It’s probably not a stretch to say that you have a lot of stuff you don’t need. Even if you try to stay on top of clutter and you’re pretty good at keeping everything neat and tidy, you could stand to scale it back a bit – everyone could. But we’ve all become so used to accumulating things and using them as a measure of our success, that getting rid of all that seems like a step backward. Yet, minimalists have found a way to do just that.
The minimalism lifestyle has been gaining steam for the last few years and it seems to be reaching a point where most people at least know about it. Why? Because it’s kind of fascinating to see how people who live in tiny houses manage to make the most of every single inch of space or how freeing it is to choose to live with less.
There are plenty of books on minimalism if you’re interested in reading up on it, but some of the best ones include The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Maria Kondo, Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Millburn, The Joy of Less by Francine Jay and Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. All four present the pros of living a life less complicated by things and more full of experiences. Or you could just watch the documentary on Netflix!
You might not want to go to extremes to become a true minimalist, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some minimalist principles you can’t apply to your life to some extent. It’s all about balance. Here are a few ways you can incorporate minimalism into your life without giving up everything you own.
Throwing away or donating everything you own in one day isn’t likely to be a great idea. Instead, you have to start with one area of your home, like your kitchen for example. Do you have a bunch of old dishes that you never use but you’re keeping on hand “just in case”? Maybe it’s time to donate them. Just because it’s not useful to you anymore doesn’t mean someone else won’t value it.
Impulsively throwing everything away isn’t a true solution to your clutter problem. You have to be thoughtful and intentional about what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of, or else you won’t be breaking any bad habits and you’ll just replace it all with new stuff. To get started, try the 30 Day Minimalism Game
Pinpoint the things that make you happy
Being a minimalist isn’t about only having things that are absolutely essential. You can and should have a few things that genuinely make you happy even if they aren’t necessarily practical. If you love to read, it’s okay to have a book collection. If music is your passion, don’t get rid of your record player and guitar just because you don’t use them every day. You’re should have possessions that truly represent who you are as long as they bring you happiness. The key is to know exactly what makes you happy so that you’re comfortable with letting everything else go.
Pare down your wardrobe
If you looked at your wardrobe honestly, what percentage of the clothing you own would you say you have worn in the last 3 months? What about the last 6 months, or the last year? If you have things that never wear, why are you keeping them? It’s another example of hoarding things “just in case” you might need them one day. But the thing is, you aren’t going to wear that black dress again because you either don’t love it anymore or it doesn’t fit, which is why you’ve only worn it once anyway.
It might sound ironic, but the fewer clothes you have, the less time you’ll spend complaining that you have nothing to wear. Keep your wardrobe simple and you’ll never have a problem putting an outfit together, last minute or not.
Take a look at your spending habits
What you spend money on is a good indicator of what you consider “necessities”. Do you go out to eat a lot? Are you a compulsive shopper who buys things that are on sale even if you don’t need them? Do you stick to a budget, or just spend and hope for the best? Minimize the uncertainty in your spending and you’ll end up with fewer random purchases that you don’t actually need. If you find that you often buy things as a way to cheer yourself up, it might be time to find a new way to reduce stress.
Could you be a minimalist? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!