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Posts Tagged minimalist lifestyle

How To Start Living A Minimalist Lifestyle

Living in a more minimalist way can create more free time, more money in your savings account, and a more purpose filled life. I started my minimalist journey about two years ago, and since then I’ve quit my job, saved a lot of money, and traveled to over 20 countries. Living minimally has led to so many opportunities for me, and it can do the same for you. To get started with a more minimalist lifestyle, you’ll just need to take a few steps.

1. The decluttering process

To live a simple lifestyle, you’ll need a simple living space. Take some time to declutter your living area. Focus on keeping things that you value deeply, and toss things that you don’t need any longer. I took about six months to fully declutter my space. Giving yourself time will ensure that you are intentional about what you keep and what you discard.

I like to complete the decluttering process in sweeps; the first sweep, get rid of anything that you know you no longer use. Take a few months to live without those things, and notice if the things you’ve kept are serving you. I did three sweeps in total, after noticing that I had held on to things following the first two sweeps that I still didn’t need. After the third and final sweep, I was shocked to see how few possessions I actually used in my daily life.

2. Stay mindful

Minimalists live intentionally. If there is something in your life that you don’t love, change it! When I started my minimalist journey, I was in a job and a relationship that didn’t serve me. Within six months, I was out of both of those, and happier than I’d ever been. I like to think about what my ideal life looks like, and then work toward that. Cutting out the things that aren’t serving you are the first step to creating the life that you want. An exercise that really helps me is to write down what an ideal day would look like for you in five years time. Then work toward that goal.

3. Minimize your relationships

Going minimalist to me meant that I was spending time with only the people I wanted to spend time with. Though I have a lot of friends, only a few of them are people who motivate and inspire me to grow and learn. These few people ignite my creativity and spending time with them is incredibly valuable to me. To me, becoming minimalist meant focusing my social time on people who lifted me up. This way, I was maximizing my social time, and also maximizing the amount of  time that I had to focus on things that I wanted to work on.

4. Be intentional with your time

Instead of RSVP’ing “yes” to everything you’re invited to, take some time to think about whether it’s something that you are excited about attending. Be intentional with how you spend your time. When I started my minimalist journey, I decided to cut out 99% of my social events, and just do whatever I felt like doing. This included a lot of hiking, learning about photography, and spending a lot of time with my family. I felt so much more fulfilled and happy when I scheduled my time according to what I wanted.

5. Create a savings account

A huge part of minimalism is creating financial freedom. Creating a savings account and contributing to it regularly will help you build a little nest egg to quit your day job, build a tiny house, or start traveling. Try setting up an automatic transfer, so that you can save without even trying. Think about cutting out unnecessary expenses and subscriptions that you don’t use to save even more.

When I took the journey to minimalism, I set up an automatic transfer for $100 per week to be sent to my savings account on the day I got paid. This helped me save my first $1000 pretty quickly. Once I got more into minimalism, that amount grew, until I was transferring about 60-70% of my paycheck into my savings. Simple living really pays off!

Minimalism has affected my life in ways that I never thought possible. I found passions that I didn’t know I had, I saved a lot of money and attained financial freedom, and I deepened my relationships with family and friends. What could minimalism do for you?

For more articles on minimalism, see:

  • How To Become A Minimalist
  • How To Build  A Capsule Wardrobe
  • What Defines A Minimalist

Your Turn!

  • How would simple living affect your daily life?
  • Would you be willing to give minimalism a try?

Five Reasons People Never Achieve Minimalism

Minimalism can have a tremendously positive impact on anyone’s life; it’s easy to see that living with less can create financial freedom, less stress, and more free time. But it’s not common to simply jump right in to minimalism. In fact, some people never even try. So why do some people never achieve minimalism?

1. They don’t know where to start

The most common reason I hear for not giving minimalism a try is that people just don’t know where to start. It can be daunting to look at a house full of stuff and wonder how you can get from point A (house full of clutter) to point B (organized, minimalist home). If you need help getting started, check out the post I did on how to start minimalist living today [insert link].

