Minimalism is a way of life that means having only the things you need and being aware of how consumerism affects the environment and your own happiness. There are many reasons to become a minimalist. First, it can help you create more space in your life for the things that matter to you, such as relationships, creativity, and personal growth. It can also help you reduce your consumption and waste and make more conscious decisions about what you buy and use. Minimalists also have more financial freedom, more time for meaningful activities, less stress and clutter, and more space to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
Becoming a minimalist could be the answer if you feel weighed down by all your stuff and want to live a more contented, mindful life. I personally did not set out to become a minimalist but rather became one as a product of simplifying my life. I learned a few things in the process, and it is now much easier for me to clear my space. Here are 8 straightforward steps to help you become a minimalist, take back control of your life, and become a happier person.
Define Your Minimalist Goals
Tired of feeling cluttered and overwhelmed? While some may see this as a home or environmental thing only, it’s not just about decluttering your home. It’s also about living a peaceful, meaningful life.
Start by deciding why you want to become a minimalist. Is it a simpler home with fewer items? Or do you want minimalism in other areas, like fashion, finances, or relationships? Each person’s journey is unique. So, think about what changes will bring meaning to yours, and make that the focus of your plan. Write out what you want and develop a list of goals that will enable you to become a minimalist.
Then, figure out how long it will take to reach your goals. Will tasks require attention? Do things such as budgeting or fashion changes need research or training? Set deadlines and conduct weekly check-ins to monitor progress and maintain focus. Having measurable results can help you stay focused. Make sure you make goals specific to what you want, with clearly defined measures and timelines for success.
Simplify Your Space
To become a minimalist, simplify your space. Assess your living environment and decide which items add value and which don’t. Ask if each item is essential for daily functioning or if it’s just cluttering your home. Get rid of non-essential stuff. When dealing with sentimental items, remember that they remind us of good memories and should be kept. Let go of outdated ideas and invest in items that promote productivity and organization.
Create an aesthetic for your minimalist home with limited furniture and decorations for visual order and calmness. Finally, reflect on the changes made and appreciate how simpler living has become!
Minimize and Get Rid of the Clutter
Regardless of your individual goals, reducing clutter and getting rid of “stuff” tops the list of things that need to be checked off to become a minimalist. The transition to becoming a minimalist can be simple, but many get caught up in their “stuff.” To start decluttering, get rid of physical clutter. This can include items you don’t use, have sentimental value for, or that take up space. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Tackle one area of your home and environment at a time.
The Minimalist 6-Month Clutter Rule
Start out by evaluating your possessions, and consider getting rid of anything you have not used or at least put your hands/eyes on for the past 6 months. This is not a steadfast rule by any means, and you may want to start with a 12-month buffer to help you slim down the excess. There are obvious exceptions, such as holiday decor, occasional-use items, or seasonal clothing. However, in many cases, you won’t miss the items you remove from your environment.
How I Got Started on the Path to Minimalism
In the past six months, I have downsized into two separate categories of possessions. I have 4 mid-sized heavy-duty storage tubs in storage that house my keepsake items, family heirlooms, and sentimental items. The other category is my living items, which can all be packed into one large and one mid-sized suitcase, a full-size carry-on, and a backpack. I can move my entire life easily on an airplane; I do have to check my luggage when I move.
My major downsizing took me about six months; much of it was psychological. Once I looked at my possessions as a whole and saw how much “stuff” cluttered my life, it became easy to be more aggressive with decluttering my stuff and my life. I did not get rid of my stuff to become a minimalist per se. However, once my stuff was gone, I realized that I was now living a minimalist lifestyle. I admit that I had some anxiety when I started, but once I had made the transition, it was a welcomed change in my life and one that I continue to embrace.
Organize Your Belongings
Begin your decluttering by organizing your possessions. Ask yourself if each item still has value or use. Use your six, eight, or twelve-month rule to decide whether to keep or discard an item. Sort items based on need, use, purpose, frequency, source/sentimental value, and environmental impact. If an item doesn’t serve its purpose, don’t be afraid to let it go. This will open up space for new ideas to come in and help you on your minimalist journey.
The universe abhors a vacumm. When you let go of something old, something new will fill the space.
Donate or Sell Unused Items
As you become a minimalist, decide what you will get rid of and how you will get rid of your clutter. Now, just because your clutter is not being used, is old, or no longer brings you joy, it may have value to others. This is where your journey to become a minimalist will start to pay off emotionally and financially, as you can often sell unused items.
Places such as eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook marketplace may be a great way to get rid of unwanted items that have value; they will provide some of the highest payouts for used items. If you have a lot of stuff, you may want to consider partnering with a consignment shop or seek an opportunity to have a booth at a flea market. The rest can be sold at a garage sale. Don’t shrug off a garage sale. I made over $1,700 at a garage sale just six months ago, and I was done by 2 PM. Leftovers can be donated; most thrift stores have drive-up donation drop-offs, and some even pick up tax-deductible donations.
Invest in Quality Over Quantity
Investing in quality over quantity is key for minimalists. Becoming a minimalist can be difficult and often involves parting with possessions. Investing in quality items, not disposable ones, saves money and helps with the transition. Quality items last longer and perform better than their lesser counterparts.
Doing research on materials and product reviews is necessary when making a purchase. Buying second-hand whenever possible is also beneficial, reducing waste while still providing access to quality resources.
Investing in quality pieces that are multipurpose eliminates clutter while still providing form and function—perfect for minimalists!
Transition to a minimalist lifestyle to reduce stress and simplify life, starting with how you purchase new items. Shop mindfully and purchase only what is truly needed. Here are some tips to start shopping as a minimalist:
- Do I really need this?
- Does the item provide lasting value, or is it just a short-term gain
- Is there a multipurpose or multi-use alternative?
- Seek good-quality, long-lasting products
- Always seek sales
- Consider second-hand options
- Repair what you can
Minimalists always favor experiences over material possessions. Many people fill a suitcase full of expensive but cheaply made souvenirs when on vacation. Live as a minimalist by focusing on moments money cannot buy and enjoying less expensive and longer trips.
Live with Less
Living minimally is often about simply living with less. This is not less in terms of experience but rather focusing more on experience and less on material possessions. There is no real measure of what defines a minimalist, but being one requires some discipline. Here are some tips to help in the transition to living with less:
- Identify your personal wants versus needs
- Identify the purpose of every item you own; discard if it has no use
- Designate and define your storage area – what is your limit?
- Use the One-in-One-Out rule. When you buy something new, get rid of something old.
- Unsubscribe from marketing lists and unwanted services
- Only stock up on essentials
- Smaller drawers, cupboards, and shelves are best – only store what is needed
- Don’t collect mementos – Let go of things that don’t serve a purpose
- Appreciate the simple things
Minimalism can be a tough journey, yet it rewards you with lots of treats! It makes you notice the little joys and helps you focus on what matters. After clearing your space, you’ll feel less overwhelmed. You can use this time for creative activities and to enjoy the world!
To make minimalism a reality, follow these 8 easy steps. Minimalism is easy to achieve by getting rid of clutter, paying off debts, and rethinking how you feel about technology and things. Starting small is key; take one step every day for 10 days. Then, minimalism will become second nature. You’ll have more capacity to enjoy life, free up physical and mental space, and have a greater sense of accomplishment each morning. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle takes time, like any change in life. So, be kind to yourself as you make the change and enjoy the benefits of living with less.