8 Ways to Embrace a Minimalist Lifestyle
While living with less stuff is admirable, it can also be a bit scary. Here are eight simple, doable tasks to set you on the path to minimalism.
To begin, understand that minimalism looks different to different people. For some, it’s living with as little as possible. But for others, it’s simply making less of an impact on the earth. Regardless, the ultimate goal is to cut back on the clutter and let go of excess so that we find more freedom in our lives.
The most obvious part of living a minimalist lifestyle is to get rid of your surplus stuff. To do this, set aside time to go through your home and get rid of things you don’t need anymore. A few months later, do it again. As you start to enter into the minimalist mindset, you’ll actually find that you need fewer possessions. So, continue purging unnecessary items as you find them. Keep a donation box in your garage or laundry room to hold these items. Once it’s full, drop it off at a local charity or thrift store.
Now that you’ve done a major decluttering, it’s time to stop the flow of excess into your home. When out shopping, ask yourself if you really need the item in question before buying it. Taking it even further, unsubscribe and unfollow stores that will tempt you with sales or new releases. Instead of shopping, opt for experience-driven outings like bike rides, seeing a movie, or grabbing a cup of coffee. Above all, be mindful of online shopping, since it’s so easy to click and buy things.
Give Everything a Home
Once you’ve purged all your excess items, it’s time to find a spot for everything you chose to keep. It’s much easier to maintain a minimalist household when everyone understands what belongs where. You’re also less likely to bring in new items if you know they must have a home.
An easy way to cut back on possessions is to get rid of any multiples you might have. For instance, you most likely don’t need 15 throw blankets, eight pairs of scissors or 10 reusable water bottles. Try cutting your multiples down to singles, or one per family member.
Get to Know Your Local Library
Instead of buying every hot new book that catches your eye, head to the library and borrow it. Not only will this save you major money, it’ll save loads of space on your bookshelves. For the books you already own, go through them and keep only the titles that are important to you. As for your next great read, find it at the library where the book comes home and goes right back out when you’re done.
Someday is Now
Whatever you’re holding on to for someday — those leftover party supplies, your special occasion shoes that never get worn, your French dictionary from high school — it’s time to let them go. “Someday, I might need this…” is a phrase that translates into clutter. It ensures your home is always full of stuff you’ll most likely never use. If you find yourself using that phrase about something, go ahead and get rid of it.
Reduce Your Wardrobe
Begin your closet cleanout by donating any clothing you haven’t worn in the last six months. After that, go through your closet again at the end of each season and get rid of the pieces you didn’t wear.
Another option is to create what is called a capsule wardrobe, made up of basic pieces that look good on you, make you happy, and never go out of style. For the more disciplined, this is the best option. It not only adds a lot of room back into your closet, but also relieves your mental stress when getting dressed in the morning.
Phase Out Gadgets
For every kitchen task, there is a specialty gadget. While they promise to make dinner prep easier, most of the time all they do is take up space. In actuality, all you really need to tackle most kitchen jobs is a good set of knives and a few handy tools. If you’re uncomfortable getting rid of your avocado slicer or strawberry corer, try putting them in a box in your pantry for a month or two. If at the end of that time you haven’t missed it, the time has come to say goodbye.