I wasn’t always interested in living minimally. In fact, I used to be the dictionary definition of a hoarder. I used to purchase piles of clothes, random unnecessary stuff and things I thought I might need one day. Everything was “sentimental” to me, so I kept a lot of random items throughout elementary school all the way up to high school. I felt like I had to keep every little thing to fill an unfulfilled hole in my heart.
Then, a few years ago I realized my unhealthy relationship with material things. It wasn’t until the last 3 years though that I became serious about living minimally.
I have donated and given away most of my belongings, only to keep the things that I truly need. Being a minimalist has changed my life for the better, and I know it can help others as well. That’s why, by writing this blog post, I aim to encourage and inspire others to learn how to become a minimalist and see if it will change their life as it has with mine.
What is Minimalism?
“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”
– The Minimalists
To me, minimalism means simplifying your life. It provides you the tools to let go of items that don’t add value to your life, so you can use that energy to make room for the most important things: health, relationships, time, growth, love, passion and more. In essence, it’s not about self-restriction, but liberation, to free ourselves from the hold that possessions have over our lives.
Everyone embraces minimalism differently. There is no one way to live simply. However, each path leads to the same place: a more meaningful and fulfilled life.
Why become a minimalist?
- Minimalist living saves you money. By living minimally, you buy less stuff and you’re more mindful of purchasing only things you truly want or need.
- Minimalist living saves you time. If you simplify your life, you will have more time for your health, relationships, finances, personal growth and more.
- Minimalist living makes you feel good. Your atmosphere has a profound effect on your mood. By creating a clean space, you will feel freer, lighter, more productive, more fulfilled and less overwhelmed.
- Minimalist living simplifies your life. Overall, minimalist living provides you the freedom to live a more meaningful and purposeful life.
Step One: Declutter
This is the longest and most difficult step, but I promise you it’s worth the hard work.
Sorting through everything and letting things go takes time, but after you do, you will feel a weight lift off your shoulders.
The process starts by putting every item from one category (e.g. clothes) into a large pile. Hold each item from that category one by one and ask yourself some questions, like “Does this spark joy in my life? Does this add value to my life? Is this something I can’t live without?” If the items are redundant and don’t benefit you, then give it to someone who will truly need and cherish it. You may quickly find that you own a lot of possessions with little to no value. By evaluating each item, you learn to prioritize what adds the greatest value, happiness and meaning to your life.
I wrote an in-depth, beginner-friendly guide to help you declutter in this post: The Ultimate Guide To Decluttering
Related content: 15 simple questions to help you declutter
Step Two: Organize
After pulling items out of drawers, throwing them into piles or leaving them on countertops, I’m sure your house looks like it was burglarized. Once you have sorted through every item, it’s time to rearrange and reorganize everything in your home. Remember to start with one category at a time so you don’t become overwhelmed. It can be easy to get lost in the stress of the moment, so it’s important to take baby steps and go slow.
Every item in your house should have its own place so you always know where it is. For example, if your socks are in your bedroom, the laundry room, bathroom and under the couch, then you need to collect them all and put them in one place (e.g. sock drawer).
Make sure every item in your house has its own spot, it makes life so much simpler.
Step Three: Branch out
Decluttering and organizing is only a part of the big umbrella that is minimalism. Minimalism is a lifestyle, which means it is a lifelong journey that is constantly evolving and improving as you are. After you have simplified your home, it’s time to branch out and be minimalistic in other areas of your life too.
Finances – Start taking actionable steps now to save money, manage your finances and pay down debt. By doing this, you will be less stressed and less overwhelmed, thus simplifying a major area of your life.
- 10 money moves to make in your 20s
- 30 genius ways to save money
- personal finance tips that will make you rich
Entertainment – I know people who spend hundreds of dollars a month on entertainment whether it’s movies, cable TV, video games, DVD’s – you name it. Some spend over $100 every month just for cable, but for me personally, I can think of better ways to spend my money. A lot of your favorite shows are available through Netflix or Hulu and some are streamed through the network’s website for free. By cutting down on the cost of entertainment, you are lessening the financial stress in your home.
Electronics – Perhaps your inbox is flooded with thousands of emails or your computer desktop has a million scattered documents, whatever the case, it’s time to get it organized. Doing so is another way to simplify your life and live more minimally.
Try to think of more areas in your life that you could be more simplistic. Perhaps you have multiple eyeshadow palettes that you don’t need or you have way too many lipsticks that you almost never use, whatever it may be, consider downsizing the amount you have. I truly believe in the saying “the less you own, the less that owns you.”
Step Four: Maintenance
Since minimalism is a lifestyle, it is something that you will regularly have to keep up on. It’s been a couple of years since I first started my minimalism journey and I am still constantly decluttering, rearranging and organizing my living space.
I honestly believe that your atmosphere has a great effect on your mood. I know that for me personally, when I change up my space, I feel lighter and take on a more positive mindset. I also feel more complete, accomplished and motivated to take on the day.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by doing everything at once. Just take a few minutes out of each day to pick up a little bit. You could also take one G.Y.S.T (Get Your Sh*t Together) day out of the week to handle everything that fell behind whether it’s washing dishes, doing laundry, washing bedding, dusting, etc.
Learn more about what a GYST day is in this post:
Step Five: Downsize
If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of your space and the constant maintenance required to own a large home, then maybe you should consider downsizing. There are multiple benefits of downsizing to an RV or tiny home, but here are a couple of main reasons: 1) It’s perfect if you travel full-time 2) It saves you money 3) It simplifies your life 4) It saves you time 5) It gives you freedom to live wherever whenever
I think the biggest upside to downsizing are the costs that are cut. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, The average American homeowner spends around $1,030 a month on their mortgage payment. This average varies state-by-state as some homeowners even pay double that amount each month!
But, living in a smaller space whether it’s an RV, bus or tiny home, costs so much less in terms of utilities, maintenance/repairs and more. You also get the freedom to choose where you want to live and how long you want to stay.
If you don’t feel content living in your home and you want to save money in the long run, then downsizing may be the right option for you.
Have any more minimalism tips you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments section below!