Living a minimalist lifestyle sounds appealing to many, especially since it can save you so much money. But in reality, lots of people are hesitant to part with their possessions. Choosing to forgo certain purchases is empowering, but it may also come with some pushback from the people around you who choose a more lavish lifestyle. If you’re serious about being more minimalist in your daily choices, particularly with how you spend your money, check out this guide to learn more.
Shift Your Mindset
Minimalism has a number of key goals, including:
- Creating less waste and living a more eco-friendly lifestyle
- Spending less money
- Enjoying a simpler existence
- Focusing on what really matters
Part of what you’ll need to focus on when shifting to a minimalist lifestyle is streamlining the things you do and the objects you use. Part of that is getting rid of clutter and figuring out which things in your home are extraneous or underutilized. However, this also involves a shift in your mindset. You’ll need to start evaluating things based on their purpose in order to determine whether it’s something you actually need. You’ll have to ask difficult questions about which habits or purchases you’ve developed do not serve a minimalist philosophy.
Choosing to live a minimalist life is less about just throwing out stuff you don’t need and more about examining your priorities in life. While getting rid of clutter is part of that process, it’s also a great way to remind yourself of the simple joys in life, many of which are 100% free.
One Step at a Time
While minimalism does require you to think about things a bit differently, it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming change in your life. Instead, you can slowly make adjustments to your surroundings and your habits in order to make a gradual shift to this lifestyle.
The following are some examples of the “baby steps” you can take to slowly transition to a more minimalist life:
- Go through your clothes and get rid of the items you no longer wear and those which don’t fit. One easy way to do this is to turn all your closet hangers with the hook at the top facing out. After you wear and wash a piece of clothing, turn the hanger so it faces toward the back of the closet. Any items on hangers that are still facing forward after a few months can be donated, sold or tossed out.
- Throw out duplicates of kitchen items. Many families accumulate many more dishes, glasses, flatware, mixing bowls, pots and pans than they’ll ever need. Pare down your collection to reduce the clutter in your kitchen considerably.
- Find alternatives to reduce your book, movie and music collections. You can get an e-Reader or listen to audiobooks instead of collecting more hardcovers and paperbacks. Pay for a couple streaming services so you can sell your DVD or record collection.
- Evaluate your cleaning methods at home. Swap out paper towels for reusable sponges or rags. Switch to wool dryer balls instead of using disposable dryer sheets.
Create New Habits
The tips above are great for getting you started down the road toward a minimalist lifestyle. As you start to clear out clutter and produce less waste, you’ll be better able to enjoy the things that really matter. With a lot of the initial excess gone, it’s also easier to focus on how you can make some impactful changes in your life going forward. Here are some of the new habits you’ll want to focus on if you’re committed to introducing minimalism in your life:
- Think before you buy. If you’re quick to spend money and regret it later on, put barriers in place. Those who end up with lots of impulse purchases can carry cash instead of a credit card. Wait a week before buying things like clothes. The initial drive to buy often wears off when you realize it’s not a necessity.
- Invest in quality items. A lot of today’s unnecessary purchases occur with poorly made items. Because they’re cheap, people are more tempted to buy them. Unfortunately, those items end up wearing out more quickly than others. Instead of buying cheap, trend clothes or shoes, look for brands that make high-quality items that are designed to last for years rather than for just a season.
- Watch your savings grow. The minimalist lifestyle helps you to see more value in experiences than in things. As you save money from consuming less, you’ll be able to think about where those funds could be used. Perhaps you’ll travel to a new place, set money aside for your child’s education or contribute to a charity you love. These are valuable, meaningful experiences that make a minimalist life worth living.
Ready to try minimalism for yourself? Start with the baby steps described above to see how you like living with less.