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When hearing the word minimalism, many people immediately envision a young couple traveling the world with only the few belongings they can carry. While this is technically a version of minimalism, it is far from the average experience.
Minimalism is not a one size fits all approach to life. In fact, it looks different on everyone. However, the main idea of focusing on the things you value is universal. While minimalism does involve owning less stuff, it doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of all your belongings. There are blogs that insist you need to own less than 100 items or your closet must have no more than 37 staples. However, those blogs are wrong. Minimalism isn’t a one size fits all process.
The foundation of minimalism is finding the freedom from materials. The Minimalists, a popular blog, describes the movement as “Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”
If this idea appeals to you, there are so many free resources that can help you get started. There are blogs, podcasts, books, movie, television series, and more! If you are serious about following minimalist ideas, I would encourage you to check out a free resource that interests you. If you are still on the fence or you’re wondering just how difficult this change will be, we’ve compiled some minimalist lifestyle changes for beginners.
1. Make a list.
Write down the reasons you want to minimize your belongings. Do you intend to save money to get out of debt? Create more peace and simplicity in your life? Value experiences over things? Whatever it is that’s driving you, write it down. Not only will it get you excited to begin, but you can revisit this list when you need a reminder about why you needed a change in the first place.
2. Dispose of duplicates.
Walk through your house with a box and fill it with any duplicates you can find. Two copies of a book? One goes in the box. Two sets of measuring cups? Throw one in the box. Set the box away for one month and if you don’t find yourself searching for any of the items, donate them all. It’s a great way to begin the decluttering process.
3. Pick a room.
When you begin actually decluttering your house, choose one room to start with. If that’s still overwhelming, choose one bookshelf or one cabinet. Once you feel that room is decluttered how you want it, move on to the next. This can be a long process, but there are a lot of decluttering checklists on the internet if you need a little more guidance.
4. Find a system.
While decluttering, find your own system and stick with it. That could be three clear piles: keep, donate, throw away. It could look more like: keep, revisit, donate, sell, throw away. Or… any other system you want to work with!
5. Go paperless.
Check out our latest blog post on why you should ditch the paper (and how to do so). Eliminating all that paper will clear up so much space!
6. Spend on experiences.
Spend money on learning valuable skills or traveling or spending time with loved ones. Those memories will last longer than a brand-new TV or another desk lamp. Experiences make great birthday and Christmas gifts, too. Check out Groupon for ideas!
7. Slow and steady.
You don’t have to race to a minimalist lifestyle. Take your time and be mindful of what you are doing and why. After all, the entire focus of minimalism is intention. Even if it seems like you aren’t making a dent, just keep going. Eventually, you’ll be right where you want to be.