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HOW TO GET STARTED WITH YOUR MINIMALIST JOURNEY
I have talked a lot about what minimalism is and the tremendous benefits of simple living, but now it’s time to get serious!
For those who are thinking about simplifying their life and want to adapt to the minimalistic principles, I want to congratulate you! You are in the right spot, and you’ll soon see why.
You surely have a lot of questions like: Where do I begin? What steps does it involve? How long will it take? Will I be happy then? All legit questions that will get answered shortly.
Are you ready to free up your valuable time, save a significant amount of money, decrease your stress levels and sleep better, and live with a smaller footprint by reducing your waste output?
Are you ready to improve your overall quality of life massively? I want minimalism to become mainstream and make the path to it as accessible as possible to everybody.
In this post, I will share with you the most valuable tips to start your minimalist journey!
➜ BEST BOOKS ABOUT MINIMALISM
The More of Less – Joshua Becker from “Becoming Minimimalist”
Everything that remains – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus
The Power of Less – Leo Babauta from Zen Habits
Soulful Simplicity – Courtney Carver from “Be more with Less”
Essentialism – Greg McKeown
WHAT EXACTLY IS MINIMALISM?
Minimalism is a conscious choice to live with less to make room for more. It is a philosophy that focuses on living a more intentional life with having less physical, mental, and digital clutter.
It’s identifying the essentials and letting go of the rest. It teaches us to own things that serve a purpose and add value to our lives.
The result is fewer distractions, stress, and waste and more time, energy, money, and freedom to do whatever you want.
THE CORE PRINCIPLES OF MINIMALISM
1. Minimalism is the intentional and deliberate use of our resources.
2. Minimalism is about being intentional with the people we bring and keep in our lives, with our creativity and how we spend our time and money.
3. Minimalism is about using the time to create rather than to consume.
4. It’s about surrounding ourselves with the ones who share our values, not just our proximity.
5. What it’s not about is owning nothing, like it’s often propagated in the media, but letting go of un-needed things that clutter your life.
THE KEY BENEFITS OF MINIMALISM
1. Less clutter
Less things in our life results in a tidy and organized home that is easy to clean.
2. More time
Reducing stuff in our homes and schedules results in getting more of our most valuable resource, time.
3. More money
Spending less means saving more money for more financial freedom.
4. Less stress
Minimalism relieves tension and implements better physical and mental health.
5. You learn to appreciate life
You stop wanting more and valuing more what you already have.
6. Higher productivity
Less overall distractions allows you to focus on what is more important.
7. Personal growth & development
You learn to value and optimize life and grow as a personality along the journey.
8. You protect the environment
Minimalism reduces your waste output and let you live with a smaller carbon footprint.
9. More happiness & contentment
Being content with what is already around, you increase the ability to find more happiness, joy, and satisfaction.
10. More freedom
By following the principles of minimalism, you live a more independent and fulfilling life by your own rules.
Alright, now that we have summarized the core principles and the key benefits of living minimally, it’s time to get serious and actually start!
Minimalism is available to all who choose to accept it. You will realize that our lives are too valuable to waste chasing and accumulating material possessions.
So please accept my invitation to a better living with minimalism and follow this simple guide for beginners.
MY SIMPLE GUIDE TO GET STARTED WITH MINIMALISM
Keep in mind that there is no rulebook for minimalism. Everybody has a different approach to simplifying life.
Some minimalists have children, some live in tiny houses, some don’t count their stuff, and others live with just 50 items and travel the world. So remember that a lot of minimalists live in different ways, which is totally cool.
You should not rush into it or feel forced to live minimally, but most importantly, you’ve got to believe that it is possible to live with less and simply begin. So here we go!
1. ASK YOURSELF WHY YOU WANT TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
Before you even start trashing your excess stuff, ask yourself why you want to do it and what you want to achieve with simplifying your life. Is it to gain more freedom, time, and money? Or to unlock all your potential by diminishing useless distractions?
Whatever it is, having a picture of what you want to achieve will make it easier to stay on track.
It’s essential to keep in mind that minimalism is a journey, a process. And on this journey, you will experience an exponential growth of happiness, freedom, and fulfillment.
If your why is to live a more mindful, meaningful, freeing, and more environmental-friendly life by focusing on what matters most, then minimalism is the road to go.
My intention at first was to reduce stress and build healthy money habits. I wanted to decrease the noise in my life and be more financially free. Those were my whys.
Once you have figured out your whys, focus on them, and continually pursue them. I realized that money is very significant, and seeing it grow instead of vanish while I was on my minimalist journey encouraged me to keep going and pursue other ways in my life of being more minimal.
So first, be very clear about your intentions and develop the right mindset to get started.
2. TAKE IT EASY AND GO SLOW
All good things take time! This also applies to minimalism. Don’t expect it to be an all-healing medicine that will solve all your problems by tomorrow.
The minimalist lifestyle may be a giant change in your life, and adjusting to it is going to take time. And that’s perfectly fine! Don’t stress yourself and make it a weekend project!
Everyone starts from a different point, and my journey is most probably different from yours. Pressure will only make it difficult, so enjoy the process instead.
Take your time and find a comfortable pace for you! There is no minimalist judge behind your back to punish you of being too slow. Just make sure that every step and every decision you make along the way aligns with your beliefs and values.
Don’t copy the same path as others. Be authentic, and make it your unique journey!
3. START DECLUTTERING
The next step is obvious but crucial. If you want to make space in your life, start decluttering your home. I won’t tell you where to start, because this is totally up to you.
Some start with the biggest room, some with the smallest. Maybe it’s easier to start with the least cluttered room so that you don’t get overwhelmed and miss out on the fun part of getting rid of junk.
