Living minimally (Minimalism) is a trend that seems to be taking the world by storm and not going to go away anytime soon and for good reason. Not only is it budget friendly, but it’s a great way to keep things simple, clean, and organized too!
By learning how to live minimally it allows you to save money, time and focus on the things that are truly important, it helps you to put less emphasis on happiness provoked by material things.
In this post, we’ll talk about how to start living a minimalist lifestyle and tips for minimalist living. We share 18 top tips on how to become a minimalist and how easy it is to apply it to your life.
Living Minimally and Finding Balance in your life & Home
As life becomes overwhelmingly busy we find ourselves having less time to clean and organize our homes. A vicious cycle of earning and spending can quickly turn your home from humble abode to cluttered mess that leaves you almost paralyzed with anxiety as you walk through your front door. Once clutter gets on top of you and the longer you leave the mess there, it can become very difficult to know where to start and how to eliminate the disaster that has become your home.
I’m on a never-ending journey to keep my home organized and clean. I believe a tidy and organized home is necessary to allow you to function properly in your day to day life. If you do not have a place for everything and you allow clutter and mess to take over it can make you feel uncomfortable, can jeopardize your ability to concentrate and can send your stress levels through the roof. This can cause a feeling anxiousness, moodiness and can create conflict with those you love the most, the ones who live with you.
The following minimalist lifestyle tips will help you get started on your minimalist journey and I promise once you implement some of these ideas in your life, you’ll feel less weight on your shoulders.
So lets quickly talk about how to live minimally, what it all means and how it will impact your life and home.
What is a minimalist?
Firstly, let’s make one thing clear. Living a minimalist life does not mean you have to throw away every single item in your home and live in a clinical white room with only three items to your name.
By going minimalist you are letting go of things you have no use for that are cluttering your home and life and making you unhappy. You only keep the things that are essential to your life, your happiness, and your wellbeing.
How much you want to invest yourself into the minimalist life is ultimately up to you. You need to work out what makes you feel comfortable and how much you can and are willing to let go of.
How is all of this beneficial to me?
Ultimately the biggest benefit of living like a minimalist is happiness. By living in an environment that is clutter free and keeping your possessions to a minimum it frees your time and also lowers your stress levels allowing you to focus on more important things.
Favorite Books On How To Live Like A Minimalist
My absolute favorite book on how to live a minimalist life is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up. It’s a must read if you a good actionable guide on how to declutter and live minimally.
Minimalist Living Tips To Help You Find Happiness
The following minimalist living tips are a starting guide to minimalist living that will help start your journey to living a minimalist lifestyle.
If you’re just starting your journey I encourage you to take it slow, take your time and have fun. Apply one or two of these tips to your life at a time as they are all baby steps for minimalism for beginners. You do not want to feel overwhelmed.
1 – Purge
If you’re wondering how to declutter and live minimally but don’t know where to start then the first thing you need to do to help you live minimally is to purge and purge A LOT!
That means going through closets, drawers, and shelves to make sure you’re not holding on to anything that you don’t need. In order to create a minimalist home, you need to allow yourself to let go.
Part of this journey is to adapt to having minimalist belongings. Don’t hang on to clothes you aren’t regularly wearing (including stuff that might fit you in the future) and definitely get rid of shoes that are overly worn or not worn enough. The key to becoming minimalist is living with only what you truly require and regularly use.
If you have children the same principals apply to them. Only keep clothes and shoes they wear and be mindful of how many of each item they own. Each child does not need twelve pairs of shoes, be selective and invest in quality instead (more on that later on).
If you are keeping clothes for younger siblings pack them away in clearly labeled storage boxes and store them where they are not in your way.
2 – Reorganize
Once you have removed everything you don’t need from your home it’s time to reorganize everything. Find a home for every item you have kept and extra points if you label everything so it’s all very easy to find.
3 – Learn to live with less
Learning how to live a minimalist lifestyle means learning to live with less. It’s a process that you can slowly adapt to or take on and commit to from day one.
This can be very difficult. It seems that we have grown accustomed to living with more. It is in our nature to move into a home and fill it up with stuff, so reversing this mentality can be challenging. But it can be done.
The key is trying not to put so much emotional value on items.
4 – Fill a trash bag
One of my favorite minimalist ideas is this very simple one! Walk around your house on a regular basis and grab yourself a trash bag (I like to grab a BIG trash bag) then walk around your home and fill it with anything and everything you can find that is cluttering your space. You will be shocked how much you will find to throw out.
