- Great times, an ever-growing economy, the more an more advanced world, amazing technologies – all of this is great…but also has a dark side – consumerism.
- As people tend to look for better life quality, they discover new lifestyles. Consumerism habits have influenced us to crowd our homes with unnecessary stuff like crazy! Therefore, at some point, we understand that we gotta change something.
- Minimalism is like the opposite of consumerism. It is a lifestyle that fights consumerism by sending a message – life is better with less material stuff – let’s get rid of it!
- Below you’ll learn what is minimalism, how to become a minimalist, and how does the minimalistic lifestyle looks like.
Widespread consumerism, the surplus of items, an ever-growing number of different choices – these are the main reasons for the headache people living in the XXIst century suffer from.
What should we eat for dinner – Chinese, Italian, or maybe Mexican food? Which black dress of the 20 black dresses I have should I wear today? Where should I put the 5th water bottle I bought because of the 50% discount (how could you resist when the price is so low?) And how should I decide what to pack in my bag for a 2-day trip when I have so much stuff?
If any of these questions above sounds familiar to you – you should try to examine your current lifestyle and consider starting living minimalistically. In other words – learn to live with less.
WHAT IS MINIMALISM?
There are many opinions about what exactly minimalism is. For some people, minimalism is about the surplus of stuff, therefore they simply start getting rid of the items they don’t use. For other minimalists, it’s about space – they say you need a smaller space to create minimalism in life and in your home, therefore they move to a tiny apartment. ..and so on!
However, it is completely natural that opinions might differ among certain individuals. No matter which minimalism philosophy you choose to follow, the principle remains the same – being a minimalist is living with the things you really need and getting rid of those you don’t. That’s exactly why this way of living for each person has a different meaning – some people might start to feel less stress after simply getting rid of unnecessary stuff, and for others that might not be enough, so they move further and discover more ways to reorganize their life.
The biggest goal of minimalism is realizing that the purpose of life has nothing to do with having more material things – on the contrary, it’s about being grateful for what you already have, and about finding happiness in genuine experiences, feelings, and interactions with other people.
BEGIN LIVING A MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE
Now that you have finally made a decision to live a minimalistic life – it’s time to take some action!
The very first thing you need to make – is an examination of your lifestyle and your home. What are the main things that encouraged you to think of minimalist living? Is it that last time you couldn’t find any space to place your cup in a cupboard? Is it about the debts you receive every month for the TVs, the newest cell phones and there service you ordered because you saw some ad on TV? Or maybe standing by your wardrobe and thinking about what to wear has been driving you crazy for too long? The options and reasons are endless!
Where to start?
This part of the process might get really difficult and confusing, therefore we recommend you write everything down to make it easier for you to remember everything later and keep the track of what has to be done. It would be best if you would make at least two lists:
1) List of reasons – WHY you have decided to rearrange your life? This would perfectly work as a reminder of what is the purpose of all the changes. This list will be especially helpful at times when you start lacking motivation.
2) List of tasks- WHAT exactly has to be done to change your life and home. Here you should write down all the specific spheres and places you need to reorganize in order to break free from the life you currently live. For instance, you could assign yourself a job to declutter your wardrobe as one of your tasks.
TIP: don’t forget to mark the tasks that are done as COMPLETED – most importantly in bold capital letters (this is the most enjoyable part of the process that is also very inspiring and encourages you to keep going)
HOW DOES MINIMALIST LIVING LOOK LIKE?
LESS STUFF MORE SPACE
I’m telling you, after completing this step, you’ll feel start feeling free in a flash! It’s almost magical!
- Get rid of duplicates. Easy as it may sound – take a large box and start walking all over your apartment looking for the same items that you bought or received as a gift and put them all in a box so that no duplicate items would remain in your home. Important: you might get double thoughts about keeping the duplicates and storing them “for later” in your storage or under your bed. Please, don’t! It never works. It’s just your brains trying to trick you. Donate that stuff to the people that really need it. Believe me, you’ll forget about all those unnecessary things after a few days.
- Get rid of items you don’t use. At least longer than 1/2 – 1 year. I know it’s a very individual thing. Some things are seasonal and there is a reason you don’t use them. But come on, honestly, look at this clutter in your bookcase – do you really need all these souvenirs and little statues that are covered in dust for years? Don’tworry, your aunty not gonna find out that you have thrown her little gift away. She’ll probably gift you another souvenir next Christmas…Also, don’t forget to reorganize your kitchen (because you really don’t need 5 saucepans to make yourself some pancakes).
- Get rid of stuff that is depressing. Sometimes we keep certain things we have received as a gift from someone and we are afraid to throw them away because it’s just not ethical. If you struggle to throw away the stuff that doesn’t bring you joy only because of some kind of sentiments – think this way – by throwing such item, not only you throw away the item itself, but much more importantly – you throw away all the bad emotions, sadness and bad memories this item brings up to you. Therefore, there is no shame in doing things that make you free, happy, and helps you find peace!
- Get rid of the clothes you don’t wear. Yes! That’s probably the most common problem for all of the people – WHAT TO WEAR? The wardrobe is full of clothes and the doors hardly close but somehow we still don’t have what to wear…CRAZY! So, take the same box with the duplicates, and two extra, and start an honest investigation of your wardrobe. And by honest I mean that if you haven’t had a chance to wear that super extravagant red dress you bought on sale last year or that colorful tie you got for Christmas for the whole year now – say GOODBYE to them!
