Updated: Oct 26
It’s not unusual to find yourself hankering for a simpler lifestyle. And, in the past couple of years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve heard many people talking about keeping it simple. It’s one of the better ways to deal with uncertainty and fear especially when you’re feeling weary of life.
But, how do you go about simplifying your life? One of the ways to do this is to start living a minimalist lifestyle.
Minimalist living isn't something new. It’s a lifestyle that requires you to live with less materialism. For spiritual people, the minimalist way of living resonates deeply with their core values. It’s about finding joy and fulfillment through experiences and meaningful relationships with others.
If you're seeking a simpler life, read on to find out more about living a minimalist lifestyle. It’s not as difficult as you think it is and may be one of your life's most profound, life-changing experiences.
What is Minimalism Living?
Minimalism living is a simple lifestyle that requires you to have less stuff in your life. This could include getting rid of material possessions, making more space in your life for those you love and cherish, and creating the intention to live with less.
Minimalism is a way of life once you adopt it. It takes a huge amount of soul-searching and asking yourself questions such as:
Why did I need so much stuff in the first place?
Where can I get the most happiness from?
What is my purpose in life?
While “less is more” is the mantra of most minimalists, it’s essential to identify what adds meaning to your life when keeping it simple. It’s about identifying the non-necessary possessions and resources while holding onto the stuff that is significant and fits into your way of living a simple life.
What Does a Minimalist Lifestyle Look Like?
There’s no prescribed perspective of what a minimalist lifestyle looks like, but in general, it would entail the following:
Picking experiences over material stuff
Choosing to live light with a sustainable approach to the environment
Buying only what you need and not what you want
Spending quality and creative time doing your own hobbies and activities that give you a sense of purpose and satisfaction
Recognizing it as an optimal way of living
Having the freedom to live your life the way you want to live it
Changing to a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight. It requires self-reflection, including the whole family if you’ve got a partner and kids, and experimenting with what works for you realistically.
Quitting your job, selling your home, and moving to a smaller town may not be the right steps to take immediately. Simply decluttering your wardrobe, kitchen cupboards, basement, and garage may be all you need to do to start living a simpler life that is minimalistic as well.
What Are the Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle?
When you choose to change your lifestyle to one of minimalism you can expect the following benefits:
Less clutter while enjoying the stuff you do keep
More clarity as you find your mind clearing when you remove stuff you no longer need
Less stress as you have fewer possessions to worry about
No more fear of losing things you no longer own or have
More money in the bank as you spend less
Living only with the possessions that align with your spiritual self
Less cleaning (no more dusting endless shelves of grandma's ornaments!)
More energy and time to enjoy experiences and relationships
A healthier mind, body, and soul
When you adapt to a minimalist lifestyle, you’ll be less stressed, exhausted, and weary. Your energy levels will improve and you’ll feel much better overall.
Read on as I share nine tips to start living a minimalist lifestyle.
1. Don’t Rush
Deciding to live a minimalist lifestyle requires thinking through your reasons for wanting to do it. This process shouldn’t be rushed and baby steps are always recommended when making a major lifestyle change. Spend time journaling about why you want to live a simpler life.
Writing down your reasons will give you more clarity about what it takes to have a minimalist life.
By writing down all the reasons, you’ll also find where’s the best place to start. It could be as simple as getting rid of all your junk, buying a set of recycling bins for household waste, and identifying simpler healthier meals.
2. Declutter Your Living Environment
The act of decluttering will help you clear your mind and your living space. Set aside time every week to go through your home and start removing the items you no longer need. Some decluttering experts recommend working with one room every weekend.
This way, you'll have the time to identify every object in the room, decide if it has any meaning for you, and decide whether to toss it or give it away to charity.
With a clearer mind, you’ll also be freed up to look at other areas of your life that need decluttering.
3. Identify Worthwhile Experiences
When you’re living with fewer material possessions, you’ve got the time and space to start having worthwhile experiences. This could include traveling to the great outdoors and camping under the stars, or simply starting a vegetable garden and maintaining it. Identify a hobby you’ve always wanted to take up and find ways to indulge in it.
