When I was a kid, I did not like clutter and I didn’t like having a lot of things around me. I preferred a lot of open space.
Part of it was due to my claustrophobia but I was also unknowingly being a sort of minimalist.
As an adult, I haven’t changed much but now encompass a largely minimalist life because I find it freeing.
It makes you feel light mentally and emotionally so you can be a happier and more productive person.
What Does Being a Minimalist Mean?
No. It’s not some new-age-salt-of-the-earth-let’s-walk-around-without-shoes fad. Minimalism means living a simple, clutter-free life.
It means letting go of the need to own things and possess things that add no value to your life.
Minimalism is deliberately and intentionally living a life where you are happy with and by yourself; where you don’t need things to be happy.
Minimalism is focus.
Minimalism is discipline.
Minimalism is freedom.
Sounds terrifying? I promise you it really isn’t. You don’t have to shave your head. You don’t have to throw away everything you own.
Once you understand what it means to be a minimalist and start replicating these tenets within your life, one of the things you’ll ask yourself is, “Why on earth did it take me so long to start doing this?”
7 Benefits of Becoming a Minimalist
1. Lightness of Being
When you have less, you feel light mentally and emotionally. You will be able to think and create better.
2. More Money in Your Pocket
You spend way less money than you used to. If you’re paying off debt, becoming a minimalist will help you get to your debt-free goal faster.
3. Perks for the Environment
Minimalism means you own less stuff. Owning less stuff is great for the environment. You reduce your carbon footprint and lessen overconsumption.
4. You Stop Caring About the Joneses
When you truly imbibe the tenets of owning less within you, you’ll find you don’t give a rat’s ass about keeping up with the Joneses.
5. Aesthetic Pleasure
A minimalist living environment is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. A minimalist home filled only with things that matter will become a nurturing space to you.
6. Bigger Living Space
There’s more space to move around your apartment and/or house. You may find you are even able to downsize to a smaller house or apartment thus saving more money in the process.
7. Clarity on What’s Important
You will begin to gain clarity on what’s really important to you and create space in your life for it. It becomes more than just minimalism.
Everything you fill your home with will begin to take on more meaning and value.
Are you ready to give the minimalist lifestyle a shot?
How to Become a Minimalist
1. Start with a Flip Chart
Grab a flip chart or a large notebook. Write down all the things you think are cluttering up your life. Too many clothes? Shoes? Knick-knacks around the house?
2. Pick a Declutter Day
Set aside a day over the weekend to start gathering up all the things that you know you don’t need. What do you do with them? Donate or sell them if you want but they have to go.
3. Don’t Start on the Extreme Side
Don’t try to become some sort of extreme minimalist off the bat. That could backfire. Start slowly with a few things at a time.
4. Keep Track of Your Activities
Catalogue how you spend your time in a day or a week. How much time do you spend on mindless things? Social media? Watching TV? Engaging with your smartphone? Slowly start scaling back on those activities.
5. Eliminate Negative Energy
Are there any energy vampires in your life? These are toxic people that suck all the positive energy out of you. Start spending less time with them and eventually phase them out of your life.
6. Simplify Your Kitchen
Practice simple meal planning. What does this mean? When a meal starts having too many components, steps, and processes, it can lead to clutter in your kitchen.
Don’t stop at the list above. Anything you can change within your life that will help you to live more with fewer things is part of the journey to becoming a minimalist.
6 Ways I Practice the Minimalist Lifestyle
- I live in a studio apartment. When I became self-employed, I considered moving to a 1 bedroom when I was setting up my home office but in the end, I was able to fit it in quite nicely in my studio. It’s the right size and I don’t feel the need to have a bigger apartment because I can afford it.
- I’ve driven the same car for the last 10 years. It’s well serviced. It works fine and it takes me from point A to point B, which is really all I’m looking for in a car.
- I un-clutter once or twice a year. Read How to Declutter Your Home and Life Fast.
- I live consciously. It’s important to me to make sure I spend my time doing things that mean something to me. When I’m wasting time, my brain sets off some sort of alarm. This skill came about after years of mental training and discipline. It’s part of the 5 pillars discussed in Take Control of Your Financial Independence Bundle.
- I don’t measure my life or success against anyone else’s. My journey is mine to travel and if it satisfies the goals I’ve set for myself, I’m good.
- I don’t replace anything unless I have squeezed every last bit of usefulness out of it. For example, if a pair of shoes I wear for work doesn’t fall apart, I don’t buy another pair.
There are various levels of being a minimalist and there are some extremes to it but the bottom line is being happy and being able to live on less.
That’s all there is to it. Now, go start with 1 thing and build up from there.
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