2. It’s too much work

Looking at that full storage unit, the overflowing closets, and the cluttered bedrooms may just be too overwhelming. It’s no secret that the decluttering process is time consuming, but taking it day by day can make the process less stressful and more productive. I started by decluttering one small area per day, and if I missed a day I just continued my list the following day. Giving yourself a generous time frame can definitely be helpful.

3. Their family doesn’t want to be minimalist

Living with a family is a great way to introduce the benefits of minimalism in from a first hand perspective. By showing your family how beneficial it is to live minimally, perhaps they will jump on the bandwagon sooner than you think. Even if they don’t come around to it, it is still possible to keep your space as minimal as you’d like, and reap the benefits of minimalism yourself.

4. They just like buying things

This was my personal excuse for a while. I loved taking trips to Target, picking up new clothes, accessories, and stationery, when all I really needed was laundry detergent. I didn’t need any of the other stuff I bought, and I usually didn’t keep it around for long, but I just liked going shopping and getting new things.

I later realized that I was buying things because I was lacking fun in my life. Buying things will make you temporarily feel good, but after a while that feeling goes away. Try having more fun in other ways instead! Spending more time outside helped me tremendously, and once going minimalist, I became an avid hiker.

 

5. They worry they’ll regret getting rid of something

When decluttering, you will have to make choices about what to keep and what to get rid of. I have gotten rid of things that I later regretted – but those were spur of the moment, sporadic decisions. 99.99% of the things I’ve thrown out, I could not be happier to have let go.

I like to think of letting go of things as giving them to someone who will love and cherish them more – and that makes me happy.

Minimalism has made such a positive impact on my life – in fact, it helped me go from living in debt in a packed one bedroom house, to traveling the world out of a backpack. I think that everyone can benefit from living with less.

Your Turn!

  • What is stopping you from trying minimalism?

 

 

 

What is Minimalist Living?

Minimalist living is an all inclusive lifestyle – having a minimal, clutter-free environment is a large part of it, but it’s so much more than that. The minimalist lifestyle includes looking at the way you spend your time, your money, and even the way you think.

minimalism nature quality time

1. Owning less stuff is a large part of it…

Keeping your environment as minimal as possible will ensure a less cluttered mind. I’ve noticed that I tend to focus better in a clean space, with just a few necessary items. Even when I’m not working, I feel more calm in a minimalist environment. When I am in a cluttered or crowded environment, I tend to feel anxious and unproductive. When you don’t have a lot of clutter, your mind is freed up for other, more important things to think about.

2. …But minimalist living doesn’t just apply to your house

minimalist homeI’ve started taking a more minimal approach to the way I structure the desktop on my computer, to the way I plan my days and even the foods that I eat. With less clutter on my desktop, I can look at my computer and focus on what I need to do, instead of getting distracted by photos and documents that are scattered around. With a more simple diet, my body functions at a more optimum level, and I have to think less about what I’m going to eat that day. Life becomes more simple, easier, and much more intentional.

3. Mindfulness and minimalism

Minimalist living can have a wonderful effect on the mind. When you are living a less cluttered life, you will have much more focus and intentionality in everything you do. Instead of seeing clutter and thinking about how you need to clean it up, you’ll have a clean environment, a clear head, and the ability to focus more clearly. Instead of living reactively, you’ll have the opportunity to think about what you want to do, and focus completely on that.

4. Freedom

Minimalist living has given me something that I will be forever grateful for: freedom. Through living simply, I’ve been able to create a life in which I feel completely free. I’m free to spend my time how I’d like, I’m free to pursue passions that I want to explore, I’m free to go to a cafe in the middle of the day on a Tuesday.

