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How To Become A Minimalist

I’ve never met anyone who has gone minimalist and decided to go back. I went from a packed house, a garage full of stuff and a storage unit, to traveling the world out of a single backpack.  I went from being in debt to having more money in my bank account than ever before. Here’s what helped me make the transition.

1.Understand Why You Want to Change

Understanding why you want to take the journey to minimalism will not only help you stay motivated on your journey, it will help you to know what exactly minimalism means to you. When I decided I wanted to become minimalist, it was simply to make my daily life easier.

I was tired of rifling through clothes that I didn’t wear to get to the ones I do, I was tired of my kitchen drawers overflowing with utensils when I only needed about a quarter of what was in those drawers. I was exhausted from spending my days off trying to work my way through the constant pile of laundry in the washroom and picking up random things around the house. I was jealous of friends who were going on weekend getaways while I spend my days pulling weeds in a constant attempt to create a garden.

When you understand what you want minimalism to do for you, it’s so much easier to declutter. While I went through the decluttering process, which took me around 6 months all together, I would have moments where I would be holding something I never used and trying to justify why I’d need to keep it. Once I remembered the purpose of minimalism and why I was implementing it, I had such an easier time letting that thing go.

2. Get Rid Of Clutter

The decluttering process is the easiest way to kick start your journey to minimalism. Doing this slowly and in a few sweeps seems to be the most efficient. I did about three or four sweeps of decluttering before I was completely satisfied with everything I got rid of, and everything I kept. When you go through the decluttering process at a reasonable pace (for example, don’t do it all in one day or even in one month), the transition will be a bit easier.

If you go from a full house to a mostly empty house overnight, it will be a much harder adjustment. It worked well for me to try to hit about 5 areas per week – and I chose small areas, like one desk drawer or just the sweaters in my closet. Though it takes longer to declutter slowly, it is much easier to maintain a minimalist lifestyle if the decluttering process is done slowly and carefully.

3. Clear Your Calendar

By making your calendar a simpler and less cluttered space (I mean not scheduling so many appointments/dates), you will have so much less stress. I used to schedule meetups with friends back to back, and I would always be late to one because I didn’t want to leave the one I was at before. I was never able to truly live in the moment because I was constantly thinking about what I needed to do next and if I was going to be late. It stressed me out quite a bit, which is ridiculous to think about now, as I had complete control over my schedule.

The limits you have are the limits you create – even if you have a full time job, you are still in control of how you spend your time outside of work. If your work hours aren’t working for you, take that into consideration as well. Since I’ve become minimalist, I have worked less than I ever have in my life, but still have more money in my bank account, since I don’t spend like I used to.

4. Start Saving

One of the biggest perks of minimalism (and the one that draws a lot of people to minimalism) is the amount of money you are able to save with a minimalist lifestyle. By spending money on only necessities, you’ll end up accidentally saving loads of money. It wasn’t until I saw my bank account balance steadily increasing that I realized that I can really do anything I want.

I could look into potentially purchasing a house, buying my next car in cash, or traveling long term, the way I was going. When you start saving on accident and stop thinking about the material possessions that you want (because you know you don’t need them anymore!), you’ll be able to really focus on your passions, and even donate to charities that you are involved in.

Living a minimalist lifestyle can change your life so much for the better. I would love to hear how your minimalist journey is going and what you love about minimalism!

Your Turn!

  • Where are you on your minimalist journey?
  • What draws you to minimalism?

Why Minimalism Isn’t For Everyone

Becoming a minimalist can be beneficial for some, but is it right for everyone? I became a minimalist about two years ago, and in that time, I’ve discovered a few reasons why minimalism might not be for everyone.

1.It’s hard

Going through the decluttering process, changing the way you spend money, and choosing new hobbies that don’t involve excessive amounts of money are all situations that will not be easy to implement. The decluttering process alone took me about a year, as I did it slowly and intentionally. Finding things to do with all of my new free time really forced me to think about what I actually want out of life.

