Minimalism is gaining more attention as more people contemplate living a minimalist lifestyle that's uncomplicated, clutter-free, and financially stable.
While it's easier to be influenced by people living in luxury, living a minimalist lifestyle is an intentional decision you make.
But is it so hard?
It depends on how you approach minimalism. It's best to start slow and integrate minimalism how you see fit in your life.
In this article, I'll cover nine sustainable hacks you can make to gradually incorporate a minimalist lifestyle into your life.
Let's start with,
What is a Minimalist?
Minimalism is a way of living peacefully with less; a minimalist is a person who intentionally stops their selfishness.
A minimalist looks to adopt ways to keep things simple—this gives them a chance to focus on the essential items at the core.
They don't let themselves be distracted by fancy things around them, and their intentions are clear. They set goals, and their determination is flying high to live simply but with more valuable experiences.
But is it as easy as it sounds?
It might be a little challenging at the start. But once you start practicing minimalism and get the results in the form of physical, emotional, and financial ease, the motivation just raises its bar.
How to Adopt a Minimalist Lifestyle
When you plan to embark on the journey of a minimalist lifestyle, naturally, the first question to pop up in mind is, “How do I adopt a minimalist lifestyle?”
Below are several ways to slowly transition into a minimalist lifestyle:
1. Write Your Lifestyle Goals
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle is not something that's done in one day.
The truth is it will take time and many steps to get there. So it's better to start with a logical goal in your mind.
Once you write your lifestyle goals, you can then break down your plan into several big, medium, and small milestones based on the time and effort they would require.
Here's an example of how to break this down.
Let's assume your goal is to achieve minimalism by having a cleaner house.
One of your significant milestones could be to declutter all rooms, cupboards, and storage spaces of your house. Decluttering could take a little effort and time, and you can plan for it and allot a specific period to do this, like in a few months.
Similarly, one of your smaller milestones could be washing the dishes daily before going to bed.
When you break down a larger goal into micro-goals you build a clear path for not losing sight of your goals.
2. Evaluate Your Space
Once you have your goal set and milestones defined, you can start the actual work by evaluating the space around your house and determining what things are of substantial value to you.
In other words, have a keen observation at looking at all your possessions through a simplified lens.
Survey your house, your rooms, your belongings, your previous lifestyle, and all your habits that led to you stocking things up.
Do you have an overflowing closet?
Is it getting challenging for you to store things in an already packed space?
Does it take over five minutes to find the thing you look for in your kitchen?
If even one of these is right for you, you need to re-evaluate your space and conclude all the unnecessary things you own.
When you observe your space and things, you realize that most of the things you own have no real purpose in your life. They are not serving you but are consuming your space.
3. Declutter Unnecessary Items
After due evaluation, it's time to declutter unnecessary items that are of no specific use to you and only collect dust.
But how do you know what is necessary and what is not?
I like to advocate the 90/90 rule here.
Look at one thing you are confused with and ask yourself, if you've used this in the last 90 days. Will you use this thing in the coming 90 days? If the answer is “No” for both, you are good to let it go.
Most often, decluttering is an overwhelming process. Some things have no particular use to you but hold immense value and memories, and it becomes emotionally challenging to get rid of them.
The good news is, once you get started with the decluttering process, you'll fall in love with the organization it brings in your life.
Maybe just one drawer a day or a kitchen counter and slowly make your way up toward oversized closets and storerooms.
4. Commit to a Clutter-Free Zone
Like most people, you may have a place in your house where all the clutter ends up.
While this is not intentional, we all have a chair or a countertop or someplace in our entrance where we just put everything that needs sorting.
Your clutter thrives here.
Identify the places at your place that attract clutter and figure out how to make it a clutter-free zone.
Pick up each thing and put it in the place it belongs. If it does not have a home, evaluate if you need this thing or let it go.
Once you have made your clutter-free zones, it's time to commit to it.
Put extra effort and keeping the things where they belong instead of assuming a carefree attitude of, “I am just putting it here for now.”
With this attitude, all your clutter will return without you even realizing it, making you go through this exertion all over again!
5. Be Mindful with all Your Purchases
A minimalist lifestyle can be effortlessly easy or painfully tricky, depending upon how mindful you are with your purchases.
