You’ve heard about downsizing and becoming minimalist a countless number of times.
You know you want to try it out to see if it’s a lifestyle that truly works for you.
But first, what exactly is minimalism?
Listen to Justin address this topic on Episode 920 of Optimal Living Daily.
According to Joshua Becker, the founder of Becoming Minimalist:
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”
The key word is being “intentional” about the process.
Minimalism isn’t about downsizing to the smallest house you can live in, or competing with your friends and family (or online strangers!) about who has the least amount of stuff. Minimalism isn’t about forgoing every single item in your life either.
Rather, it’s about embracing the concept of living with less. When there’s less clutter, you’re able to spend more time and energy on meaningful activities which enhance your quality of life.
It’s about creating space for what’s important in your life, so that you’re fulfilled by what you value.
Seeking easy ways to begin? Join our free 5-day email course to start minimizing today.
Beginning Your Minimalist Journey
1. Define the WHAT
Meet Madeleine Olivia, a blogger who’s committed to simple and sustainable living.
In this video, she shares her top tips for getting started with minimalism.
Madeleine also defines what being a minimalist means to her. It has helped her to:
- become more aware of what she has in her life
- make more conscious decisions to keep things that are important
- ask herself what is “necessary” versus what is “superfluous”
“Once you’re able to answer what’s necessary,” she says, “you’re one step closer to becoming a minimalist and living a purpose-driven life.”
Madeleine’s first tip — to “take it easy” — is especially vital to keep in mind for minimalism newbies! It’s a gradual transformation and that’s okay. You want the changes to be lasting and not simply a short-term result from a random weekend project.
Remember that defining what minimalism means will help you discover how to incorporate it into your daily life.
2. Define the WHY
The next question to ask yourself is why you’re interested in minimalism.
Is your work desk always messy? Do you have to waste minutes or hours of your life searching for items?
To quote Dave Ramsey, do you suffer from “stuffitis?” It’s a condition where you’re unable to live without buying more and more stuff.
Madeleine Olivia mentions that decluttering helps her to save money and reduce her overall consumption. “It’s made me more environmentally aware of my impact on this planet.”
Through decluttering her wardrobe, she realized that she had an unhealthy addiction with fashion and beauty. “Shopping and clothing and all those things sold to me didn't make me happy,” she says. “Minimizing encouraged me to start on the journey of self-care and self-love to let go of disordered habits and thoughts that I had, to take time to take care of myself and do what's right for me.”
Wanting to get your family on board with minimalism may also be a big reason.
A house doesn’t clean itself, and maintaining a neat and tidy home doesn’t come about magically (unless you’re Mary Poppins). If you can encourage or inspire your family to view upkeeping an organized home environment as a team effort, you’ve won a big part of the battle to conquer clutter.
3. Define the WHERE
Once you’ve defined why you want to begin your minimalism journey, the next step is to decide on a specific area you’d like to focus on.
Take a moment to review your life. It may be the messy areas of your home that are causing you the most amount of stress. It could be a makeup or magazine collection that you just can’t seem to downsize. Or it could be a feeling that you don’t have your spending under control.
Slow down and consider the things that have been grating on your nerves. Examples of situations that need simplifying include:
- your wardrobe
- your home / daily living space
- your financial habits (if you’re frustrated with over-spending)
- your digital space (if you’re constantly stressed by emails or endless social media scrolling)
- your work space (is a toxic colleague or a lack of work life balance getting you down?)
- your emotional self (emotional baggage weighs you down and has got to go)
- your diet (could you reduce your intake of soda and junk food?)
Focusing on things one step at a time will keep you from feeling like you’ve taken on too big of a task with your minimalist ambitions.
Starting a bullet journal is a fun way to stay organized. The bullet journal was created by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer and author living in Brooklyn, NY.
Kat from Zen of Planning has a lovely series on how to get started with bullet journaling.
Use the bullet journal to keep track of what you’re decluttering. After all, writing down your goals helps you to succeed in achieving those goals!
You’ll gain more momentum and confidence once you see the tangible results of simplifying your life.
As for “when” to get started, the best time to begin — as with any project — is now!
Remember that your decluttering journey isn’t a competition.
Jennifer of Simply + Fiercely sums it up well:
“When you finally get to the point where you “get” minimalism—it’s easy to start judging people who aren’t minimalists. Sometimes this isn’t intentional; you’re just excited about how your life has changed! Still, being judgemental is unkind and unproductive.”
It’s a personal journey for everyone, and everyone will be coming from a different background with a different set of habits and intentions.
If you’d like a step-by-step guide on how to get started, our 5-day ecourse has been designed for you.
Our mini ecourse contains:
- Daily emails with quick, easy tasks for you to complete
- Access to our community Facebook group
- A checklist to get organized before you begin
The best thing about the course is realizing that you’re not alone on your decluttering journey 🙂