Are you thinking about a simple minimalist lifestyle but aren’t sure if it is for you or not?
In this post I put together 11 simple minimalism tips from previous posts to help you along your journey.
A minimalism lifestyle is a choice. To me it means to focus on what matters most. To others it means to give everything up and live with only the essentials needed.
Minimalism has many definitions depending on who you ask. But at its core, minimalism is about intentionally subtracting everything from your life that distracts you from your mission and your calling.
Often, clutter and noise hold us back from fully succeeding in our Business or life. We can’t focus on that Blog Post we need to write because our office is too cluttered.
We can’t take time to go to the movies with our family because we’ve overfilled our to-do lists.
We can’t afford to take our families on summer vacations because we’re busy paying down massive amounts of debt.
1. Find Your Own Version of a Simple Minimalist Lifestyle
As with any new habit, adopting a minimalist mindset can take time and practice. It’s important to have a good view of your priorities with regard to the concept so that you can move forward in the right direction.
- Before jumping into making any decisions on changing your current lifestyle, you’ll want to do your research.
- When you have an idea of what’s most important to you and why you really want to pursue a minimalist path, it’s time to take some steps toward putting this concept into practice.
- Finally, keep your current lifestyle in mind when deciding where to go minimal. If you have a family, you may not be able to get everyone on board all at once.
2. Decluttering and Downsizing
The idea of streamlining your life can be a bit of a challenge, to say the least. I hope to relieve your mind with some simple tips on how to begin Decluttering and Downsizing.
None of this must be done right away, and it’s not the end of the world if you backslide a bit.
The very act of getting started is enough to propel you toward a life of intention that you control.
- You’re Allowed to Take Your Time
While you don’t want to procrastinate or drag your feet about starting your minimalist lifestyle, it’s crucial you understand that everything doesn’t have to happen all at once.
- Start Where You Are with One Step
As with any journey, it all begins with taking one step. Sure, you can plan it in your mind and daydream all you want, but your journey doesn’t begin until you take action.
When you take one action, you begin to build momentum toward continuing to make progress. Making a small change over time with baby steps keeps you from becoming overwhelmed.
- Ask Some Tough Questions
Asking yourself some questions about each item you encounter on your path to minimalism can help you to decide which ones need to go. First, consider whether the item brings you joy.
If it doesn’t make you happy then toss it or give it away.
- One Out, One In
The premise of this rule is easy. One thing must go out of your home before you can bring another in.
This maintains balance in the number of possessions you own and ensures you aren’t taken over by clutter.
3. Minimalism and Finances
Adopting the minimalist finance mindset can relieve stress. When you approach your finances through a minimalist lens, you’ll be forced to examine what really matters to you.
To begin the process of identifying your priorities and values, make a list. Then ask yourself what kinds of things and experiences are most valuable to you.
For me and my family this meant more day trips and vacations. Chances are that material goods won’t top your list.
4. A Minimalist Lifestyle isn’t just about Physical Possessions
When you see less clutter in your surroundings, you feel less anxious. Experiencing joy from your possessions instead of overwhelm is priceless.
However, minimalism isn’t just about physical possessions.
It is actually more then you ever imagined. And there are other types of clutter that can cause you distress.
Did you know there is a such thing as Digital Clutter? Its true and it can have the same effect on you as physical clutter.
9 Digital Clutter Areas to Minimize
- Inbox (email subscriptions)
- Desk Icons
- Facebook Friends
- Facebook Notifications
- Twitter / Instagram
- RSS Subscriptions
- Desktop Backgrounds
5. Identify Your Clutter Magnets
Do you have Clutter Magnets? Do you even know how to identify them or what to do about it? If you answered “no” to either or both then you are in the right place.
A clutter magnet is that place in your home where you tend to conveniently toss items, with the intention of returning to put them in their assigned place.
We all have different clutter magnets, based on our preferences and lifestyles. It’s important to identify yours so you can start to tame the mess.
Your clutter magnet could be a side table, the bottom of the stairs, or a bench.
Or it could be the kitchen table or a seldom-used counter-top space. In fact, any flat surface may be a spot where you like to drop things that don’t immediately require your attention.
You also have to be aware of Clutter Magnets that are “out of sight, out of mind” places like a junk drawer, garage, basement, or a basket.
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6. One Item Multiple Functions
Despite the desire to live with less, it remains a fact that we all need material possessions for practical matters.
Even the most basic daily resources can take up room in our home. So, what do we do about it?
It is actually pretty simple to be honest. There are ways you can save space and money with multipurpose items.
Things like kitchen tools, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, media players, and more can be used as one item with multiple functions.
Let’s take a look at some ideas for things you can use to accomplish your life tasks that have multiple functions and can help you to minimize.