Often we succumb to highly captivating tags like “50% discount”, “Clearance sale, etc., and end up buying more things than we need and, sometimes, something we did not need at all.
Be a judge of your choices.
Before rushing into a sale, pause and ask yourself, “how will this thing help me?” “Am I buying it only out of impulse? Do I already have it back home?”
I know these are not fun questions to ask yourself when you are out shopping, but they will prevent you from adding more chaos to your life.
6. Seek High-Quality Items to Require Less
When you've decided you want to buy something, research the best quality products that will last longer.
Although high-quality items cost more initially, a high-quality item will save from repair costs in the long run.
It goes for everything, from your personal use items to furniture, electronics, cutlery, and even clothes.
Investing in high-quality items means having them for a longer time, which means having less clutter to deal with, eventually.
You can also make a list of all the stores selling high-quality items in the area or online, and those can become your go-to stores whenever a need arises.
We often think twice before buying a high-quality product because of the price we have to pay. But with Minimalism, so many other expenditures are off your back that you can make room in your wallet for expensive but high-quality items.
Use your best judgment to buy quality items. For example, if you can't afford 200-300 dollar shoes, opt for good-quality ones that cost a fraction of this. Don't buy into the hype that everything you buy should be the best.
7. Set Reminders to Declutter Space Often
To ensure that you declutter often and regularly, set reminders for yourself, preferably one for each month.
Setting reminders show your commitment towards leading a minimalist lifestyle and ensuring that whatever clutter has managed its way in your house can be trashed, given away, or stored.
You can also declutter your closet at the start of every season. It will ensure that you are not storing anything you did not use and keeping anything you probably would not wear in this new season.
Decluttering is a process that everyone should do at their own pace. Whether it's a week for you, a month, or even six months, the key is to be consistent at your own pace.
8. Learn to Be Grateful
Minimalist living is seeking happiness and peace in the simple pleasures of life, and one way to do this is by being grateful.
When you are grateful for all the little things, you own and see how they have added comfort, simplicity, and value to your life, your desire to gather more worldly possessions slowly dies.
Being grateful is a great way to end any day.
While laying in bed, think of how your day was and be thankful for all the things that brought you comfort and joy that day. I recommend you keep a gratitude journal to write down 1-3 things you're grateful for daily.
This doesn't have to be complicated and you don't need to buy a journal. You can use your phone's notepad app to write 1-3 things you're grateful for the moment you wake up.
Slowly you'll train yourself to be happier with less.
9. Detach Yourself From Your Belongings
The key to living and enjoying a minimalist lifestyle is to detach yourself from your belongings.
It is imperative to realize that true happiness lies in sincere relationships and thrilling experiences.
Fill your life with memorable experiences, relations, and moments that you no longer feel a need to rely on expensive belongings for joy and bliss.
We all have a favorite mug we like to have our coffee in or those pairs of jeans that fit us just right. Holding on to these items isn't a problem. However, let go of all other things that hold no emotional and practical value for you.
A life lived in simplicity is a life lived peacefully.
I'm confident that the minimalist lifestyle's curiosity does not end here for anyone who is head bound towards Minimalism.
So, let's shed light on some other questions you might have regarding this.
Be Happy Living a Minimalist Lifestyle
When you opt for a minimalist lifestyle, happiness naturally finds its way through your doors.
With fewer financial burdens and debts lingering on your backs, you enjoy the freedom of a financially stable life and can easily plan your next adventures.
With less clutter to consume your time and clear goals set in mind, you move ahead confidently, enjoying the journey of becoming more efficient and organized in life.
Most significantly, you can invest your time and energy in the relationships that matter to you. They become the ultimate source of joy and peace in life, with all its trials.
Having your priorities defined, you find pleasure in watching what you have dreamt for yourself becoming true.
How Can You Benefit From a Minimalist Lifestyle?
Apart from the fact that the Minimalist lifestyle brings simplicity and peace to your life, you can enjoy many other benefits.
Many people believe that the Minimalist lifestyle is a radical change, and they can never be minimalists.
But the good news is, it's not.
You can adopt Minimalism and still not be radical about it. Don't think of Minimalism as having bare white walls, sparse furniture with open cabinet tops, and a man in an expensive suit and a briefcase.
It is usually the picture we draw in our heads thinking of Minimalism.
However, this isn't true.