I do this once a fortnight and I find myself throwing out a lot of paper (newspapers, magazines, old bills, broken toys or anything kids bring into the house from outside of our home) it really is amazing how quickly you fill the bag and how much you do find.
5 – Take a photo instead
Collecting souvenirs, airplane tickets, train tickets, pamphlets and other bits and pieces can be part of the fun of traveling. But soon you are left with random items you don’t know what to do with.
Why not take a photo instead? The idea is to photograph the locations you travel to and if you love the ticket you purchased to see a theatre show, take a photo of it. Take a photo of all those little souvenirs to remind you of what they looked like and of that wonderful time in your life.
This is one of my favorite minimalist tips and tricks! One I had not thought of until I read about it. Not only will you have that memory and picture forever but you won’t have the bulk and hassle of trying to store all of those random items somewhere in your home.
6 – Choose quality over quantity
Minimalist living with less stuff can be a challenge at first but it is all about perception. Rather than purchasing a lot of cheap things for your home or cheap clothing to wear, invest good money and buy high-quality items that will last years and that you absolutely love.
A great resource I recently found to help minimize clothing and footwear is creating a Capsule Wardrobe. The concept of a capsule wardrobe is to buy only quality pieces that you absolutely love and make you feel great then get rid of the rest. Lisa Villaume from lisavillaume.com shows you exactly how to create a capsule wardrobe in this easy to follow tutorial.
7 – Think before you buy
This is one of those self-explanatory tips on becoming a minimalist that I feel I still have to quickly mention. Before making any purchase it is important to ask yourself why you have the impulse to buy this item.
Do I need it? Will it serve a purpose? Will it bring you joy? Will it clutter your home? Are you only wanting to buy it because it is on special?
Really ask yourself why and can you walk away without it?
Impulse buying is a HUGE money waster. We’re all guilty of it and by questioning why you want to buy something it’s a great self-control exercise to help you learn how to live like a minimalist and avoid overspending.
8 – Decorate with only items that bring you joy
There is no need to own absolutely nothing. Learning how to start minimalism is learning to become selective with what you bring into and keep in your home. It’s important to question every item and why.
Another way of adapting quality over quantity is to only decorate with items that bring you joy and that you love. Keep it simple. Always remember less is definitely more!
9 – Take the 12 – 12 – 12 challenge
Another one of my favorite minimalist tips is taking the 12-12-12 challenge. This article on Joshua Becker’s blog Becoming Minimalist shares the idea of playing the 12-12-12 game to help you downsize and reorganize. The idea is to choose 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate and 12 items to put back to their proper home or properly store.
The 12-12-12 challenge is a fun minimalist organization activity you can do with the whole family and instantly each family member finds 36 items to organize. That’s a whole lot of things to get rid of and reorganize!
10 – Toys, Toys and More Toys
Minimalist living with kids and becoming a minimalist family isn’t always easy but the biggest reminder you need to give yourself is that children really do not need much and it is our choice as adults to shower them with a lot of toys and things.
If you have children you will very much understand how quickly your kid’s toy collection can build up. Even if you don’t buy them a lot, toys seem to quickly sneak into your home from birthday parties, special occasions and holidays.
Have more than one child? This means even more toy clutter.
By cutting back on the number of toys you have and becoming very selective with the toys you purchase and keep you can help to minimize the amount of effort and times it takes to keep on top of the toy situation in your home.
A great way to keep on top of those messy toys is to select a few storage baskets where the toys will live and make sure once they start to overflow you cull anything broken or not played with.
Children struggle to focus when they have too many options. It’s important to keep it simple and have a system in place for their toys. A toy rotation system is also a great idea if you have space to store boxes of toys. Every few weeks rotate the toys around so that your kids play with all of their toys and you keep the toys in the living space to a minimum.
NOTE: As much as you may be excited about living a minimalist lifestyle, please be mindful and respectful of your child/children. The toys they already have are theirs and it is not fair to take them away. See what they don’t pay attention to and pack those toys away. If they don’t ask for them for more than 3 months, then get rid of them. You can also get your children involved in the process of letting go. Help get them excited to sell or donate toys they no longer have a use for.
11 – Declutter Your Mind
Adapting to a simple minimalist lifestyle can bring so many positive benefits to your life. The benefits of decluttering your home are immense but did you ever considering decluttering your mind? Allow yourself to take time out every single day. A great way to help you declutter your way is yoga and meditation. You don’t need to go far to do this. taking 5-10 minutes a day to practice some yoga, simple breathing exercises or relaxing meditation will make all the difference.
