I first heard of minimalism back in high school, and I was immediately drawn to it. I watched the Minimalism documentary, and I thought this is what I want my life to look like.
So I decluttered my space, but then carried on about my life. Weeks went by, then months and years. Every now and then I would go through the process of cleaning, organizing, throwing away.
It was a cycle that I kept going back into, but the habits of minimalism never really stuck.
It wasn’t until recently, though, I started listening to a few different podcasts, watching youtube videos, and had a huge mindset shift that I finally started to see the benefits.
Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps you simplify your life—this includes your mental and emotional life, too—in order to live a more meaningful and intentional life. I realized that I don’t care about shopping, I don’t need to own a lot of things, I am happy when I’m doing rather than buying.
I thought that I would take you through my 4-step process/journey of transitioning into this lifestyle, and maybe some of these tips will be useful for you, too!
- Prioritize: The first thing I did was made a list of my priorities. For me, this was school, writing, family/friends, paying off student debt, and health. Obviously everyone’s priorities are different, but make a list of 3-5 priorities in your life, and try to keep these in mind with everything else you do. You don’t want to have too many priorities because that will just make things overwhelming and you won’t be able to dedicate the same amount of time to all. The minimalists talk a lot about their 5 core values, and that might be a helpful place to start!
- Declutter: Obviously, a big part of minimalism is getting rid of that excess stuff you have lying around your house. Take your time with this process, and really think about what you’re keeping and what you’re not. I even recommend doing a second or third sweep of your stuff. Sometimes you come back to something and realize you don’t actually need it, you were just keeping it around for sentimentality. Aside from your physical space, there are also other things that you may want to declutter in your life- your relationships (cut out the toxic ones), your digital space (clear out your files, unfollow people on social media who don’t add value to your life), and your mind (I’ve incorporated meditation into my life, which has helped me stay in the present moment. It really keeps me grounded and my mind uncluttered).
- Change your Habits: Decluttering is important, but it doesn’t mean anything if you keep buying more stuff, keep creating more waste. Therefore, once you have started with a fresh, clear space, work on your habits so that you don’t go back to how you were living before. For example, I have been creating a budget for myself every month, and I try to stick to it as closely as possible. I just started this a couple of months ago, so there was quite a bit of trial and error involved in determining how much I spend in the beginning. Now, though, I’m pretty good at sticking to it! Also, before I buy anything new, I write it down in a wishlist I keep on my phone. I wait at least 2 days (if it’s a big purchase, I give it a week or more) before deciding if I really need it or not. This has stopped me from impulse buying a LOT.
- Put It to Action: Now that you’ve given yourself this blank slate, use it to your advantage! Go back to your priorities and start centering your days around them! For instance, I like to write. All I need for that is my laptop or a pen and paper. Now that I’m devoting less time to cleaning and organizing my stuff (because there’s less of it), I have more time to write! I also have more time to spend with my friends, and I’m focusing on the things that really bring me joy. I’ve honestly found a freedom in owning less and not wanting to buy more. I feel like a lot of weight has been lifted off of me.
Some resources that helped me:
- The Minimalists: They have a podcast, a documentary, and a website that are all full of great information! I am currently going through their podcast, starting from their first episode, and I’m loving it!
- Millennial Minimalists Podcast: I recommended this podcast in my last favorites post, but I just wanted to include it again because I’m really enjoying it!
- Ashlynne Eaton: This Youtube channel is so cozy and nice to watch! Ashlynne also gives some really great advice, so if you are someone who prefers visuals, this is the place for you!
There’s obviously so much more I could say on this topic, and I really only covered the bare minimum here, but I think it’s a good, simplified place to start!
What are your thoughts on living a more minimalistic lifestyle? Have you tried it?