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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?

Zen Habits New Ebook

Check out Zen Habits new E-book about minimalist living.  HERE

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