Minimalist Lifestyle: creates room Mentally and Physically
Minimalism is being content with less material belongings because you understand what you really need and want, and you value what each item you own does for you. A minimalist way of life will add a great deal of value to your life. For starters, it allows you to recognise things that you already spend your money on but could do without, allowing you to be far more financially secure. Second, being a minimalist completely changes how you live your life. It focuses on the things you care about and your happiness.
1) BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR REASONS
Know why you want to become a minimalist and pursue this lifestyle.
Is it because you have too many things, and not enough space?
Are you spending more than you earn on a regular basis?
Are you in debt and struggling to climb out?
Do you feel constantly stressed because of the cluttered environment around you?
Whatever your reasons, perhaps try writing them down to keep you accountable. If one day you feel yourself slipping back into old habits, look at what you wrote to remind yourself why you want to make a change.
Personally, I love having my own planner so I can jot down my ideas, goals and reasons for making changes in my lifestyle. There’s something so much more personal about putting pen to paper in these circumstances.
2) DECLUTTER ONE ZONE AT A TIME
Attempting to declutter your entire home in one go is likely to be far too much hassle for now. I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing it the way I did!
Instead, nominate one room to be your clutter-free zone. That could be your bedroom, your living room, your garage – any room you feel could benefit from de-cluttering the most.
Set aside a weekend to really focus on making this room your total clutter-free zone – check out my guide to decluttering for some tips and advice! Having one room cleared out is also a great way to test whether you really want to become a minimalist and how much having a clutter-free space benefits you.
3) DEAL WITH YOUR WORST AREA FIRST
My worst area was my wardrobe (it still is!). I had piles and piles of clothes that never looked tidy, and I probably wore about 30% of my entire wardrobe on a weekly basis.
Even when I regularly sold items on eBay or donated them, I still couldn’t seem to cut down on the number of clothes I had!
Packing up for a trip around the world definitely changed that. I cut down my entire wardrobe to fit inside a backpack (plus a few winter items that I stored with my parents). It was liberating.
Your worst area could be your wardrobe too, or it could be completely different. You could have a penchant for stocking up on way too much food each week. It could be a garage crammed with sports equipment and camping gear.
Find your crux, and address it now. You don’t have to eliminate everything you enjoy, but if you find there is one thing taking up more space and money than perhaps is smart, deal with it first. The rest will seem easy in comparison.
4) LEARN HOW TO TRAVEL LIGHTLY
Rather than travelling with an enormous backpack that had to be checked-in for every flight, I travelled with a carry-on size rucksack.
a) It made travelling so much easier! If any of you have ever backpacked before, you’ll know the struggle of long, sweaty walks to your accommodation with 20kgs strapped to your back, not to mention getting in everyone’s way at airports and train stations!
b) It helped me keep accountable for the items I had. If I had a huge backpack to take with me, I definitely would have filled it up with useless items adding nothing but weight. Having a small carry-on (30litres) made sure I only packed things I really needed or really loved.
I talk a lot more about minimalist travel and exactly what I packed here if you’re interested in learning more.
Learn how to travel lightly not only makes travel far more convenient, but it also shows you how much you can really live without.
5) SIMPLIFY YOUR MEALS
So many people end up with an over-packed fridge and throw out food every week simply because they didn’t get a chance to eat it.
By simplifying your meals, you’ll save money by cutting down on the number of ingredients you buy, but you’ll also find it’s a lot less stressful than trying to plan a new recipe every single day. Being a minimalist with your meals doesn’t mean you have to eat the same meals day in, day out: it just means being more aware of what you’re buying (and cooking), and perhaps adjusting those habits to keep things more simple.
My guide to meal prep has a lot of useful tips for being more frugal with your approach to food and cooking.
6) CLEAR YOUR MENTAL CLUTTER
My yoga practice has been instrumental in my journey towards a minimalist lifestyle.
Having practised since I was 16, I was actually so surprised that I’d never made the connection between a clear and uncluttered mind and a clean, clutter-free physical environment. The two go hand in hand.
If yoga isn’t your thing, however, then don’t fret. Clearing your mental clutter is all about finding the thing that gives you headspace and a way of re-setting your day. If you want to know how to be a minimalist, in my opinion, one of the most important things to do is to look inwards just as much as you address what’s around you.
7) SET A SAVINGS GOAL
Having a security blanket of savings makes everything so much more simple. Being a minimalist isn’t easy when you’re stressing about debt repayments and not having enough to cover emergencies.
Set yourself a goal to save a certain amount of money each month. That could be an extra $50, or an extra $500 – whatever works for your circumstances. Getting better at managing your money is an essential part of being a minimalist, and a skill everyone should be consciously trying to improve.
8) FOLLOW THE ONE-WEEK RULE
Once you’ve decluttered your home, your next obstacle is making a habit and avoiding re-introducing more stuff into your life.
One of my best tips to create this habit is to follow what I like to call ‘the one-week rule’. This is where if I’ve been shopping online or thinking about buying something that’s not essential, I’ll close my browser and wait about a week.
If after a week I still really want that thing, I’ll buy it. However, more often than not, a week goes by and I completely forget about that impulsive moment! This is a super simple but really effective way to cut down on your spending and save your money for things that will really add value to your life.