How Long Does It Really Take To Become A Minimalist?

 How Long Does It Take To Become A Minimalist


Something I recognized in my pursuit of minimalism is that the most vital resource is time. I think the saying ‘time is money’ has truth to it in the sense that time is valuable.

It makes sense to make sure where time is allocated is worth it. Some of the common questions I’ve seen from people who are interested in minimalism are time based. As a finite resource, it’s important to see how much will be used and how it will pay off.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

Starting my simple living journey was one of the best time investments I’ve made. By minimizing extra stuff that wasn’t adding value to my life, I was able to live with more purpose and really appreciate what matters most to me. I was surprised at how little time it took to get started.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

How Long Does It Take To Become A Minimalist?

How Long Does It Take To Become A Minimalist

For most people, it takes 1-2 years to fully transition to a minimalist lifestyle. When I started my minimalist journey, it took me 2-3 months to start seeing the benefits of the decluttering, intentionality, and mindfulness.

transitioning to a minimalist lifestyleI notice that people often want something to work toward, an end goal of sorts, but an important thing to note is that minimalism is more of a journey, not a destination.

One of the great appeals of minimalism is that the process itself is extremely rewarding.

For me, I began making the transition to minimalism once I reflected on where I was in life—a young adult in a recession weighed down by debt—and where I wanted to be—financially free and not tied down by my possessions.

While searching for a way to make what I wanted a reality, I saw a picture of a tiny home. I realized that significantly downsizing my surroundings could help make my dream a reality. So I created a tiny home of my own, and shrank the volume of my possessions to match.

Over more than a decade later, I can firmly say that the time I devoted to the transition to minimalism has majorly paid off, both short and long-term. As I minimized my physical items, I could focus more on the relationships in my life, and found more security in my finances.

Becoming a minimalist takes time. It can’t happen overnight, and it is an ongoing process.

How To Become A Minimalist Fast

How To Become A Minimalist Fast

The quickest way to become a minimalist is to just get started. Sure, a lot of planning could go into this process, but the fastest way to get a jump on this journey is to start doing. Grab a box and start filling it up with odd ends that found their way to your kitchen junk drawer or old clothes you haven’t worn in the past six months.

Minimalism is a progressive journey, and the timeline is different for everyone.

how to start a minimalist lifestyle

How to Become A Minimalist in 7 days

How to Become A Minimalist in 7 days

Seven days may feel fleeting, but with focused energy and carefully managed time, a lot can get done. I’m a big believer that actions done with intention produce fruitful results.

This seven day timeline works by tackling a different space each day. Start with the areas that have fewer sentimental items, so there’s time to get into the swing of decluttering without distraction or reservation.

Become A Minimalist in 7 days

  • Day 1: Kitchen
  • Day 2: Dining Room
  • Day 3: Living Room
  • Day 4: Bedroom
  • Day 5: Bathrooms
  • Day 6: Car
  • Day 7: Storage/ Laundry Room
minimalist laundry

Becoming A Minimalist in 14 days

How to Become A Minimalist in 14 days

With two weeks to work with, there’s a little more flexibility that gives the decluttering process some breathing room. Sure, it takes a bit longer and stretches out the initial stage of minimizing, but it gives some leeway for serious organization. Once I’m done decluttering, I like to give attention to what I bring into the home and make sure I create a routine that encourages me to declutter again and again.

Become A Minimalist in 14 days

  • Days 1-2: Kitchen
  • Days 2-4: Dining Room
  • Days 5-6: Living Room
  • Days 7-8: Bedroom
  • Days 9-10: Bathrooms
  • Days 11-12: Storage and Laundry Room
  • Days 13-14: Car and Garage
minimalist bedroom

How to Become A Minimalist In 30 days

How to Become A Minimalist in 30 days

I find that if I take a longer approach to changing habits, the transition feels more natural and less abrupt. The same goes for picking up minimalism and incorporating it into everyday life.

While the big purge can happen in a short amount of time, choosing to take a bit of longer transition into minimalism makes it easier to digest. With more time, it’s easier to break down the decluttering days into more specific sections of the home instead of just general living spaces.

Something I noticed about people who do a 30 day challenge is that they give more attention to their systems and habits, which helps create a realistic way to keep habits from falling back into the way they were before. Outside of the structure of the 30 day challenge, it’s possible to move into minimalism by adding patterns of decluttering in a less structured way.

30 day declutter challenge

Building Minimalist Habits and Patterns

  • Box non-essential items away. Remove and keep items, only as you use them.
  • Create “homes” and identify specific places where all your items go.
  • Track what you use daily, placing those items in more accessible areas.
  • Rethink your storage systems and their practicality.
  • Eliminate the junk drawer all together.
  • Don’t buy items impulsively but think about them for a day instead.
  • Ask introspective questions before purchases. “Does this add value to my life?”

Minimalism While Juggling A Busy Schedule

Minimalism While Juggling A Busy Schedule

The transition to minimalism doesn’t have to happen fast and furiously. Let’s face it, not everyone has an uninterrupted week to dedicate to serious decluttering.

fill one box daily with stuff you dont needI have a friend who took the long route to becoming a minimalist. With a busy schedule between work and side passions, he didn’t feel that he could dedicate a full week or two to really remove all the clutter from his house.

Instead, he decided to fill one bag daily with stuff he didn’t need. Over the course of six months, he was able to clear out a substantial amount of clutter from his home and see how his mindset toward buying things had changed. He realized he wanted peace and less clutter more than impulse purchases.

How To Prioritize Time For Your Minimalist Goals

How To Prioritize Time For Your Minimalist Goals

Making time to work on the minimalist process is essential to progressing in a minimalist lifestyle. If there isn’t a constant motivator or reminder to stay on track during this transition, it’ll be easy to do anything else on your never ending to do lists. Get an accountability buddy to keep you on schedule.

Paths to improvement aren’t always a straight line, so if there is a slip-up or a lull in the process, it doesn’t mean the minimalist journey has ended. What’s important is to keep moving, continue on, and pushing past the difficult stages.

Your Turn!

  • Look around the room, can you find five items you could live without?
  • What can you remove from your schedule to create time for a lifestyle change?
  1. Really helpful, Ryan, thank you! I’ve been living in my 225 sq. ft. TH for 4 years now and I’m noticing how I’ve filled it up with clutter already! Needed that inspiration!

  2. I’ve been making strides towards a minimalist lifestyle for about 12 years now, a bit at a time. Honestly, I’m glad I’m going about it slowly. The capsule wardrobe/uniform wardrobe has made life so much easier. The toughest part is the holidays when I “have” to buy loads of gifts for others(or risk getting ostracized by loved ones) and I have to deal with the things others who love me get in a demonstration of their love and appreciation of me. I’ve made so much progress, however, and I’m happy with my progress so far.

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