Minimalism Kitchen Supplies
- Bowls instead of plates.
These bowls can serve a variety of purposes and accommodate different types of foods, from soup to steak.
Choosing wisely can eliminate the need for storing a variety of plates, bowls, and dishes of all different sizes and shapes.
- Sponges and microfiber cloths are a great substitute for paper towels.
A sponge is a great way to save on buying endless paper towels for cleaning.
They’ll tackle nearly any type of cleaning task.
- Heat-Resistant Containers
Heat-resistant containers such as Pyrex can help you to pare down a bunch of unnecessary cookware.
You can cook in them, refrigerate them, and use them to pack in lunchboxes.
- Bunk Beds with futons or desks
Recently we decided to downsize my sons full size bed to a twin. Mostly so he would have more room in his tiny bedroom.
However, we faced with a dilemma. My step daughter comes over on the weekends and has no where to sleep besides the couch.
We wanted to change this sleeping arrangement so we decided that a bunk bed with a futon would allow us to save room but would also serve as a multi function item!
- Large-Screen Smartphone
Smartphones have become a way of life for many of us. That’s because they’re so versatile and provide us with nearly everything we need right at our fingertips.
The phones with larger screens can go a step further toward improving your life because they might just allow you to downsize some of your other electronic gadgets.
Depending upon your lifestyle, you may be able to get rid of your e-reader and laptop, for example.
Minimalism Bathroom and Home
- Two-in-One Personal Care and Household items
For example, baby shampoo is gentle enough to be used to wash your hair and your face, along with removing makeup and bathing pets.
There are several household uses for it as well, including cleaning makeup brushes, polishing leather shoes, and cleaning surfaces like faucets and stoves.
These are countless ways you can multitask with household and personal care items.
Find methods that suit your lifestyle and be careful of falling into the trap of using things that don’t serve you well.
What works for someone else may not simplify your life.
7. Live By The One – Year Rule
A good rule of thumb to consider is to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year.
If You Haven’t Used It in a Year, Get Rid of It. Simple as that. Or is it?
Objectively, if you haven’t used something in a year’s time, there’s a very good chance you don’t have a need for it. Or you are less likely to use it again.
You could probably rent or borrow that item if you find you do need it in the future, rather than taking up valuable space in your home and mind.
In addition, it’s quite likely you’ll never even miss it.
Once you move through this process, you’ll probably find it much more of a relief than a loss.
8. Talking To Loved Ones About Minimalism
Making changes in your life is empowering. However, sometimes, not everyone will understand your choices. That’s okay.
If you want to help them to better grasp the concept, take a look at these tips for talking to loved ones about minimalism.
- Help Them Understand
The unknown can be scary. Your friends and family may simply not understand your new approach to life.
You don’t owe anyone an explanation for the choices you make but providing a summary of minimalism and what it means to you can help them to better support your journey.
They may feel you’re going to get rid of them or leave them behind. Reassure them that paring down gives you more time to focus on the things and the people that matter most to you.
Be careful not to preach about how much better this way of life is, as that can alienate people, which is the opposite of your intent.
- Ask Them to Help You
People usually enjoy being helpful and supportive. Once you’ve explained the concept to them, you can choose to enlist the help of trusted people as you approach this new lifestyle.
Explain that you don’t want to recruit them, but that you’d appreciate their support if they see you having difficulty with a particular aspect of minimalism such as purging unnecessary items or cutting back on purchases.
This could be a way to help them better understand and to get onboard with your choices.
- Set Boundaries and Make Compromises
If the people you live with aren’t embracing minimalism, you will definitely need to communicate a great deal and establish some rules.
You can still practice a minimalistic lifestyle in your own space and with your possessions.
You may want to designate some spaces as your own and off limits to others, so that you can have a calming area for yourself.
You’ll also need to compromise with regard to the common areas of the home and the possessions that are important to others who reside there.
- Focus on the Supportive Ones
Understand that not everyone will be supportive. Some may still not understand or agree with your new habits.
That’s their prerogative. However, it will likely benefit you to focus more of your energies on the people who support and encourage you, regardless of their own feelings on the matter.
Keep these guidelines in mind when talking to loved ones about minimalism. Be firm in your boundaries and feel free to communicate your needs.
9. Resources For Staying Motivated with The Minimalist Lifestyle
Becoming Minimalist is a blog written by Joshua Becker. The site boasts “hundreds of thousands of regular readers” and is a great place to discover a wide range of informative information on the concept of minimalism.
The site’s goal is to provide inspiration, and they sure do. Not only will you find tons of educational blog posts, there’s also a magazine associated with the blog.
In addition, Joshua has written four popular books, as well.
Finally, Becoming Minimalist has an actively engaged community across social media. So, if you like his style, you’ll be able to access plenty more of his wisdom.