TIP: If you want to challenge yourself to see exactly what does it mean to live like a minimalist – try 30-day 33 items challenge! It means that you have to pick only 33 items from your wardrobe (clothes, socks, jewelry, accessories included), and to wear them and ONLY them for the whole month. You’ll be surprised how relieving and chaos-free it is to have only that small amount of clothes choices. Also, you’ll even learn to make some stylish combinations out of the clothes you picked, finally, you’ll understand that if you get some stains on your t-shirt it’s not a sign that you need to buy the new ones – simply WASH IT!
LESS BELONGINGS – MORE FINANCIAL FREEDOM
Another sensitive topic when rethinking your lifestyle is the financials.
We all catch ourselves rolling in the cycle of working, spending everything off, and working again…Sooner or later we start missing the point of all of this. How come other people have savings and I don’t? How should I start saving my money without giving up my holidays and quality food? And here comes the time for hard questions. Why hard? Because it questions your comfort zone – the most important zone in our lives!
Now, how many hours you spend watching TV? Is it even good for you? Wouldn’t it be better for you to read more books and reduce the hours you spend watching TV twice and sell those two other TVs leaving yourself with only one? Don’t you think that one TV would be really enough?
What about your cell phone? How many functions yo actually use that your cell phone provides you? Making the calls, browsing the internet, taking pictures…what else? Do you really need to buy the newest cell phone that costs maybe more than half of your monthly salary? Is your current cell phone don’t have the functions you actually use?
Okay, I know it’s hard to question the things that seemingly bring you a lot of joy. But that’s what minimalism is – it is an understanding that a new cell phone or another TV is only a temporary joy that fades away super fast and leaves you with emptiness inside your soul.
How to make a change?
- Take a pen and include some more tasks in your list: WHAT CONSUMES the majority of my money, what could I reduce and still live a decent life, WHAT DO I TRULY NEED, and what things I crave only because someone else has it, and that could actually save me a lot of money and consequently would give me an opportunity to have longer holidays with more peace and less stress?
- Once you do that list, you’ll notice how much money you spend on the things that you actually don’t need to live a fulfilled life. Then, start slowly removing those things from your home.
TIP: Slower shifts from one thing to others are much more recommended. Do not throw away all the things that have been bringing you joy for years at once! It could be very stressful and even make you give up. Start with one step at a time – try to remove one thing you’ve been living with for a long time for one month and see what happens. After that, expand the timeframe for a longer time. It can be your TV or some kind of kitchen equipment you got used to but that actually consumes your time and money.
LESS FOOD OPTIONS – MORE TIME ENJOYING YOUR MEAL
If any of the previous questions do not sound familiar to you, I bet that the question – what should I eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner today – definitely does!
It is mind-blowing how many different food options there are in the world right now. And I’m not even talking about the home-made meals. So, how can you not go crazy when trying to pick ONE meal?
What is the solution?
Believe it or not, but there is a way out of this madness. And that way is to live like a minimalist!
How does minimalist pick one meal option out of the millions? He simply doesn’t do that! He prefers to EAT SIMILAR MEALS every day and gets himself free from this overcrowded food and diet culture.
- Free yourself from this unnecessary stress – try to eat the same breakfast for a week or two, and only plan your lunch and dinners every week. For example, plan 2-3 dinner ideas for one week and rotate them throughout the week. Believe me, it’s not that hard! Even if you are a foodie person.
- Acknowledge the fact that food is just a food – it is a fuel you need to move forward through your life. Pick out the nutritious, healthy, and tasty products, and find some easy recipes to use them preparing your daily meals.
- You don’t need to eat the same plain chicken every day (don’t pretend that you don’t know that there are like 1 million different ways of cooking chicken)!
What is the outcome of eating like a minimalist? Only positive one – less stressful inner discussions of what to eat, what to cook and what to buy at the grocery store, instead – more inner peace, more time, more saved money, and even a much healthier lifestyle!
SOME EXTRA TIPS TO MAINTAIN MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE
Let me tell you that I’m extremely happy if you have managed to come to this point after this quite long article!
Here are the last few summarizing tips for you to remember to learn to live like a m i n i m a l i s t:
- Conscious buying. Before you buy anything, ask yourself one simple question – is this item is essential? Or would this item bring more true happiness in your home or more chaos?
- Classic style. When you come to the point of understanding that fewer clothes in your wardrobe mean less chaos – also think about your style in general. Why? Because it is much easier to maintain a minimalist lifestyle if you prefer a classic style where the clothes are timeless and don’t go out of fashion very fast.
- Quality over quantity. It applies both to your clothes and any other household items, like bedding or furniture. Invest in natural fabrics that have a much higher quality and therefore last much longer., and choose a little more expensive equipment if it’s really worth it. This way, you won’t need to go shopping that frequently and bring more mess to your home and your life.
- Periodical re-evaluation. Minimalist living is a journey, not a thing you achieve once and it remains forever. Therefore, you need to learn some specific habits in order to keep living such a life. Therefore, focus not only on your home but also on your mindset. You don’t need to wait up until the doors of your closest don’t close again – review your surroundings at least once a month to see if old habits do not come back.