Feeling overwhelmed with the amount of ‘things’ cluttering your life? A simplified life is possible through minimalism. Learn what minimalism is and how it can help you with this beginner’s guide. You’ll get practical steps to towards the minimalist lifestyle you crave!
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Minimalism: A Practical Beginner’s Guide
Have you been wondering why you keep hearing about this Minimalism thing? Think there is no way you could do it? If you can’t live with stark white walls and just a bed on the floor, you aren’t alone.
Minimalism doesn’t have to be all or nothing! Becoming a minimalist can be practical and totally worth it! Keep reading to learn what minimalism is, how anyone can benefit from it, and how to get started.
What is Minimalism?
Let’s start with leaders in the movement. The Minimalists and Joshua Becker have inspired thousands (including me) with their minimalism journeys. This is what minimalism is to them.
“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.” –The Minimalist
“Throw out the excess, clean up the mess, say no to stress, and live with less.” – Joshua Becker
Being a minimalist can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. There is no “one size fits all”.
To some, it means not owning a home or many items, which leads to more traveling. For others, it’s about reducing the commitments in their life. In my life it’s about intentional living, saving money, and having less impact on the environment.
When looking at minimalists on YouTube, the white walls that I joked about in the opening, seem to be the standard uniform. That doesn’t work for most people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be your own type of minimalist.
How can I benefit from Minimalism?
There are lots of benefits to becoming a minimalist.
- It can save you money. When you are being intentional with what you bring into your home and life, you don’t blindly consume. Once intentional living is part of your consciousness, you will think twice about buying that new scented candle, when you already have 10 at home.
- It can save you time. When you own less, you spend less time maintaining and cleaning. Instead of spending your day cleaning out the garage, you spend it on an outing with the family. Also, if you don’t over-commit yourself, you have more time to do the things you want to do.
- It can help the planet. We live in a world full of fast fashion and cheap products not meant to last. When you limit your purchases and consciously buy better, you use less resources and lower pollution.
- It can help you focus. Do you always wish you had more time for friends, but instead spend hours cleaning your things? Are you always wondering where your paycheck went while you mindlessly put another clothing item you don’t really need into your cart? Minimalism can be your answer. When you simplify, you figure out what your real likes and priorities are.
- It can help you have gratitude. When your life is full of stuff that you are not attached to or that you resent, it is hard to feel gratitude for those things.
Using minimalism to figure out what is really important and holds value in your life, makes it easier to feel grateful for those blessings.
Getting Started with Minimalism
Hopefully by now you’re starting to see the many benefits of minimalist living and you’re starting to get ideas and what it could look like for you. But now what? Where do you even begin?
Here are some ideas to help you get started on your journey to implement minimalism into your life:
1. Figure out what is driving your desire to minimize in your life by asking these questions:
- Are you feeling stressed by commitments?
- Do you feel like you over-consume?
- Is your house filled to the brim and you feel like you’re drowning in stuff?
- Really, what is making you feel like you want to simplify?
Think about these questions, especially the last one, and write down your thoughts so you know exactly where you want your focus to be.
2. Visualize your end result.
What will change in your life if you implement minimalism? Are there dreams you have that could be accomplished with the time and/or money you save? Have you always wanted a sewing room, or office, but your spare room is full of things? What would that room look like if you had a blank slate?
When you visualize what you want it can help you stay focused on what is important to you.
3. Set Goals.
Once you know why you want to practice minimalism and have visualized the changes it will bring to your life, how do you get the results you want? You set a goal!
Do you want to save a certain amount of money so you can pay off some debt? Is there a car in your driveway you wish could fit in your garage? Maybe you just want to own less stuff. What steps do you need to take to make those things start to happen? Be specific and set timelines. Even if it’s only 30 minutes a day set aside to declutter, make it a priority and schedule it.
You can read more about how to make goals that stick HERE!
4. Do a small, physical project.
Make your first project one that will have a visual, physical result. Seeing your space change will help keep you motivated on your minimalism journey.
5. Ask yourself this question before you bring an item into your life:
Is this something I really need, or something I find to be really beautiful.
If you truly think about this before you bring items into your life and home, you will start to consume less stuff.
What is the Next Step?
FIRST – Come back for our next two post. This minimalism post is just the first in a series of three. The next two post will have more specific things to help you move past this beginners look at minimalism. We hope the upcoming posts will help keep you committed to the path towards your goals with more concrete steps to take towards minimalism.
SECOND – Stay inspired!
There are lots of great books on Minimalism that can keep you inspired.
Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life, by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalist)
Less, by Rachel Aust
Scaling Down: Living Large in a Small Space, by Judi Cilbertson
Also, here are two of my favorite minimalism YouTube videos that will help keep you motivated. Both are under 5 minutes:
How Many Towels Do You Need?– a Ted Talk by Rose Lounsberry
How I became a Minimalist– The 1st video in The Minimalist Series by Joshua Becker
I’m Minimizing, now what?
If you have removed things you don’t want to do with your time, remember to fill that time with what really makes you happy. Removing a commitment only to fill that time by mindlessly watching television will not make you happy. Remember your vision for why you wanted more time in your life, and follow through.
If you are removing clutter and unwanted items from your life, what do you do with them? Well that depends on the item. I would suggest always trying to find a home for the item before it is sent out to landfill.
Do you have a friend that might love that bowl you never use in your kitchen? Is the item something you could sell to get you closer to one of your goals? Are there items in good condition you could donate to a shelter? Maybe there is a thrift store that supports a good charity you like that you could take your unwanted’s to?
Minimalism, Yes You Can!!
Hopefully you can see how minimalism can be practical and work for you. All you need to get started is a desire to have a more focused, intentional life…and who doesn’t want that? By clicking on and reading this post you have already showed a desire. Now just take what you learned from here and start. BOOM, you’re beginning your journey towards being your own kind of Minimalist!