7 Ways to Lead a More Minimalist Life Now
If you’re anything like us, you’ve heard the phrase ‘minimalist’ a lot lately, and you’re digging what you know so far.
What does minimalism actually mean? As defined by The Minimalists, it's “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.”
Here’s a secret: being a minimalist doesn’t mean that you have to own a limited amount of stuff. You can still love what you own. The goal is to get rid of everything you don’t need, and set an intention to stop consuming in hopes of achieving happiness (because there is so much more to life).
Sound freeing as all heck? I thought so! Let’s get you started enjoying a lighter life.
1. GET INSPIRED!
We all love a good night of Netflix. Next time you’re aimlessly cruising “recommended for you”, choose a minimalist doc that is sure to inspire you! Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus take you on a journey of the minimalist life and open you up to the concept of living happier with less.
Action: Watch the Netflix documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. Feel the stress of impulse shopping simply melt away.
2. QUESTION WHY + IDENTIFY THE BENEFITS
Think about why you are interested in a minimalist lifestyle. It’s important to understand the purpose of what minimalism will add to your life, and the freedom you want to create. Maybe it’s financial freedom. Or maybe it’s to free yourself from the desire to own the newest material item. Whatever your reasons are–understand them, and surround yourself with supportive people.
Action: Sit down with your journal and write down why you are attracted to a minimal life, and be proud of your decisions and actions!
3. TRY A DECLUTTERING CHALLENGE
· Marie Kondo’s book is a great place to start. Marie encourages you to hold each item in your house by category and determine if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, thank it for it’s service and let it go. Give it a try and have fun!
· Just in case – Most of us hold onto things ‘just in case’. Know that ‘just in case’ almost never comes. This challenge is about allowing yourself to let go of the ‘JIC’ items. The Minimalists documented the challenge, and they only needed ‘JIC’ items 5 times in 5 years. After removing hundreds of items – in 1,825 days, they only needed 5 items they had discarded!
· Packing party – Get some boxes, order some good food and get packing! Act as if you’re moving and (I'm serious!) pack it all up. Over three weeks, unpack only what you need. You might find that you don’t even remember what’s in the boxes, and owning these things becomes more overwhelming than donating or selling them. You’ll likely do just that, and certainly will not be tempted to buy more!
4. PAY ATTENTION TO THIS LESSON
Here it is: you can be happy without accumulating more stuff. Understanding this takes a change in your mindset and habits, but I can assure you, it’s worth it. Decluttering is a magical skill set that helps you eliminate all the stuff you don’t need. You’ll realize that by purchasing less, you’re not depriving yourself, rather, doing yourself a favor!
Action: Challenge yourself to be mindful when shopping, resist marketing temptations, and where possible, choose to keep your money where you can see it - in the bank.
5. CREATE MORE!
Now that you’ve started to look differently at the way you consume, I know you'll want to avoid buying ‘stuff’ for loved ones that will only weigh them down! Attending a wedding? Send the couple to a show, or take them to their favorite restaurant after their honeymoon to spend quality time together. Birthday? Bring flowers, bake a cake, take your friend to a workout class, or cooking class.
Action: Give experiences, not things. Memories last longer than material items.
There is no easier way to organize then to do it with less. Now that you’ve decluttered, use shoe boxes to organize sections of your drawers. Invest in boxes or baskets that you love & bring you joy. Use them to hold products by category (scarves, socks, underwear), anything you need to keep tidy.
Action: Watch this YouTube video of Marie Kondo’s folding method – I promise, you'll have even more space in your drawers!
7. YOU CAN STILL LOVE YOUR STUFF
By no means am I saying you should get rid of things you love, or things that have sentimental value. If you love it, keep it, but – only keep enough so that everything has a home. The goal is for you to know where everything is, at all times. At the end of the day, you should sit down and have your eyes rest only on things that bring you joy.
Action: If things find their way back in, free yourself from them, thank them for their service, and move on – lighter and happier then you were yesterday.
Congratulations! You’ve taken 7 steps to a more minimal life. I challenge you to stick with it, and share your successes in the comments!