How to become a minimalist?
Let’s assume that you want to make your life simpler, cleaner and clearer, but you don’t know how to start or what to do in the first place. It may take too much time for a single individual to figure out the best way to start becoming minimalist, so we have put together some suggestions about what and how to do.
The most radical way would be to put everything into boxes, put those boxes away and see what happens. We’ll get to that point too, but first let’s see what can you do before you actually start moving things physically.
Technology helps us become more minimalist
As the technology advances we become more and more minimalist anyway. Not in every case but in some particular areas like personal computing and digital media. Thanks to the technology, for some services, it is easier to become a minimalist more than ever before. For example. Computers and smartphones replace the need for physical newspapers, notebooks, calendars, cd’s, dvd’s, books, paper files, photo albums, calculators and many more. The necessity of keeping these physical items in our home is a thing of the past.
So, the easiest way to start is to go digital, if possible. But there are still plenty of physical things that we need or want to buy. And if you feel that all this stuff is growing out of your hands then it’s time to start organizing and considering of becoming a more minimalist person. There are certain things you can do to start the journey of becoming a minimalist.
Define your minimalist goals
First you need to find out why you want to become a minimalist. What is your personal goal of a more minimal life? Is your purpose to cut down on expenses? Or are you just tired of all this stuff and stress? Or maybe you are concerned about the health of nature and earth? Or you just want to stop buying things you don’t need? Anyway, give yourself a personal goal, phrase it and put in on a timeline. There’s no right way to be a minimalist - simple and stress-free life can be different for anyone. So, just take your time and define it for yourself.
Focus on what you want to do, what are your passions, what makes you feel alive. After you have your goals set up you need to begin to strip away those things that distract you from getting to your goals.
And write it down
It might help to write down all the steps you need to take, to get closer to your dreams. Make sure you give yourself time to achieve each step and celebrate each victory. As you write down those steps you need to take, make sure you also add comments on why you want to take those steps. Make a list of all the reasons why you want to live more simply. Those reasons will help you stay on track and remember what is important. But if you feel that you can do it without the list, go ahead! There are no rules. Do what makes you happy!
Do you know where you are spending your time and money? If not, then you should observe your actions and expenses for a while. Make sure how can you eliminate those unwanted expenses and commitments. It’s also important to eliminate toxic relationships. It is said that ten percent of the relationships cause 90 percent of the problems in your life. Try to cut down on those relationships. Learn to know yourself and find out what makes you feel anxious. And then again, move away from those people or activities, if possible.
Put your things into boxes
Image as if you were moving to another apartment or house. Put almost everything into boxes or somewhere away from the sight. As time passes you find out about what you really need and what you have for just in case.
This is the most important part. It may become hard for those who are attached to most of their things. First, throw out or give away everything you really don’t need. Then, the next step is to put away or hide those things that you think you could do without for a few months. And if you feel good about it and don’t need them, then start giving away those too. There is no rush, take your time. Move slowly towards your own minimal lifestyle and use that time to learn to know yourself better.
Discard duplicates and favor versatile
Search your home and fill one box with duplicates. If you have two or more sets of anything that does not need duplicates just put them in the box. Most of the things you actually don’t need more than one. Once you have your box filled, label it and put it out of sight for month or two. This is the optimal time to figure out if you actually need more than one pair or set of something.
Next, prefer items that are versatile. For example, a pair of shoes that you can wear with many different outfits. There are many wristwatches out there that go well with both casual and suit/dress. Well designed T-shirt goes almost with everything in most of the times. It’s not only the matter of clothing - if you can find items (from bags to vehicles) that can have more than one use, always prefer those. This makes your life cheaper, easier and more flexible. In addition using versatile things requires less time to plan and manage.
Keep it clean
Pick one special place in your home that is always minimalist, clean and tidy. Pretty soon you start to enjoy that special space in your home. It’s only a matter of time when you want for every corner in your home to be as clear and clean. This special place could be a table, a shelf, a drawer, a chair or something else that you usually fill with stuff. Use that space as an inspiration to take further steps. If you enjoy that clean space you can always expand the minimalist zone step by step.
Learn to say no
Get comfortable saying “no” and “I don’t care.” Helping others sure is a good thing, but only after you have your own needs satisfied. First make sure your own goals and dreams have enough attention and your life is well organized, so you can make time for others too. And still, you don’t need to help everyone and have an opinion about everything. Just focus on the most important and leave less important things for others.
Focus on goals, avoid distractions
Doesn’t matter if it’s your work or personal life - bring everything down to a few simple objectives. Think about what’s your life and profession really about? If you focus your attention on the most important tasks and activities, it will lead to a results connected to those objectives. And you can also reduce your workload by eliminating less important stuff. Avoid doing anything that doesn’t contribute to your end-goals.
Invest in high-quality
When you want to buy something new then go for high-quality items that have meaning of good life and celebration to you. If you are a minimalist then you want to enjoy those few things you have in your life. You don’t want to have lots of things, you want to have less, but the best quality there is. Things you buy must have important role in your life. And if it’s important it better be the best.
Start questioning yourself
Why did you buy all these clothes? What makes you want to buy more? Is there any feeling or stress you want to hide behind shopping? If all your stuff would disappear, would you buy all those things again? Are you buying something because you need or want it? If no one knew that you bought that thing, would you still buy it? These are hard questions of course. That’s why most of the people will never ask them. The best is just to avoid those impulsive purchases and limit your shopping habits.
Recycle, re-user and donate
A great habit to have is to learn to be a great re-user. You can save many things in order to reuse them later for other things. If possible, learn to repair and fix things rather than replace. When it comes to used items, think about donating or selling as a form of recycling. Give things that you don’t use away to those people who need them more than you.
Almost everything is replaceable
Get rid of the fear of losing your stuff and buying just in case. You don’t need to buy everything in advance. You don’t need to collect 100 bags of rice and 50 cans of tuna just to be safe. We are not living in a times of war. The shop is just around the corner and if you need something you can always go and buy it. Don’t give big meanings to simple possessions. Give meaning to the most important only - things that help you on the way to achieve your end-goals. Just understand that most of the possessions can simply be replaced.
One outfit strategy
There are many successful people out there who only have one type of clothes in their closet. That’s because they want to eliminate the time it takes to think about what to wear. We need to make lots of small decisions every single day and it all adds up. That’s why some of us want to wake up, wash, eat and dress without having to think about it. It can be pre-designed to decrease the choices you have to take every single day. Dress with less, buy clothes that match together and are versatile.
Eat similar meals
The same goes for food. Think about how much time you spend thinking about what are you going to eat and what do you need to pick up at the grocery store. If you have well balanced and organized menu for every week it saves a lot of time and money. Try eating the same type of breakfast every morning with some little variations. Combine vegetables and fruits for dinner. Always buy the same amount, just eat in different sizes and order to avoid too much routine.
The best way to stop yourself from excess buying is to start saving with a goal. Make your own saving project. Pick out some high quality item, dream vacation or think about paying back some loans. Then write down how much you want to save and divide it between your chosen timeline. If you have an emergency fund it can simplify your life, because knowing that you have money for unexpected expenses reduces everyday stress.
Last update: 2016-02-11 (Y,M,D)
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