Your friends talked about it. You’ve seen a TV host talked about it on her show. And you’ve heard it from other people. It makes you wonder what is this minimalist lifestyle that they’re talking about? Is this just a millennial fad or is it as simple as living for less?
I for one knew nothing about minimalist living until I started my own research on this topic. I did not realize that I’ve been living this lifestyle for many years…well, at least 50% of the time, based on my findings.
What Exactly is Minimalist Living and is This the Path You Should Take?
Minimalist living can be simply described as a form of conservative lifestyle that entails avoidance of waste and reckless use of resources. It is a journey into the world of preserving limited resources for the purpose of removing clutter from one’s space. It is a lifestyle devoid of materialism and only focuses on the needs and not the wants.
It is about having enough.
There are several benefits you can derive in living a minimalist lifestyle. Being a minimalist, you will find it easier to purge junk while creating more room for what matters. This means more freedom since junk always ties us down.
It also means more peace of mind because you only need to worry about your needs and not wants. With a minimalist life, you wouldn’t be scared of temporary failures, and you will gain more confidence and higher self-esteem, knowing that you are gaining more with a minimalist approach to life.
Minimalism is about using your available resources wisely to make you a better person.
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The 4 Steps to Achieving Minimalist Living:
Learn the Basics of a Minimalist Lifestyle
Write Down Your Challenges
Are you constantly in debt because you spend more than you earn? Do you struggle to create time for your kids and partner? The best possible way to kickstart your minimalist living is to conduct an audit into every irrational decision you make that tends to make you achieve less positivity. You need to find out your “whys”. If you are finding it hard to keep up, your whys will definitely provide a clue about what really matters.
Eliminate the Duplicates
There is no quicker way of embracing a minimalist lifestyle other than removing duplicates. Do you have more than one set of everything? Do you have copies of the same book, videos, electronics, appliances, toys, and even accessories? Learn to keep duplicates out of sight for a while and see if you can survive on the ones you chose to keep. Gather these duplicates inside the box, and if you don’t need them within thirty days, then you may not need them anymore. Sell or donate all duplicates to promote recycling and protect the environment.
Setting goals is vital for beginner minimalists. You can set any goal from starting a savings account and increasing your monthly savings contributions, traveling with less luggage and creating a clutter-free zone in your home. Your goals must be realistic.
Learn to Stop Making Excuses
Many may see honesty and self-discipline as downsides of being minimalistic, but these attributes will help you become a better version of yourself. Living a minimalistic life means you are ready to analyze every item, and you are prepared to do away with things that offer no real value except aesthetic appeal. Any luxury item that serves no practical purpose should be avoided, and that is one of the true meanings of self-discipline. You cannot become a minimalist until you learn to do away with excuses.
Make Wiser Financial Decisions
Shop for Essentials Only
Approaching a minimalist lifestyle means you are ready to spend wisely. You can’t spend wisely when you don’t separate your needs from wants. A need is a necessity, a want is something that fascinates you but wouldn’t necessarily add value. Most people shop for items they already have at home, and that is why they end up broke.
Don’t get carried away by the trends of having the latest clothes, tech devices, and items. The latest tech device this year will still become useful ten years from now, so why do you have to buy a newer one each year? Similarly, don’t buy too many clothes and accessories that you may never wear.
Learn to Operate on a Monthly or Weekly Budget
Having a budget is perhaps one of the best ways to live a minimalistic lifestyle. Living within your means say a lot about being financially disciplined. Do not take up unnecessary loans that will put you in serious debt, instead, you should focus on repaying past loans and ignore new ones. Learn to say “NO” to new credit card offers.
Learn to Buy During Off-season
Do you want to save money on winter clothing? Buy the ones you need a few months into the summer, and you can save more than 50%. Don’t wait until the beginning of the season to purchase seasonal clothing or accessories. Don’t forget that you don’t have to buy winter clothes every year, and you can still make use of the ones you bought last year if they are still usable.