Before I took the journey to minimalism, I was working in a 9-5 job. I was making a salary, but I still was required to be there from 9-5 PM, whether I had already finished my work for the day or not. It started to feel like I wasn’t in control of my life anymore. I was looking for meaning in a career, but I found meaning in minimalism and pursuing my passions.

minimalism time

5. Quality Relationships

Minimalism has led me to create even stronger friendships and relationships than I had before. Because I spend my time in a more intentional way, I am able to connect with people on a deeper level. Instead of just “hanging out,” I now only spend time with people who inspire and motivate me, which brings great value to my life.

Minimalist living has changed my life and helped me accomplish so many goals. I’m now focused on actually living instead of just keeping up with the Jones’. To learn more about minimalism, see my post on what defines a minimalist (link to post when published).

Your Turn!

  • What does simple living mean to you?

 

Setting Goals As A Minimalist

Setting a few simple goals throughout the year and working toward them can create some amazing life changes and give you a more pleasurable daily routine.  However, my approach to goal setting has changed over time. I used to love sitting down with my calendar and colorful pens and stickers, planning out my month and week and days, making my life look beautiful and glamorous.  Now I keep it simple and from a minimalist approach.  Here are my favorite tips for:

1. Give yourself enough time

One of my worst traits is that I can be extremely impatient. Because of my impatience, I tend to give myself nowhere near enough time to accomplish my goals. By thinking out a proper amount of time to accomplish a goal (for example, give yourself a couple of weeks to declutter the kitchen, instead of a couple of weeks to declutter the whole house), you’ll ensure that you don’t feel overly stressed or worried about your goal.

Your goal should bring you happiness and excitement, not stress! I did two to three sweeps of decluttering over six months. That worked well for me, but I was also a single person living in a one bedroom apartment with someone else, and the other person owned a lot of the stuff in our place, so not a lot of it was mine. It was still helpful to give myself time. Minimalism is a journey which can turn into a lifestyle. Enjoy the journey.

2. Set goals that are complimentary to your lifestyle

Another mistake that I very often make is looking at someone else’s life and thinking that if I want to achieve what they have, I should just do what they do. If I follow the same journey that they took, I should end up at the same spot, right? Wrong.

Your journey is unique to you, and your lifestyle will have different needs than anyone else’s. For example, I really enjoy scrubbing my face. It sounds weird, but call it a guilty pleasure. I love using my Clarisonic. Most minimalists do not own a Clarisonic, but it is something that I have been obsessed with for years. I carry it around the world with me, so that when I have a bad day, I can go home and scrub my face. It’s a necessity to me to have my Clarisonic, where most people I know would definitely not carry a Clarisonic around the world.

If you love something, don’t let it go for minimalism. I believe that the most common misconception about minimalism is that you need to get rid of all of your stuff, when in reality that is not true. Minimalism is about getting rid of stuff that doesn’t serve you anymore. Keep the things that are valuable to you and get rid of the things that aren’t.

3. Have a “Why”

Why is it that people always intend to start a new diet on Monday but never do? It’s because they know that along with that diet comes restriction and discontent. And that sounds terrible. Understanding WHY you are doing something can be the key to long term motivation. Many people hold back on the minimalist journey because they consider minimalism as lacking. You don’t have enough stuff, you can’t spend money, why would you want to do that?

Once you take a hard look at WHY you want to do something, you’ll realize the benefits you’ll gain. A minimalist lifestyle has less stuff because you don’t have unnecessary, stressful clutter. A minimalist lifestyle needs less money because you are spending your time focusing on your passions instead of material possessions.

Focus on the downsides of not achieving your goals as well. This can help clarify why you are making the goal, and also give you motivation to keep working toward your ultimate goal.

photo credit

4. Focus on the Process

My favorite part of living minimally is my new attention to everyday moments. The journey to your goal is the most fun part – make sure to enjoy it and savor the feeling of working toward something. Focusing on the journey, even more than the outcome, can ensure that your daily life is enjoyable and less stressful.

Your Turn!

  • Are you a goal setter?
  • What are your current goals?

 

 

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?
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