Minimalism: What Is It and How Do You Start?

Here’s why you should consider minimalism when you want to simplify your life.

You may have already seen houses of others who are living the minimalist lifestyle.

Small spaces seem bigger. Everything seems so neat and tidy! In fact, it is almost impossible to believe that people actually can live that way.

But more people are turning into minimalists. And guess what? They are actually happier living with less!

How do they pull it off?

This guide will help you get an understanding of what is minimalism, what are the benefits of the minimalist lifestyle, and simple and easy ways to get you started on becoming a minimalist.

What is minimalism?

minimalist woman

A minimalist lifestyle is the key to a less material-driven life. It is intentionally living with only the things you need. It’s being surrounded by less materials so that you can do more with your time and energy.

Minimalism helps you get rid of excess and allows you to focus on what is more important for you. Because of this, each person has her own sense of minimalism. You too, will have your own list of excess and areas to focus on.

There is no general list of things to discard or keep because we all have our own preferences.

But no matter what you choose to focus on, minimalism will have a few general results. You will have less clutter, less negative thoughts, less commitments, and less toxic relationships.

And true enough – less is more! You will have more space, more time, more energy, and more fulfilling relationships.

Yes, you read that right!

Minimalism does not only affect your possessions. The whole lifestyle will also help you deal with people and activities that have no real value in your life.

The ultimate goal of minimalism is to find freedom in life – freedom from consumption, worry, and even guilt. It is all about figuring which things, people, and activities give you the most value and happiness.

Minimalism is all about making a conscious decision – to decide based on their real value to you and not based on what other people think or what society dictates.

In simple terms, you live with only what you need. And a more conscious decision allows you to live an intentional life.

The Benefits of Minimalism

Although the concept and goals of minimalism is different for each one of us, there are general benefits that minimalism gives to everyone that practices it.

Clarity on what is valuable and truly meaningful for you

Minimalist lifestyle gives clarity.

Minimalism helps point out the aspects of your life that you are truly passionate about. For example, when you surround yourself with items related to your passion, you will be unconsciously directing your life towards it.

You will be pursuing your passion and spend more time and energy on activities that lead to it.

Contentment

Minimalism makes you feel content with life.

Ever had a job that you hate? You often go to work feeling dreadful and leave work all drained out.

I know the feeling.

However, when you pursue minimalism, again, you surround yourself with stuff related to what you are passionate about. Your activities follow. This immediately gives you something to be excited for and keeps you from pursuing things that are not as important.

So eventually, you’ll find a way to leave your dreadful job, and work instead on what is both profitable and interesting for you.

Also, going home to a clean and uncluttered environment, with only the things that you really need, will make you feel that you are doing well in life.

It creates the feeling that you’ve got everything you need right there with you! And that, my friend, is contentment.

One great benefit that you will love from contentment is reduced stress levels. You’re literally saying goodbye to the stress of having to acquire more.

Financial freedom

Minimalist lifestyle leads to financial freedom.

Minimalism discourages consumerism. When you know what really matters to you, your spending habits will be different.

You no longer buy the latest things in the market just because everyone has one. And that’s because you now understand that it is not really important to you. Or that having it will not provide real happiness.

Remember contentment? When you feel satisfied with what you have, you don’t just go and keep on buying. You are now more inclined to evaluate the stuff’s value first, and whether you will really use it.

This is no longer spending. It’s more like an investment!

When you are mindful about how you spend your money, eventually you’ll end up having enough – living your lifestyle with the income that you have.

Living in the moment

Mom and child both living in the moment

Most of our stress comes from chasing the future. You strive to work hard because you feel that you have to reach certain goals in your career. Or you need to be financially secure at a certain age.

We are all too focused on worrying about the future that we are too busy to appreciate what we have now.

Minimalism frees you from all these stressful thinking and lets you focus on what you have now. You get to focus more on your blessings. Now when you appreciate what you have, you get to see how much you really have already. And that’s definitely a better way to live!

How do you start becoming a minimalist?

Starting the journey to the minimalist lifestyle may feel overwhelming at first, especially when you are used to hoarding material possessions all your life.

The thought of suddenly reducing these items down to just the essentials may seem to be an impossible task.

But once you get started, you will see that it is a completely doable task, and the only thing that’s really standing in your way is your negative mindset.

Here’s how you can get a jump start on your journey to minimalism.

1. Analyze your possessions.

Go through your stuff.

How much material possessions you have is a reflection of your lifestyle. So go through your stuff.

How many kitchen appliances do you have? Have you got too many beauty products that it’s so hard to find the blush or eye color that you want?

How much shoes and clothes are in your wardrobe?