2. It will force you to grow

Once I went minimalist and started finding loads of free time, I had to figure out what to do with that time. I started reigniting passions that I’d pushed aside long ago, becoming a better photographer, writer, friend, and person. I learned about traveling on a budget, and I quit my dead end job to pursue my dreams of traveling the world.

I read more and I started learning how to make videos. I focused more time on my health and relationships and learned how to ease my anxiety. I learned how to cook. I started making my own beauty products. I learned more about how consumerism impacts our environment and took steps to create less waste in the world. If I’d continued my consumer-focused lifestyle, I probably would not have learned about any of these topics.

 

3. It might change your relationships

The simple process of decluttering my one bedroom house (which I lived in with my boyfriend) forced to me acknowledge the hoarding tendencies of my partner. It also forced me to acknowledge that the status of our relationship was less than ideal. We had been together for four years, and in that time we grew more apart than together.

Minimalism made me look at my relationships and really implement a bird’s eye view of how I was spending my time, and with whom. I started spending more time with people who were positive, people who were interested in a non-consumer based lifestyle, and people who inspired and motivated me to continue on my journey of growth.

4. It will reveal your priorities

Priorities are shown through action. When you are choosing how to spend your time intentionally, versus spending your time by doing what you feel you should be doing, you are revealing your true priorities in life. After going minimalist, I made sure that the time I was spending with others was quality time.

I no longer spent time just hanging out at my parents house – now I go there, talk with everyone, and catch up properly. This way I still have time to focus on my other priorities like photography, writing, cooking, and self development.

Minimalism can change your life in such a deep and real way. Maybe minimalism isn’t for everyone, but for some, it can be a truly life changing shift.

 

Your Turn!

  • Are you a minimalist?
  • What was the hardest part about becoming a minimalist?

 

 

Ten Ways to Start Minimalist Living Today

A minimalist lifestyle is an enviable one; it can give you more time, energy, and money in the bank. Living minimally can give you time to focus on your hobbies, relationships, and health, while cutting back on most of those dreaded household chores like excessive laundry or cleaning.

When I first went minimalist, I was shocked at how much free time I was able to reclaim. I had so much more time on weekends; I was able to really explore the area that I live in, try new hiking trails, learn to cook, and even plan a trip around the world. Minimalist living can truly open your eyes to what you care about and give you time to focus on your passions. Minimalist Home Office

If you are interested in trying out a more minimalist lifestyle, consider implementing some of these tips:

1. Get rid of the junk. 

Get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you happiness.  Decluttering is the first step in obtaining a truly minimalist lifestyle. Decluttering is a process and can take time; just try to do a little bit each day. Clothes that don’t fit, anything broken, anything you have multiples of – chuck them to the side for donating. When I started decluttering, I was shocked at how many clothes I had kept that just didn’t fit right. It felt so good to donate them to someone who could actually use them.

2. Ask yourself if you really need it. 

Impulse shopping used to be my weakness. I’d go to Target for laundry detergent and walk out $100 later with new clothes, lotions, and stationary. When I chose to take a more minimalist approach, I would go in and tell myself that I am only buying laundry detergent. If I left Target with only the things I needed, I’d give myself a little pat on the back.

Minimalist desk notebook

3. Become a handyman (or woman). 

One perk of minimalist living is learning to reuse things. Learning to repair or fix things will not only help you live more minimally, it will also help keep your bank account high and lessen your carbon footprint. Also, you’ll feel like a boss after repairing something for the first time.

4. Know you don’t have to get rid of everything. 

Often, minimalism is misconstrued as meaning that you can’t have things that you love. Quite the opposite! The point of minimalism is to focus on things that you love and get rid of the other stuff. If you are an avid reader and book collector, keep those books! But if you have tons of clothes that you never wear cluttering your closet, maybe look into donating those. Minimalism can enhance your life so much for the better, just keep in mind that you don’t have to get rid of all of your stuff. A minimalist home can mean something different to everyone.

