While the word “minimalism” describes the art of simple living, there are many misconceptions surrounding the actual definition. For starters, a great number of people associate minimalism with a lack of material possessions. However, you don’t need to give away all of your belongings in order to live a minimalist lifestyle. Minimalist living is all about focusing on your personal priorities, as opposed to mindlessly buying things without a second thought.
In fact, minimalism varies from person to person, based on individual interpretations of needs.
That being said, a minimalist lifestyle will require a certain mindset, an attitude of detachment frequently referred to in Buddhism. It is the sense of freedom from responsibility and desire that motivates most minimalists, and yet the journey itself isn’t always as easy as it may seem. Minimalism demands an in depth examination of needs versus desires, a question that is motivated by our unique perspectives on what needs are.
So, “how to start minimalist living“:
- Letting Go of Possessions
- Going Digital
Use the step-by-step guide below to transition to a minimalist lifestyle in your own time and style:
Step 1: Contemplation
In light of the fact that a minimalist lifestyle differs from person to person, the best place to start is with a short meditation. You need not be seated cross-legged in the lotus position in order to meditate, as the word simply describes deep introspection. Begin by finding a quiet space where you will not be disturbed, and be sure to take paper and a pen with you.
Next, focus on what you hope to achieve from a minimalist lifestyle and write down your goal. It might be that you hope to enhance your relationships – with yourself and those around you. Or, it could be that you wish to shed the responsibility of looking after your possessions. But whatever the reason, it is important to keep in mind throughout the rest of the process.
Step 2: Letting Go of Possessions
Most households are guilty of hoarding non-essential items, many of which have gone unused for months or even years. Minimalism involves only keeping what you need, and one of the best places to start is by giving away unused possessions. Whether your items are junk or not is irrelevant, and what matters most is that you are decluttering the home. As the saying goes, “tidy house, tidy mind,” and this is just one of the many advantages of minimalism.
Letting go of broken objects is easy, but when it comes to sentimental items it becomes a lot harder. However, minimalism initially demands ruthless focus, and letting go of unnecessary possessions forms the cornerstone of the movement. When it comes to purging your home of unneeded items, it’s a good idea to apply the 6-month rule. If an item hasn’t been used in six months, it is considered unnecessary and put to one side.
Step 3: Redistribution
One of the key aspects of minimalism is the concept of not wasting. For this reason, to become a minimalist you cannot simply throw away all of your unused possessions. Instead, these possessions should be redistributed either to friends and family or to charity. There are millions of charity stores all over the world, each one relying solely on donations.
However, if the possessions are valuable, you could choose to sell them, as a minimalist lifestyle has nothing to do with poverty. In fact, a minimalist lifestyle is about choosing to live with less, as opposed to living in poverty by default. It is always a nice feeling to know that your belongings are being used by someone who really needs them.
Step 4: Going Digital
One of the first steps in adopting a minimalist lifestyle involves transitioning from hard copies to digital. In guide to minimalist living, whether this includes a collection of photographs or documents, the key is to maximize space and reduce clutter. There are services available for this step, whereby service providers will scan and save all of your original hard copies.
Once the copies are digitalized, it is a good idea to shred and recycle the originals. This way, you don’t need to store mountains of paper or photographs, and yet you still get to keep all of your memories and documentation. To take things one step further, you could store your hardcopies in the cloud. This way, you won’t even need to keep a disk or hard drive.
Step 5: Self-Control
After decluttering your home of unused or unwanted items, the next step is to maintain the minimalist lifestyle. This means refraining from purchasing unnecessary objects, and it is at this stage that the minimalist lifestyle takes effect. Instead of merely purging the home, you will need to make minimalist-based decisions on a daily basis.
Every time you are tempted to purchase an item that you might not need, it’s a good idea to ask yourself “Do I really need this?” This simple question helps minimalists to consider whether the item is a need or a desire. Another tip that helps with this step is to wait a few days before making a purchase. During this time, you will either forget about the possession entirely, or you will come to realize that it is in fact a priority.
The Bottom Line
While a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t require you to forsake everything you own, it typically involves downsizing. Whether this means moving to a smaller apartment or streamlining your own, minimalism is all about reducing the stress of responsibility. When there is less clutter around us, we can think more clearly and focus on the things that really matter.
Phoning friends, cooking quality meals together as a family, or getting creative are a few of the simple joys in life that are often deprioritized due to distractions. Material possessions can be distracting not only in terms of working-concentration, but from life-focus as well. So to sum it all up, minimalism can be described in the words of Steve Jobs:
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”
In this post, we offer some choices to reply to question about how to start minimalist living, tell us which one will you start with!