Get Practical to Become a Minimalist
Recycling is one of the best features of a minimalistic lifestyle. If you believe that nothing should be wasted and everything is useful then you will be a successful minimalist. The collection of unnecessary new items will open up new space, and if you don’t need an item anymore, donate it to those who need it.
Go for Energy-saving Appliances and Fixtures
Do you know that replacing your traditional incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs with LED lights can save you up to 80% on your energy bills? LED lights are brighter, and use less electricity than your regular bulbs. Similarly, you should replace old appliances that are prone to electrical surges with modern energy-saving alternatives.
Learn to Travel Lightly
You don’t have to travel with heavy luggage every time you are going on a vacation or holiday. Traveling light will save you money on excess baggage, and you will only move around with essential items. Traveling light will create enough space for you to buy new things from your travel destination.
Embrace the One-in-One-Out Policy
The One-in-One-Out policy is a rule whereby each new item you purchase, you will get rid of something similar. This is particularly practical when it comes to kids’ toys and your wardrobe’s clothes and accessories. Make sure you always find an old item you plan to donate once you purchase something similar. If you are not ready to get rid of an item, then there is no need to buy something similar.
Invest in Multi-purpose Tools
Instead of investing in different tools for a different purpose, you can save yourself money and time by purchasing a multi-functional tool that will serve a different purpose. Having a multi-purpose tool will help save space that would have been taken up by too many tools. You can purchase a Swiss Army Knife instead of buying a screwdriver and a cock screw separately– the Swiss Army Knife comes with both devices in a single compact design.
Learn to place quality before quantity
The greatest minimalists in the world today will always choose quality above quantity. The reason for this is simple and straightforward: single, quality products last longer than cheaper, multiple products. When you are purchasing a new item, make sure you go for good quality because it can be very difficult to replace it and you wouldn’t have to waste money buying similar products every now and then.
Procrastination is one habit that you can’t find among minimalists. When you procrastinate, you shift or postpone tasks that you can complete right now! Make sure your time is budgeted and devoted to actions that will elevate you and help achieve your goals. Even if you have to spend time with friends and acquaintances, you must spend the larger part of your time on completing tasks that you’re set to complete for the day.
Release Emotional Clutter
Just like how cluttering can take much of your space, emotional clutter can place additional emotional baggage on your mind. You need to find avenues to detach yourself from negative influences, especially from people who add no value to your life. Your mental state must always reflect your physical space.
Eat More Healthy Organic Foods
Many people will find it easier to consume junk foods on a daily basis, but such foods put more pressure on the body’s natural working process. Your minimalist lifestyle must extend to the food you consume. Try to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies into your diet regularly to get the much-needed vitamins and minerals. In addition to eating healthy foods, you should consider regular moderate activities for at least thirty minutes a day, five days a week.
Reduce Time Spent on Social Media
Being a minimalist also means getting your body to move instead of spending several hours on social media. Social media can be a powerful tool to network and promote your business. It can, however, become distracting when it influences you to spend money on non-helpful tidbits. The high number of targeted ads on social media encourages everyone to waste money.
Computerize as Many Things as You Can
Books and papers can be quite cumbersome, especially when they consume your space. Digital items such as your USB drive and your mobile computer can compress more digital information that can be easily accessed. Instead of subscribing to paper magazines, you should consider eBooks, e-magazines, and e-catalogs, because they help in conserving your space for minimalist living.
Simplify Your Routine with Smart Apps
Make use of smartphone apps that can help you track everything, from calories consumed to setting up appointments and task reminders. These computer apps can help you become smarter because you don’t have to multi-task before you achieve your daily tasks. Smart apps set reminders and will send alarms when it is time to complete a particular task.
A minimalist lifestyle doesn’t have to happen overnight. You should embrace it gradually until you become conscious of how you live from day to day. Incorporating a minimalist approach to your daily routine is perhaps the best way to become a minimalist in no time. Be appreciative of what you have because it is the only way you can enjoy those things. Live sufficiently and good luck on your journey.