For the past couple of years, there has been a movement worldwide to live a minimalist lifestyle. The number of people who watched Tidying Up With Mari Kondo on the first week was enough evidence that more people want to explore and live this lifestyle.
What is minimalism and what does it mean to live a minimalist lifestyle? According to Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, who created and produced the 2016 documentary, The Minimalists, “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.”
So, how does one live a minimalist lifestyle? Some people own less than a hundred things. Some have cut down their wardrobe to a total of 30 items. Some don’t have a car or a home or a TV. Some have their own vegetable gardens and some live off the grid.
But the truth is, there are no hard rules to living a minimalist lifestyle. The only rule that exists is to avoid excess of anything and to focus on what’s really important.
So now that you’ve decided that you want to live a minimalist lifestyle, how do you start? We got some tips to help you prioritize the important things in your life.
- Ask yourself what really makes you want to live a minimalist lifestyle
What is your main reason for living a minimalist lifestyle? What is driving you to transition to this lifestyle? Is it the desire to live a life with fewer possessions? Is it the desire to only have what matters most? Is it to create less waste? Determine your reasons for living this lifestyle. Write it down where you can easily access it when you need to remind yourself why you’re doing this. Know your limits, too. Minimalism doesn’t mean living on nothing, but living without excess.
- Follow blogs or social media accounts or groups on minimalism.
What better way to learn more about minimalism than to read the accounts of people who have done it and are really living a minimalist lifestyle. Ask them why they did it, how they did it, and how they continue to do it. Turn to them when the going gets tough because, the truth is, they will have gone through all of the issues you can think of when it comes to living a minimalist lifestyle.
- Make a list of your expenses and what type of items you spend money on.
Decide which expenses are negotiable and non-negotiable. Prioritize the non-negotiable expenses and figure out how you can work around the negotiable expenses. For example, negotiable expenses may include having your coffee before work. And you may be making your own coffee at home now but you’re using coffee pods. Instead of using the machine and coffee pods, you can get a French press, ground coffee, and make your own French press coffee. You can even use the ground coffee to make your own facial mask or fertilizer for your plants or to grow your own mushrooms!
- Start decluttering one room at a time.
Make a list of all your rooms and decide whether you want to tackle the biggest or the smallest first or the one with the biggest clutter or the smallest clutter first. Set aside a few hours to declutter each room. You don’t want to start decluttering and realize you need to leave mid-way. After you declutter a room, decide first how you will get rid of the items before you move on to the next room. Make a pile of already so it’s easier for you to categorize the items whenever you declutter. You could have one pile that’s for donation, another pile that’s for regifting, another pile for items you can repurpose, and another pile for items you can give to the junkyard.
Try to throw away as little as possible in the garbage can. Once you’ve sorted them, move on to the next room. Decluttering in an organized way leaves no or little room for abandoning the items you’ve removed from the rooms. When you’re done with all of the rooms and you’ve separated the items into piles, do what needs to be done. Bring the items to be donated to the place where it needs to be brought. For the regift and repurpose box, arrange them properly inside the boxes and have a designated storage closet for it. For the items to be given to the junkyard, you can arrange to have it picked up or take it to the shop.
- Do it for yourself, don’t force others to do it because you live it
Live a minimal lifestyle for yourself first and foremost. Don’t force others to do it just because you are living it. If you want them to follow your lead, then lead by example. They need to understand, on their own, why people choose to live a minimal lifestyle. Let them decide for themselves. If they don’t follow your lead though, it’s okay, just do your thing. And make sure they understand that this lifestyle is important to you.
Are you ready to live a minimalist lifestyle now? Be sure to draw up a battle plan before you start. And always remember that it will be hard before it gets easy. But once you’ve fully embraced it, it’ll be worth it.