The bloggers behind The Minimalists are Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.
These guys also offer a plethora of insight into minimalism with their blog, books, podcast, and even a documentary.
They’ve grown their expertise over a course of ten years when they realized their successful, consumer-driven life wasn’t making them happy.
Brooke, the author behind Slow Your Home, is an Australian who is currently traveling across Canada with her husband and two children.
She embarked upon her minimalism journey in 2011 upon being diagnosed with severe postpartum depression.
It was her desire to get rid of the excess in her life in order to rediscover what mattered most. And, boy, did she ever.
In just two years after beginning, she changed the course of her life and got rid of over 25,000 items.
Finally, no roundup of experts in the field of minimalism can be complete without Marie Kondo.
She’s taking the world by storm with her minimalist approach to home organizing. Kondo’s method is known as “KonMari”, and with it, she asks her clients to keep only the items that spark joy for them and to thank everything else for its service before sending it on its way.
She has a book and blog, but it’s her Netflix program, Tidying Up, that’s really captivated the public’s attention right now.
10. Make it About Experiences Not Things
Is there really a secret to happiness? In 2014 I found myself sitting on my couch re-watching The Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith. I am not exaggerating when I tell you I watched that movie 19 times in one week. True story.
I’m not really sure what I thought I would learn each time I hit play but I was surely in search of my own happiness, that was clear.
Maybe I thought by re-watching the movie I would notice something I didn’t notice before. You know how you watch a movie and then you watch it again and you notice something you didn’t notice before?
Well I’m pretty sure I was convinced the secret to happiness was hidden in that movie somewhere and I was bound to find it.
Fortunately, I did find happiness but it wasn’t from that movie.
Have you ever really felt grateful for the new dress you picked up on sale or the big TV you were able to buy?
Perhaps you were glad to have these things and did appreciate the ability to purchase them. That’s great, but experiences often lead to a deeper sense of gratitude.
With experiences come connections, memories, and activities that bring true contentment.
Experiences aren’t as fleeting as things. We often look back on them and feel gratitude. I know I do.
In my family we cherish our family time.
11. Purge Regularly to Keep “Stuff” From Sneaking Back into Your Life
It’s important that you purge regularly in order to keep your stuff from sneaking back into your life. Take a look below for tips on how to maintain all the progress you’ve made.
- Do a Little Every Day
A strategic approach to keeping clutter in check is to commit to doing a little upkeep each and every day.
Make it a routine, and it will soon become a habit.
Take time at the end of every day to pick up toys, tabletop clutter, unread mail, and such. Just fifteen minutes or so each day can save you tons of time and hassle in the future.
Do the same with your digital clutter.
- Be Mindful
In addition, being mindful and maintaining a minimalist mindset will keep you from backsliding into old habits.
Thoroughly assess and evaluate every purchase or experience you consider to be sure it’s worth the investment that comes with it.
Don’t forget that if you bring something in, you should also purge something. This process requires constant mindfulness and consideration.
- Ask the Tough Questions
One way to maintain mindfulness and to help you in the decision-making process is to ask yourself important questions.
If you’re struggling to decide whether to indulge in something, consider whether you need it and if it would add value to your life.
Consider whether you already have something similar or if what you do have can be used instead.
- Take Care of It Immediately
While it’s inevitable that some clutter will need to be dealt with on a regular basis, you can eliminate some by simply taking care of things right away.
For example, sort through your mail as soon as you bring it in the house, rather than letting it lie on the table.
- Repeat the Process
Final thoughts on a Simple Minimalist Lifestyle
Some things will need to be tackled on a deeper level. Make a commitment to purging, clearing out, and organizing on a regular basis.
Perhaps every six months will work for you. Sometimes shorter intervals are necessary.
You might decide to re-assess your wardrobe with the changing of the seasons. Perhaps you can commit to a major declutter session of your home each spring.
What matters most is that you create routines that will help you stay on track with your progress.
Maintaining minimalism keeps you in charge of your choices and allows you to live intentionally, spending more time doing the things you love.
What has had the biggest impact on you? What tips and ideas have you found the most helpful?
Minimalist Resources for Everything Discussed in this Post
- Finding Your Own Ideal Version of Minimalism
- Decluttering and Downsizing Your Home
- Minimalist Finance: How Simplifying Can Help Your Personal Finances
- Digital Clutter: Minimalism isn’t Just About Physical Clutter
- How to Identify Your Clutter Magnets & What to Do About It
- Minimalism Living Ideas: One Item – Multiple Functions
- How to Clear the Clutter with the One – Year Rule
- 5 Trustworthy Resources for Beginner Minimalism
- 4 Reasons To Buy Experiences Not Things