12 – Try the four-Container method
Have you heard of the four-container method? It’s a very simple organizing system that helps sort through the clutter. Grab 4 boxes or containers. Each box has a different purpose. One for items you want to keep, one for items that need to be thrown, one for items you want to donate and one for items you need to store away.
Chose one room or space to start with and focus on all of the items in that room. Please items in each container until you know where every single item will go. Get rid of the throwaway and donate containers. Immediately store away the items in the store away container and reorganize the keep container.
You don’t have to conquer an entire room, you can start with small areas also, like the pantry, linen closet or a wardrobe. It’s a fun exercise to find a place for every single item. This is definitely another one of my favorite minimalist hacks. This article at The Spruce explains the four-container method in more detail.
13 – Sort out your inbox
Learning how to live a minimalist life isn’t just about getting rid of tangible items. It’s also about decluttering other aspects of your life such as anything that is unnecessarily stealing your time.
Have you ever opened your inbox and had 3256 unread emails sitting in your inbox and you know you’re never going to open all of those emails but you leave them there building up anyway?
Unsubscribe and delete! If you aren’t reading emails you’re subscribed to or if you’re finding you’re wasting too much time opening emails only to quickly delete them as they are wasting your time then unsubscribe. Delete that huge email buildup and start fresh. It may take you a few hours or organize but it will make you feel so much better once you have achieved this task.
14 – Go paperless
One of the biggest and most annoying forms of clutter is paper clutter! How many piles of paper do you have in your home waiting for you to sort out? How many letters and important documents have you lost or misplaced in these piles of clutter?
One of the steps to minimalism is reducing waste. Save some trees, help the environment and your sanity and go paperless. It’s very simple to learn how to organize your bills and reduce the paper clutter in your home.
The first and biggest step is to contact all of your utility companies and ask them to please send you all invoices and statements electronically then go from there.
15 – Declutter Your Calendar
As I mentioned above, joining the minimalist movement and adapting to this way of life isn’t just about getting rid of material things, it’s about all aspects of your life.
Decluttering your calendar means be selective and particular about how you use your time and who you invest your time into. Surround yourself with positive, loving people who bring out the best in you. Avoid wasting time with people whose company you don’t much enjoy and only commit to things you truly want to go to and that will bring you joy.
Yes, sometimes we have commitments that we are obligated to attend but for the most part be selective with how you spend your valuable time.
16 – Join a community
A fabulous way to learn more about the minimalist trend and how to start being a minimalist is to follow and interact with like-minded people. People that live the minimalist lifestyle every single day.
A great place to start is Facebook. If you type “minimalism” in the search bar, then search in groups you can find a lot of great groups to join that have thousands of people working towards the minimalist way of life. There are discussions on all sorts of questions, challenges, wins and plenty of tips to help you further delve into minimalism.
Follow some minimalist Instagrammers. Here are just a few inspiring accounts for you to check out:
theminimalist – These guys are huge in the minimalism world and their account is not only visually appealing but they share daily inspiration for a more meaningful, simplified and intentional way of life.
carleyscamera – This is a beautiful travel minimst account that will leave you dreaming. Definitely a must follow.
minimalmess – This account not only has stunning images of minimalist perfection but the beautiful lady behind this account shares her ongoing journey with minimalism.
Finally, if you want to truly delve deeper into the minimalist definition and how to apply it to your life then the documentary Minimalism is a must watch. You can watch it on Netflix and it is a great film about the important things in life.
17 – Be intentional
We’re almost at the end of this huge guide to minimalism! If you’ve made it this far you would have picked up some pretty great ideas to get you started.
Possibly the biggest tip on how to go minimalist is to be intentional. Have a purpose as to why you’re starting minimalism and why you want to live a simpler way of life. Be deliberate about your actions and intentions. Take action but do not overwhelm yourself.
If there is something you don’t love in your home and life get rid of it. Minimalist people live with intention and you need to only make room in your life for what brings you joy.
18 – Don’t get extreme!
The final piece of advice is don’t go extreme! Keep in mind that this is a journey, it can’t be achieved in one day. It takes time, patience and practice to learn to let go. It’s all baby steps. It’s ok to fail and even better to pick yourself back up and continue on.
I hope you enjoyed today’s rather long minimalist guide and it helps you on your own minimalist journey.
What inspires you to live minimally? Do you have some more tips for minimalist living you can share in comments? Share in the comments below!
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