There are a million reasons people choose to pursue minimalism. Whatever your main motivation, most of us believe it will make us happier in the long run. It’s easy to admire the lifestyle from afar, but learning how to be a minimalist takes a little more dedication. Today I’m giving you 6 minimalist tips to help you get started.
Minimalism has been the single best thing I have decided to do in adulthood. It has helped me define the things I care about, it’s helped me calm the crazy and it’s helped me decide where to put my time and energy. I’m a frugal person by nature and to be honest, I don’t love putting a bunch of energy into anything I don’t love.
Pinterest parties? Count me out. A crazy colorful stylish wardrobe? Not really my thing. Being the perfect wife and keeping a perfect house? That one is what really got me here. It’s so much work and I hated it. I know we all have to do a certain amount of cleaning and maintaining, but it wasn’t enjoyable. So when I discovered minimalism, all of these things made finally made sense to me. I would be happier with less.
But I get a lot of comments and questions about how other people would love to do it, but could never part with “x,y,z.” A lot of people are interested, but aren’t sure how to be a minimalist at home.
What is a minimalist lifestyle?
Minimalism looks different for everyone. It’s rarely an overnight process and requires consciously thinking about the things you have in your home currently, and the things you decide to bring into your home in the future. It’s constantly evaluating your priorities and making room for the things that really matter.
A minimalist lifestyle is about more than the amount of clothes in your closet. It’s also about the way you spend your time and where you decide to invest your energy. It’s about rejecting that you can only be successful if you’re busy.
Here are some things you can expect once you embrace minimalism:
- A stylish home that reflects who you really are
- More time to spend with the people who matter
- The ability to say no to things that aren’t important to you
- More money to put toward your priorities (experiences, retirement, etc.)
- Freedom from being “busy”
While everyone’s version of minimalism looks different, there are some things you can do to help you figure how out to be a minimalist in a way that fits your lifestyle best.
Minimalist living tips:
1. Find your motivation.
Create a vision of what your perfect life would look like. I recently did an exercise with some fellow bloggers and the first thing we had to do was answer that question. What would life look like if you had everything you wanted and money and time were no issue? Or in other words, how would you spend your time?
This is how you find your motivation, define your why, whatever you want to call it. This vision is what you are going to work toward and what you refer to when you feel like giving up or like there is no end in sight. This is the end goal.
For me, it’s to travel the world, read books, have lunch with friends, and have good conversations with the people I love. I’d also love to be living in a modest ranch house that’s perfectly decorated for me and my family.
Your answer can be anything you want it to be. Don’t take things off your list because you think it’s getting too long for minimalism, just be honest. That is your motivation.
Whether you need more money to reach your goals or more time, minimalism can help get you there. And as you continue to make progress and live the lifestyle more, your end goals might change, or they might not. The point is to make this simple minimalist lifestyle work for you.
2. Address your mindset to think like a minimalist.
Chances are, if you’re looking into becoming a minimalist, you’ve already started to understand that your physical belongings are some of the most powerful things that are keeping you from achieving your life goals. Your time and money isn’t being spent on the things that are important to you and are instead being wasted on buying and maintaining more stuff.
So put some thought into your daily habits and how they impact your life goals and your minimalism goals. Look at your buying habits and where you tend to buy things you don’t need. Then decide what things are important to you and worth a little extra time and effort. Consider your time, money, community, environment and your future. It’s also nice to know that you’ll adopt a minimalist mindset more and more as you continue making progress.
3. Start decluttering your home.
Getting started is actually the hardest part. It can be overwhelming to know that you need to get rid of hundreds or thousands of the things you own. But instead of looking at it like this giant mountain to climb, divide it up into smaller tasks.
I personally advise starting with your closet. Take every single thing out of the closet and go through it all before putting back the things you want to keep. Sell, donate or throw away the rest. Then I suggest working on your bathroom and kitchen. These 3 spaces are typically used the most every day and getting them cleaned out will simplify your daily life almost immediately.
4. Make a game plan for getting rid of stuff.
You can create a strategy for how to get rid of the rest of your stuff. Make it a goal to fill a tub each day or week with things to donate. As soon as it’s full, be sure to make time to deliver your donations so they don’t sit in a corner of your home or the trunk of your car for weeks or longer.
Post 5 things for sale each week on facebook marketplace. Make mini challenges for yourself to help you break it up into smaller, more manageable tasks. Or follow my 28 day minimalism challenge if you need a guide.
If you’re having trouble getting rid of stuff, go back and assess your mindset again. Challenge your inner beliefs about why you need to hang on to so much stuff. Be honest about how often you use your stuff and if keeping it in your life is really serving a purpose, or if it’s just weighing you down. Does holding on a gift out of guilt make sense if it’s living in the back of your closet unused or taking up space you’d rather fill with something you like better?
5. Expect setbacks and keep going.
Decluttering an entire house in a day, a week or a month is pretty unrealistic. If you have kids, things will go more slowly. If you have other people living in your home, they might not be as into minimalism as you are. Changing circumstances, new babies, and family emergencies are all things that can make your plan go even slower, but that’s ok. You might have to be creative to overcome some of the issues you’re confronted with, but keep going.
You also might have to clean out your closet multiple times. And your bathroom and your garage and everything else. But that’s ok, you’re learning what you need and what you love. You’ll get better at letting things go and you’ll probably have to try a few different organizational systems to find the thing that is simple enough to maintain for the long run. This is all a normal part of the process, so just keep going.
6. Look for other ways to simplify your life.
Minimalism is about more than just the amount of things you own. It’s also about buying responsibly, and getting rid of things responsibly. We need to think about the impact our lives have on the world and what we can do to leave the best impression possible. A lot of these things are going to save you money too. Can you switch to reusable goods when you typically use disposables?
If you are feeling burnt out on your social calendar, what can you remove from your calendar? Identify the things that you are passionate about, and then say no to everything else. You’re not obligated to attend everything you’re invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in every available activity. It is perfectly acceptable to schedule in free time and make it a priority.
Why is a simpler life better?
Once you start making these changes to your lifestyle, you’ll see that less really is more. Your life will start following the path YOU set, instead of feeling like you have no control. You’ll find the freedom you’ve been looking for and clarity about what you really want in your life. At first it seems impossible, but little by little you’ll get closer to your end goal. It’s worth the work to get there, I promise!