The most important rule for decluttering is to ask yourself: do I need this thing, does it serve a purpose, and does it make me happy? If the answer is no, it’s good to go.
To make it even more fun, you can ask someone to join you. You are more likely to stick with your plan and have fun simultaneously when you can do it with a partner.
But as I said, take your time. No one is stressing you here! You’ll see that reducing your stuff is fun and freeing. You’ll ask yourself why you haven’t done it earlier. You can then gift, donate, or sell your excess stuff and trash the things that are broken or will no longer serve a purpose to you and anyone else.
Soon you will find yourself in a beautiful, tidy, and organized space that is easy to manage and clean!
Another aspect of life that often hold us back from being happy is mental clutter. We all have unnecessary thoughts that drain us, whether they are about the past, present, or the future.
And for some reason, most of us avoid dealing with them. We often struggle to let go of thoughts and find inner peace. Be more mindful of what thoughts you bring into your life and avoid getting trapped in a rabbit hole of negative thoughts.
How? First, analyze the thoughts and troubles that are pulling you down. Ask yourself: is it relevant now? Is that serious? Is it in my control? If the answer is no don‘t dwell on them and let go!
Secondly, change your circumstances. Remove yourself from persons and situations that negatively influence you. Start focussing on yourself now and concentrate on your goals and priorities.
The art of reaching goals is following your course until success.
Thirdly don’t fill up your calendar and schedule with too many tasks that you cannot complete properly and only stress you. Reduce them to few important ones.
Cut down activities you’ve been doing just for the sake of it. The fewer considerations and decisions you have to make in a day, the fewer useless thoughts will absorb your mind.
Most of us will agree that we spend too much time in front of our screens. And it is steadily becoming harder to stay away from them, notably due to social media.
But if you want to live a better life, you need to use your digital devices more deliberately. Use them to a scale that does not harm your happiness and contentment.
Related Article: 5 simple ways how to escape your smartphone addiction
4. FIND AND AVOID TRIGGERS
This is crucial if you want to live more minimal. If you are an avid shopper and know that every time you go to a shopping street, into a shopping mall, or browse through Amazon, you’ll most probably buy something, then simply avoid doing that.
Find and bypass the triggers that keep you accumulating unnecessary stuff. Stay away from the traps that can encourage you to fall back into that temptation. Plus, stay away from naysayers and people that don’t support you.
Instead, find new hobbies and hang out with like-minded people. It can be tricky if you live with others who have different goals but try to focus on your goals and explain to your loved ones why you’re doing what you do. They mostly will understand and support you.
5. APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE
Think about the time that was wasted in purchasing, cleaning, organizing, managing, and maintaining the stuff you have accumulated over the years.
All that energy wasted! Here is where your mindset starts to shift, and you appreciate your belongings more. If you can make your home a reflection of you with intentionally picked things that you need, use, and love, then that is a beautiful approach to minimalism.
Being content with what is already around you, you can use your resources more wisely.
6. STOP COMPARING
We are social beings, and we naturally tend to compare ourselves with others. We compare our behaviors, our jobs, and our possessions.
If we see our friends with new shiny stuff, we want it too. Most of us want what we don’t have and think that what others have will automatically make us content.
It has become a race where you win if you have more of everything. But it’s a race that nobody can win. There’s no end to it.
The only way to escape the comparison game is to make conscious decisions about what suits you.
Ask what you need and what makes you content. It is critical to focus on your life and forget the noise around you. You’ll see how empowering it is to know the difference between needs and wants.
It feels great to say no to consumerism. It feels great to have control over materialism and to realize that more things won’t make your life any better.
7. BE MINDFUL WITH BUYING NEW THINGS
Buying the right things is just as relevant as responsibly donating, selling, or gift-giving your excess stuff.
A great benefit of minimalism is owning more money you can now spend on quality and more ethical items that will last you longer. Shopping may now take longer, but how often did you feel bad after buying stuff impulsively?
Take your time and be very careful what you accept in your free space, and you will profit for years to come.
It also applies to giving and receiving gifts. While there’s nothing wrong about gift-giving, it can be a waste of money and your and other’s time if you just gift someone random things.
Try to find out if that someone could use the item you want to buy. And if someone wants to give you a gift, try to explain what would add value to your life.
8. CHOOSE EXPERIENCES OVER THINGS
We all know that things are just things and that true happiness comes from our interactions with each other and memorable experiences.
In John Strelecky’s book “The big Five for Life”, he illustrates a well-lived life by walking through a museum full of your enjoyable memories. Imagine that your whole life is show-casted in your museum. Wouldn’t you prefer seeing yourself on pictures or paintings having the best time of your life with memorable experiences?
Do you think it’s important to see yourself with the newest iPhone or the best car, or fashion clothes? It is in our hands what will be hanging on those walls once its time to leave for good.
Fill your life with memorable and enjoyable experiences instead of random things.
9. SPREAD THE WORD
As your life will change for the better, you will see more and more advantages of simple living. Be a good influence and show your friends and family what life looks like with less.
Return something positive to the world, contribute to a better living by spreading the word! Who knows, maybe you will change lives.
10. HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE PROCESS
Lastly, don’t forget to have fun! Chances are higher to stick to a plan when you are enjoying the process. You will face hurdles and uncomfortable times.
But if you prepare, take your time, and stay on track, there is no doubt that you will enjoy your minimalist journey, and you will get rewarded for your commitment.
I’m glad that you came this far. It shows that you are determined to start your minimalist journey and are willing to accept my invitation to a higher quality of life.
If you need any help in making it easier for you, let me know! Now you know why it is crucial to stop wasting your life. It’s simply too valuable!
I’ll leave you with this: minimalism means freedom, and there is no limit to what you can do in your life with the newfound space, time, and freedom.