Worthwhile experiences talk to your soul and make you feel complete and whole. They often require very few resources. But your full commitment and passion to find joy and happiness in an experience is a necessary requirement!
4. Cultivate Special Relationships
Too often we get caught up in everyday life and we lose touch with those around us. We often take our relationships with other people for granted and pay little attention to nurturing them. But, when you choose a minimalist lifestyle, you’re choosing to give yourself the space and freedom to cultivate those relationships that matter to you.
Instead of having a rushed coffee break with a friend you haven’t seen in months, you now make a conscious decision to spend quality time with those that you hold close and dear. Cultivating special relationships is key to a content and fulfilling simple life.
5. Involve the Kids
If you have kids, involve them in your journey to minimalism. By teaching them to live a simpler life, you’re also equipping them with valuable life skills that they’ll take with them into adulthood. Ask your children to pick out a select few of their favorite toys and let them give the rest away to charity. This works well for older children.
For smaller children, you can let them choose one or two toys to play with for the day and pack the rest away neatly into their toy boxes. Involve the kids in recycling, choosing healthier snacks over junk food, and opening savings accounts to put away their pocket money.
6. Practice Gratitude
By practicing gratitude on a daily basis, you’re giving thanks for all that you do have including the experiences, relationships, and simple successes of every day. Expressing gratitude makes you aware of how much you actually do have such as running water, electricity, and a warm bed at night.
The act of gratitude also shows you what you need and that what you want is often more wasteful and short-lived. Gratefulness teaches you not to waste, to practice sustainability by making personal choices that make a difference, and appreciating the “ordinariness” of everyday living.
7. Use Storage Space Wisely
It’s very tempting to fill up every space in your home, be it the loft, basement, or garage. Cupboards are crying out to be filled as are drawers, bedside tables, and space under the bed. But, if all of this space is chocker-block full it should tell you you’ve got too much stuff especially if you’re not using any of the things stored away.
Instead of aiming to fill up every storage space in the house, think about using it wisely. Promise yourself that once your child’s toy box is full, you’ll give away the toys they no longer play with. Clear out the old books, torches, and other junk that ends up on your bedside table.
And, definitely toss out everything that’s under the bed. You obviously have no intention of ever using that stuff if it’s there!
8. Minimalism is a Journey
This is similar to not rushing the process of changing your overcluttered life to one of minimalism in one day. But, when you see minimalism as a journey, you’ll also appreciate the process with more mindfulness and understanding of what drives you to live this kind of life.
Choosing to have less depends on why you want less. It’s a journey that entails soul-searching, changing your own perspectives around lifestyles, and shifting the conditioning that encouraged you that more meant you were rich, financially.
A journey well thought out and planned is more likely to be sustainable and more enjoyable than one done on the whim of the moment.
9. Your Idea of Minimalism May Be Different From Someone Else
Living a minimalist lifestyle isn't about beating the Joneses at a game. Mr. Jones may have chosen to live with solar power and uses grey water on his vegetables in the garden.
Jane down the road has chosen to eat simpler meals and only buys from the local farmers' market to save on packaging. You, in the meantime, decided to live by the “33 clothes rule” in order to live a more minimalist lifestyle.
How you choose to live a minimalist lifestyle is your choice. It should matter only to you and it should resonate with your definition of living a simpler life. And, you recognize this also has a different meaning to anyone else choosing minimalism living.
Watch this video which talks about minimalism being our truest nature.
Deciding to live a minimalist lifestyle can be very rewarding. While it may be challenging to start discarding your material possessions, the more you do it the more you’ll discover the benefits.
Take baby steps, identify why you want to do it, and start by clearing out the clutter under the bed! Everything else will fall into place if you’re serious about a more simplistic and meaningful lifestyle.
This post was originally published on August 6th, 2021, and updated on September 26th, 2022.