Do you really need to own that much? How often do you use these items?

2. Declutter & downsize.

Declutter.

Take the items that you barely use or need and get rid of them. It does not have to go directly to the trash! You can donate them or repurpose them. Or send those that you have not used yet as gifts, or sell them for some extra cash!

If there are items that you are reluctant to let go of, store them in a box. If you find that you have not pulled out any of those items in the box for about six months, it is time to give those away too.

It is important that you keep only what you really need, and not what you think you need but you really don’t.

Also, it helps to have a regular schedule to declutter, like once or twice a year. This helps you get used to the process. You get rid of items that you thought were useful but turned out to be just clutter.

More importantly, you become mindful to not be invested in material things.

If you’re wondering, how will you start decluttering, here are our thoughts on that, along with some freebies to make decluttering a little bit easier on your part.

3. Invest in multi-purpose items.

Invest in multi-purpose items.

Do you use too many items for a single task?

For instance, do you use multiple skin care products for your morning and night routine or use multiple cleaning products when you clean your house?

Simplifying these routines by lessening the items you use will make the whole routine easier and more efficient.

Choose products that have multiple functions so you will have less clutter too.

There are lots of appliances and items that serve multiple purposes in the market nowadays. It makes better sense and less clutter to invest in these items instead.

4. Learn to borrow or rent things.

Borrow or rent seldom-used stuff rather than own.

You may have some things that you barely use that it makes it impractical to let them occupy a space in your home.

For stuff like this, you don’t have to own them to use them. You have the option to borrow from family or friends, or just rent them out when you need them.

For instance, you do not need to keep your hands on five formal gowns, especially when you only get to use a formal gown once a year. You can just rent one from a clothing store. Or borrow from a family member or a friend.

5. Purchase to replace.

Purchase new items when you need to replace old stuff.

When you finally declutter, try to resist adding more possessions. Only buy new things for items that need replacing.

For instance, you need a new pair of shoes because the one you have is already old and it’s hurting your feet already. The need to get a new shoes is justified because you will be getting rid of the old one.

It’s like the one-in one-out principle in maintaining a clutter-free home.

When something is still working well, use it. And then, when it’s past its prime, you can get rid of it, and buy a new one – replacing your old stuff.

6. Prioritize experiences over stuff.

Experience over material possessions

Material items only give you temporary and short-term happiness. A minimalist knows that it is better to give value to experiences rather than material things.

For instance, instead of rewarding yourself with stuff for a job well done, you can travel or enjoy nature, get a massage, learn a new hobby, or redesign your home to accommodate space-saving features.

7. Set realistic goals.

Set realistic goals.

Minimalism, when applied well, will free up your time and give you a more relaxed vibe. Now you may be tempted to start listing out a lot of goals that you want to pursue to fill up that time.

Make sure that you only set one to two at a time and that these are realistic goals. Setting too many goals will only add some pressure over your head.

Remember, minimalism is all about simplicity. There is no need to overcomplicate things. You will have a higher chance of succeeding if you focus on just one or two goals at a time.

8. Value your time.

A minimalist values her time.

Not everyone realizes this until it is too late, but time is really short and precious. It is important that you be selective when it comes to who and what you give your time to.

Analyze your usual schedule. Is there something in your daily routine that you actually dread? Maybe that salsa dancing lessons you thought would be fun turns out to feel like a chore to you. Cut it out of your schedule and fill it with something you truly enjoy!

9. Clarify your purpose and life values.

Clarify your purpose and life values.

What do you really value in life? Have you ever thought of what’s really your purpose in this world?

Do you know clearly why you are doing what you do?

Knowing your purpose gives you direction. It shows you the meaning of your life and it immediately identifies the clutter in your life.

So if you’re dead serious on taking the road to minimalism, reflecting on these questions is the best step you’re ever going to make.

For a more detailed discussion, you can read this: How Knowing Your Purpose Simplifies Your Life

Less is more.

Remember, minimalism does not mean you have to give up all your possessions or dreams of owning a beautiful home or car.

It simply means that you are putting less value on physical items to make yourself happy.

Before you start your journey to minimalism, you have to understand that it will not be that easy. There will be times when you will struggle or even fall back.

But the important thing is to stay determined. Do not let minor setbacks discourage you.

In times like these when we have economic instability and the price tags just keep getting higher, minimalism has saved a lot of people. Getting rid of the non-essential things is not only healthy for your mind and well-being but it is also a practical move – a step that your wallets will love (wink).

So get rid of clutter and free yourself from excessive consumerism by adopting the minimalist lifestyle. And see how much your life can improve in just a few weeks!

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