You can be minimalist and still own a hundred things, especially when you have a family. But the difference is that all those hundred things you own are helpful and add value to your life.
Hence, the eminent advantage of switching to Minimalism is giving importance to things that matter and free your mind and space from the things that are not contributing to your comfort, peace, and convenience.
With all the clutter gone, you have ample time to focus on yourself, your hobbies, and activities that bring you harmony. All the time spent cleaning the extra dishes, doing laundry, and doing additional household chores can now be used on reading, listening to your favorite podcasts, and even traveling.
Why a Minimalist Lifestyle is Bad if You're Broke
For people who earn only a small amount each month, the idea of making one-time high-quality, and expensive purchases would not be entirely workable. While it saves money in the long run, it is hard to pay at first and logically doesn't make sense.
You should prioritize food and other living essentials before investing in any high-quality items.
Another mantra with minimalism is to rely on experiences to elevate your quality of life. Instead of physical possessions, focus on traveling and doing outdoor activities.
But this is subjective and depends on how you define an “enriching experience” for yourself.
Choose to Become a Minimalist
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle won't be easy, but it will lead you to a happier life in the long run.
The key is to start slow.
You can not get rid of all the clutter, be mindful of your purchases, switch to high-quality items, and learn to detach yourself from your belongings all at once.
It is a slow process. Keep it gradual and enjoy the tiny victories along to make this change more sustainable.
Figure out what ways work out best for you. Your minimalist lifestyle can look the opposite of someone else's minimalist lifestyle, and it's okay.
You can begin by being partially minimalist instead of being a diehard minimalist and see how that works out for you.
Here are a few minimalist living examples that'll help inspire you
Meal delivery to avoid food waste (home chef)
If you have a large family and prepare big meals or your children waste a lot of food, you can use all the ingredients to prepare meals for deliveries. Home chef is becoming a successful small venture, especially in times of COVID.
Donate clothes you don't wear anymore
We all have clothes we don't wear anymore because they don't fit or you have worn them too much and simply want to buy new ones now. Simply donate these clothing items to anyone who will use them better than you.
It will make a lot of additional space for you and make you feel content.
Sell unused items that have been in your house for over six months
If you have things lying around the house that have not been of any use to you for the past six months, you might as well use them for some cash. Sell them and add the money to your savings.
Keep all surfaces clear in your home
If you vow to keep all your surfaces clean at all times, you will eventually never have to deal with clutter.
This is an extremely meticulous job but think of all the work you would not have to do later.
Meditate daily to practice gratefulness
Include meditation in your lifestyle to practice gratefulness and bring control and steadiness to your life. It will shift your perspective from the happiness of temporary good to higher purposes in life.
Buy recyclable materials
Either buy recyclable materials or recycle the materials already present in your house and use them for other purposes. Either way, you are helping with clutter management.
Minimalist Lifestyle Blogs
If you need constant encouragement and new ideas to apply in your journey with minimalism, I'd highly recommend following some Minimalist lifestyle blogs.
Be More With Less
She is known for her famous Project333, the minimalist fashion challenge that will alter your closet and life.
Black Minimalists is another influential platform, particularly for the Black people struggling to declutter their family, work, spiritual and emotional life.
It calls upon Black minimalists to share their stories and get inspired by others. It is like a safe place they have created for themselves to connect, empathize and grow together and you can be a part of this fantastic community if you are Black and trying your luck with minimalism.
Reading My Tea Leaves
Reading My Tea Leaves is an inspiring blog run by Erin Boyle, a practicing minimalist herself. Her ideal ways of life, hacks, and minimalist lifestyle tips will prove fruitful in your attempt at Minimalism.
Reading these blogs will help keep the motivation up at all times. They help put things in perspective to help you realize that others, along with you, are struggling at some point or another with minimalism.
Achieve Financial Freedom Being A Minimalist
Minimalism is a deliberate choice you make to live with less.
It allows you to focus more on the experiences and relations in life as a source of your happiness and joy, making everything else just background noise.
Decluttering your life, your house, and your closets set you on the road to financial freedom. When you decide to live with less, there is less for you to spend on and more to save.
Start slow! Define your goals and gradually work on them.
Analyze your space and declutter all unnecessary items with timely reminders.
Above all, practice gratitude and have an open heart to various experiences that life offers.
Before you know it, you'll build wealth with money and happiness.