5. Take a look at your calendar. 

How do you spend your time? minimalist houseIs your calendar full of things that you don’t want to do? A minimalist lifestyle includes being conscious of the way you spend your time. Think about what kinds of activities you get the most value from, and get rid of the ones that don’t bring you joy. I like making sure to have one day a week that is purely mine – to go for long hikes, spend time coloring or taking pictures, or even just binging on Netflix.

 

6. Invest in high quality when you do buy something. 

Buying a really nice t-shirt that is made out of the best fabric, fits you perfectly, and will hold its shape and color for years will bring you so much more happiness than buying a cheap t-shirt made from low quality material that may not fit you well. One of the best parts about minimalism is that now that you have less, you can get the best.

7. Simplify your meals. 

Learn to cook at home. Make a few simple meals that you love. Cooking at home and having a few recipes on standby will drastically reduce your grocery bill and make meal times so much simpler. I’ve started cooking simple curries that are not only delicious, but they are super cheap to make and hold really well for leftovers.

8. Open a savings account (if you don’t already have one). 

Now that you’re living like a minimalist, you’ll be able to contribute regularly to your savings, because you’ll be saving so much money. Create a goal for an emergency fund to work toward. When I started my minimalist journey, I would create small and large financial goals. The first $1000 warranted a celebration, but the first $10k gave me the most incredible feeling.

9. Look at your relationship with stuff. 

Are you putting emotional value into things? Do you keep old shirts because of memories associated with them, even if you never actually wear the shirt? You can keep those memories without keeping the physical item. For some, taking a picture of the item before releasing it can help. Instead of keeping that ratty t-shirt from a concert you went to five years ago (that you never wear), consider creating an online photo album of pictures from that day to keep the memory alive.

10. Practice gratitude. 

travel to pragueTell yourself that you are enough, that you have enough. You have everything you need. Share what you don’t need with those who do. It may sound a bit corny, but I would tell myself on my way to Target to buy soap; “I have everything I need, I don’t need anything other than soap.” It’s a bit funny to look back on, but when you shop with a simple and straightforward mindset, you are so much less likely to purchase things on impulse.

 

I hope you enjoyed my ten tips to start minimalist living. I can’t wait to hear which ones you want to try first! 

 

Your Turn!

  • Which tip are you going to try first?
  • Which tip do you think will be the hardest?

 

How Minimalism Can Improve Your Life

Before I discovered minimalism, my life was a mess. I was in debt, my house was full and cluttered, and I was the most unhappy I’d ever been. I had a dead-end job and I was in a relationship that was going nowhere. I could not believe this was my life at the ripe age of 26. Now, as a minimalist, I am traveling the world and living with less stuff than I’ve ever owned. I am living my life on my own terms, largely because I found minimalism.

Minimalism has improved so many areas of my life, and can benefit you as well. Let’s look at the areas of my life that have improved since finding minimalism:

1. Work/Money

Pre-minimalism, I was working at a dead end job that paid me well, but was not satisfying. I was making more than enough money to get by, but I wasn’t saving anything. The weird thing was that I didn’t even know what I was spending money on. When I ran the numbers, I was shocked at how much was going out each month on things like clothes (even though I never had anything to wear), coffees out, snacks, drinks, etc. I wasn’t living extravagantly, but I wasn’t living frugally either.

Post-minimalism, I was debt-free and saving a very large portion of my take-home pay. I was saving sort of on accident, but I soon realized that with this money I could take some time and decide what kind of job I wanted to do. I became financially free, and it was an amazing feeling.

How to start: start keeping track of where your money is going – write it all down. At the end of the week, review your list to see what was necessary and what wasn’t. Cut out those non-necessities!

2. Home

Pre-minimalism, I was living in a very cluttered home with another person. I just dealt with the clutter, or tried to organize it a bit. I constantly had piles of laundry to do on the weekends, and I spent at least one full day every weekend doing chores like cleaning the house, washing the car, and trying to get through some of that laundry.

Post-minimalism, I am traveling the world and living out of a backpack. I have visited over 20 countries and have never felt more free.

How to start: declutter! Tackle a small area each day, and soon you won’t have any non-necessities left.

