When you think about someone living a minimalist lifestyle, what comes to mind? Living in some small shack out in the woods with no electricity, while having to grow your own food and wear the latest lumberjack fashions?
Small wonder you’ve made no attempt to investigate it further. That kind of life doesn’t sound very appealing or easy. Luckily, that’s not actually what the minimalist lifestyle is about. Instead, it’s about getting back to the truth of who you are.
It’s about living with only what you need, what you like, and what you use. It means letting the rest go. It’s about no longer hanging on to items, people, or activities you don’t really enjoy just because you always have had them in your life.
It’s about consciously living a more simplistic lifestyle that allows for increased happiness, health, and productivity – or at the very least, less chaos and drama.
There is no single path to follow in order to achieve and maintain a minimalist lifestyle; it’s really more about choosing to surround yourself with ONLY what you need to make your life happy and healthy.
What that looks is entirely up to you. Yet many people, who are attracted to the minimalist lifestyle, struggle with how to begin the process of untangling themselves from a lifetime of clutter.
Thankfully, that struggle can end today.
Here are some ways to get started on your own path to a minimalist lifestyle:
1. Have Less Clutter:
Many people are realizing that one of the many benefits that come from living a minimalist lifestyle is that you have far less clutter. In fact, the minimalist lifestyle asks you to only live with what you truly use, need, and enjoy in your life.
But did you know that less clutter can also mean:
- Less physical clutter means less dirt, dust, mold, mildew, and hidden bug infestations.
- Less emotional clutter means you sleep better, are less stressed, and feel freer to make your own choices without guilt, fear, or shame clouding your judgment.
- Less spiritual clutter means time after time you make self loving choices and are living your happiest, healthiest and most productive life.
Basically, any time you keep items in your home, car, office, and life that hold no meaning – or worse, are reminders of unpleasant memories – it holds you back. Your clutter is preventing you from feeling happier, healthier, and more productive.
The more you cling to items that aren’t necessary in your life, the more difficult it will be to function well in life.
Go minimalist and let go of anything you no longer like, use, or need. You’ll soon find a lot of space, time, and opportunities opening up to you.
2. Increase Your Happiness:
Having clutter actually means making more decisions (even if that decision is to repeatedly avoid the clutter and pretend it’s not there). That usually leads to stress, overwhelming feelings and exhaustion. Luckily for you, living a minimalist lifestyle actually helps you feel happier and reduce your stress levels.
- Less clutter means fewer responsibilities. Only keep work, chores, and activities that will help you stay or become happy, healthy and productive.
- Increased productivity means that you stop focusing on the distractions because there are none. Suddenly, you’re getting more done in less time. And that, feels good.
- Sense of personal empowerment means you’re in control of your decision-making rather than allowing activities, people, work or chores to make your choices for you.
The more you choose to let go of everything that isn’t absolutely necessary in life, whether that’s the stuff, the responsibilities – and even the emotional junk we all tend to hold on to – the easier life feels.
The easier life feels, the easier life gets, because we’ve chosen to only focus on our priorities.
3. Enjoy Extra Time:
When your life looks and feels out of control, you think time is always working against you. You feel like you have no control over your own life. Those living a minimalist lifestyle know that their time is precious, and that it’s their responsibility to take care and manage it properly.
Here’s how they do it:
- Know you’re in control: The more you choose to realize that you – and only you – have control over HOW you spend your time, the more unnecessary tasks and items you can eliminate from your life.
- List your priorities: Next, set up healthy boundaries to ensure you can continue to focus, even if life throws some challenges at you.
- Get enough rest: You lose time and you don’t think well when you’re sluggish. So the more well rested you are, the more productive, happier, and decisive you’ll be.
You have a lot more control over your own time if you simply choose to become aware of how you’re spending it.
Once you can identify which activities are worthy of your time and energy, you can choose to keep them while outsourcing, delegating or simply dropping unwanted activities altogether.
Remember: it’s your choice.
4. Experience More Space:
The more clutter you get rid of, the more space you will enjoy. Space allows you to breathe, move, and think better. Lifestyle minimalists realize this and now you can, too.
- Only hang what has to be hung in your closets. Increase your space by putting everything else in drawers.
- Start by sorting through the “easy” categories first, like your clothing. Then wait until the end to start evaluating the emotional and harder things, like photos and memorabilia. This makes the process quicker and easier.
- Fold your clothing into rectangles, and then place them vertically rather than horizontally. This will enable you to quickly see and grab anything. This tactic will also increase your shelf space by up to 50 percent.
If you’re struggling under your clutter to find space, head out into nature and just take a few moments to breathe and appreciate the lack of stuff. Visualize what your home would look and feel like without all that. Then head back home to transform your space into your visualization.
You’ll also find more clarity with space as clutter causes overwhelm and distraction.
5. Live Healthier:
Scientists are finding that clutter is causing a lot more health issues than anyone ever realized. It’s not just some extra sneezing due to dirt and dust. Your stuff can actually be causing anxiety, depression, poor sleep, asthma and weight gain, just to name a few.
Part of the minimalist lifestyle is focusing on health as a priority. Here’s how:
- Improve your quality of sleep by removing paperwork and electronics from your bedroom.
- Reduce anxiety and frustration by looking for easy ways to set up simple systems, such as placing a bowl near your entryway to hold your keys.
- Make time in your schedule to include exercise. Even light impact workout like walking, can reduce anxiety and stress. It will also help you lose weight and sleep better.
Healthy living isn’t just about eating a few carrots once in awhile. It is a lifestyle that needs to be maintained every single day. The less you have weighing you down, the easier it is to stay healthy.
6. Build Stronger Relationships:
Those who have converted to living a minimalist lifestyle have reported feeling that their relationships with everyone have grown stronger, and that their support system has actually improved.
- Quality over quantity: Fewer friends mean more time to cultivate stronger relationships with the friends who do support you as much as you’re supporting them.
- Free to be themselves: Quality friendships allow people to be themselves, which means they no longer feel the need to spend time and energy people-pleasing to maintain friendships.
- Less chaos: Cutting loose relationships that are unhealthy, unsupportive, exhausting or overwhelming helps you enjoy and engage in a safe and supportive environment.
Negative or chaotic relationships are just as damaging to a person’s happiness, health, and productivity as physical clutter. The more we focus on healthy, happy, supportive relationships and the less we focus on how many “friends” we have, the better relationships we’ll enjoy.
7. More Money:
A minimalist lifestyle means you’re now forced to make wise decisions on how you spend your money – because there’s less space to keep stuff in. The minimalist lifestyle means there’s less dependence on stuff making you happy, and more dependence on YOU making yourself happy.
So this means:
- Less stuff means less bills to pay and keep track of.
- Buying only what you need means cutting down on rash purchases and extra waste.
- Easier to keep track of finances and you’re less likely to lose money in random places.
A minimalist lifestyle helps you find what’s really important to you in life because you can’t just collect it all and store it somewhere. There is suddenly only space for your priorities. And that helps you focus on living the best life you can possibly have.
While living with few possessions may not be for everyone, we can all benefit from needing stuff – and wanting more happiness and health in our lives.