wear as often and you can get rid of them if you’re ready. Go for quality over quantity any time!
5. Be Grateful
The minimalist lifestyle is largely about being happy with what you have. This comes from gratitude. When you feel grateful about the stuff you have in your life, the things that give you joy, and what adds to your house – you will feel that in your body.
Gratitude is one of my favorite emotions to have, it makes you feel so happy and content!
Focus on the things that you have in life that give you joy. The beauty of the items, the convenience of the items, and how easy these items make your life.
It can be a work of art, a photograph, your guitar, or the water boiler that gives you hot tea in the morning.
Find it hard to focus on the gratitude side of things? Or want to enhance your gratitude practice? Here’s why a gratitude journal can help you with that!
6. Minimize Your Meals
I have to say: this step is not for everyone!
When you think about how much time you spend about thinking what you want to eat, it’s insane. What do we want to have for dinner? What do I want to have for breakfast?
The problem here is that the options are ENDLESS. Food isn’t as simple as you think.
Simplify your meals and you will save a lot of time. Try eating the same breakfast and lunch every day. Plus, have a 4-5 dinner options that you can rotate throughout the weeks.
7. Save Money
I’m a big advocate of having an emergency fund. You will find a big relief in both stress and emergencies when you have an emergency fund.
Set aside month every week to fuel your emergency fund and you will feel so much lighter when you reach that.
Let’s Do It!
It all sounds very great, but now we have to take action! Try every one of these steps and see what it brings you. Some things will stick, others will not. That’s all fine.
Take slow steps, one at a time, to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Even if it takes a couple of years to get to your ideal situation, you will notice the benefits immediately when you start living the minimalist lifestyle!
Related read: How to Simplify your Life
Are you planning to dip your toes into the minimalist lifestyle?
This article originally appeared on Radical FIRE and has been republished with permission.