3. Time

Pre-minimalism, my calendar was always packed full. When I wasn’t cleaning on the weekends, I was attending someone’s birthday party, bridal shower, etc. Some of the events I went to were for people I never even spoke with; they were just friends of family. Post-minimalism, I have reclaimed my time. I now only go to events that I want to go to. I manage my calendar based on how I want it to look, not what I got invited to.

How To Start: decline invitations to events that you don’t want to go to.

 

4. Relationships

Pre-minimalism, I used to go out with friends and be on my phone, waiting for a text from someone or a message to come through. I was always preoccupied and never  truly there.

Post-minimalism, I’ve become a much better listener and friend, and I’ve learned to appreciate the time I spend with others and truly be in the moment. Life is so much better when you aren’t stressed about getting to your next meeting.

How to start: give yourself time between meetings. This way, you can put your phone away when you’re spending quality time with others and enjoy the moment.

These are just four of the many ways that minimalism can impact someone’s life. Minimalism has had such a positive impact on my life and I can’t wait to hear how it’s affected yours!

Your Turn!

  • How has minimalism changed your life?
  • Have you noticed any unexpected changes since going minimalist?

 

What Defines A Minimalist

What is a minimalist? The tricky thing about minimalism is that there isn’t an exact definition. I consider myself a minimalist, but you may not consider me a minimalist. I live out of a backpack, but I don’t own less than 100 things. There is a lot of confusion around what it takes to be considered a minimalist. To help clarify the term, I’ve come up with a few common values that most minimalists have in common.

1. They don’t prioritize things

Minimalists prioritize values over things. This means that they might choose to spend their day working on something they love (for me, it would be photography or hiking) over a day spent mindlessly shopping or engaging in some kind of consumer-related event.  When I began the journey to minimalism, I stopped focusing on buying a new Audi and started focusing on my passions and what I want in life.

2. They live intentionally

Minimalists use their time wisely and intentionally, focusing on what brings the most joy and happiness. Before I discovered minimalism, I would spend my weekends catching up on laundry and dreading the coming work week.

Once I started the journey to minimalism, I began focusing my schedule around doing things that I enjoy fully, instead of just trying to fill my time with something to do. I became so much happier and more fulfilled.

3. They are focused on freedom

A core value of minimalism is the ability to be free. This can mean something different to everyone, but to me it meant getting out of my dead end 9-5 job. Becoming minimalist helped me save enough money to quit my job and pursue my dreams of traveling. I now feel completely free, and I know that if I ever do have to work a typical job again, it will only be temporary. I no longer have to work to live, I now live to work.

4. They invest in quality

Living a minimalist lifestyle means choosing quality over quantity, every time. I would rather have one black tank top that is good quality and will last me years than five black tank tops which will get holes in a few months. Purchasing quality items means that you will need less, and will create a more minimalist and simple wardrobe.

Minimalists don’t just value quality in physical items. Focusing your time and energy on creating quality work, nurturing quality friendships, and preparing high quality, healthful foods are all an important part of the minimalist lifestyle.

5. They are accidental savers

Before minimalism, I was never able to save money, no matter how hard I tried. I missed out on so many trips throughout the years because I was unable to save money. I made enough money to put at least a little aside each paycheck, but without fail, every time I got paid, my last paycheck had already been fully spent. I usually couldn’t even tell you where the money went. I was spending money unintentionally – just picking up things here and there, mostly on impulse.

After my transition to minimalism, I had saved about $15k in five months. I was just living according to my priorities – I was spending my time hiking outside, writing, spending quality time with my family. I wasn’t focused on my bank account, and I wasn’t spending time at the shopping mall or out to expensive dinners anymore. My life became so much more simple, and it felt amazing.

Whether you call yourself a minimalist or not, it’s impossible to deny the benefits of living a more simple lifestyle. Focusing on your passions, concentrating on relationships and activities that bring value to your life; this is what defines a minimalist to me.

Your Turn!

  • How would you define a minimalist?
  • Do you consider yourself a minimalist?
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