There has been a lot of talk recently about minimalism.
Minimalism is a lifestyle based upon cutting back on things you don’t need and minimizing the clutter in your life, thereby giving you a new sense of freedom and clarity on the things that really matter.
I love minimalism, and it is a lifestyle that I have gradually adjusted myself to and am now living by with excitement and joy.
For the past eight months, I have been trying to basically live with everything I need fitting in one single backpack, which has allowed me to travel very flexibly and also challenge myself to only live with the essentials.
Anyone can become a minimalist independent of how many things you own or how many things you want to own.
Minimalism is more of a mindset of not being attached to things, and feeling that you have enough, so that you can focus more on the true joys of life which lie in relationships, experiences, and love.
So maybe you have realized that you would like to declutter on things that don’t really matter in life.
You might feel like you have attached yourself too much to your things and have felt a sense of emptiness that has followed.
Or perhaps you just want to get rid of your stuff and begin with a fresh start. Possibly you want to challenge yourself. Perhaps you would like to travel the world with only a backpack.
There are many different reasons why you would like to become a minimalist, and here are 5 easy steps to begin your journey to minimalism, and live a more prosperous life with less.
1. Take inventory.
The first and most obvious step is of course to declutter on things that you already own.
Spend a weekend and take inventory of all the old stuff you once bought and now stored away. Gather all the old clothes you never use anymore, and all your material possessions that have been left to gather dust, and get to work.
You can do this by creating a list of everything you own, like for example 10 shirts, 20 pairs of underwear, 1 computer, 30 socks, etc.
Maybe you own so much stuff that it might feel intimidating to make a list. If so, start a list today and write down a few things every day, thereby filling it up bit by bit.
2. Use the 80/20 Principle.
There is a principle called the Pareto Principle, which suggests that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
This principle has been proven to be a very accurate observation in many domains, for example in wealth distribution.
It can also be applied to many different areas of our lives, including what we own and how we set up our goals (check out this awesome article about the 80/20 rule by Brian Tracy).
Take inventory and ask yourself these questions:
What 20% of…
- … the things I own that account for 80% of my material happiness?
- … my clothes do I use 80% of the time?
- … my things do I use 80% of the time?
From these questions, you can analyze what 20% of the things you own gives you 80% of the effects you want to achieve.
Keep that 20% and then go to step number three.
3. Sell your old stuff or give it away.
Now that you have taken inventory and analyzed what stuff you need and or want, it is time to break your emotional connections with the material possessions that you don’t need and find a good way to get rid of it.
One thing that hinders many from taking this step is the affection value that material possessions have, it has taken time and money to buy those things and it has a certain emotional weight to it.
Simply getting rid of it is not as easy as it may seem.
One question you could ask yourself to more easily break those emotional bonds is: What if I could turn all this stuff that I don’t need into money?
Now that is a good motivation to get rid of old stuff, you can turn it into cash that you can use later.
If you have stuff that simply cannot be sold, give it away to a greater cause, to second hand, or a charity.
If it seems difficult to just sell or give away your things, try storing some of your stuff for a few months, then revisit your stored things and ask yourself if you have missed those things or if you want to get rid of them then.
4. Challenge Yourself.
Give yourself a challenge, something that will inspire you and give you a new sense of joy. Some suggestions of challenges could be:
I am going to…
- … spend zero money on clothes this month
- … get rid of five things from my life every week
- … be able to fit all the essential clothes I need in a carry-on bag
- … wear the same outfit twice a week
- … save 20% of my income instead of spending it
By challenging yourself you get new willpower, new motivation, and new inspiration to make a change in your life.
The good thing is that these challenges can be adjusted to fit you, and there are endless amounts of them. Pick some or create some to fit your needs and your ambitions.
5. Resist buying things you don’t need.
When you realize how little you need to feel happy and contempt, something amazing happens.
Suddenly you feel like you have more money, more freedom, and more joy. You are focusing more on experiences, relationships, and love, and not becoming attached to material possessions.
Keeping this up requires some effort though. The world we live in is constantly bombarding us with new reasons to buy stuff we don’t need.
The more you resist these temptations, the easier it gets to emotionally disconnect from them, and you will no longer act impulsively and buy the stuff you don’t need.
To give yourself more legroom to resist temptations, do your best to set up a foundation that will help you.
Some basic things you can do to help yourself is blocking all the online shops you usually visit, stop watching TV commercials, use AD-block, and don’t visit any shops without a prepared shopping list.
Get into the mindset of asking yourself questions like these:
- Do I need this?
- Do I love this? (If not, don’t buy it)
- Can I spend my money in a better way?
Below are two channels I recommend to get the best and most valuable information regarding minimalism.
- The Minimalists
- Two amazing guys with an amazing mission and inspirational message. Joshua and Ryan help millions of people lead better lives with less stuff by producing amazing and inspirational content.
- Matt d’Avella
- An amazing content creator that makes inspirational Youtube videos about minimalism and good habits. Check out his channel to see his awesome content!
It can be overwhelming to begin getting rid of a lot of stuff when beginning to live a more minimalistic life. But with every big change in life it is important, to begin with small steps, and beginning to implement these steps into your life will hopefully help you on your path.
Good luck on your journey towards minimalism!
All the best!
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