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If you’re looking to create space in your life – physically and mentally – there’s no better way than to become a minimalist. Here I’ll share 11 steps on how to become a minimalist for beginners.
The word “minimal” will remind you of things like; “to cut short”, “to simplify”, or “to bring to the smallest amount”. If any of those comes to your mind, then you’re not far from correct.
Minimalism as a lifestyle is simply the way of life that removes excesses in order to concentrate on the most important things. This lifestyle will simply give you more breathing space, freedom, and happiness.
Moreover, adopting a minimalist lifestyle will help you focus on important relationships, important friends, important routines and activities, important events, etc. And by paying more attention only to the necessary things, you will live a purposeful life… A very meaningful life!
Now, are you the type that finds it easy to acquire virtually everything you come across, yet, you find it difficult to let go of the things that are no longer useful to you?
If so, I guess at some point, your home becomes so occupied that you barely have breathing space? In that case, you really need to adopt a minimalist lifestyle (expert advice really).
Though it might be difficult at first to suddenly change from being a hoarder to being a minimalist, it is something you can do if you get intentional about it. In fact, once you start, you will be motivated to continue because you will reap the benefits immediately.
Benefits of minimalist living
If you are still finding it difficult to buy into the idea of minimalism, perhaps, the following benefits that are attached to a minimalist lifestyle will totally convince you.
- Firstly, as a minimalist, you will get to save a lot! The resources you would have wasted on things you don’t need will be reserved.
- Secondly, you will feel happier because the space that you will create when you minimize will allow more room in your life (physically and mentally). As a result, you’ll be more productive as a person.
- Also, minimalism makes your life simpler. This is because, by the time you get rid of the excess stuff in your life, you have already made things simple. That is exactly what you get from being a minimalist.
- Moreover, by simplifying things, you will save a lot of time and energy. You will have more time and energy for the things that matter most.
Okay, having assessed the benefits above, don’t you think you need to make things simple? Truly, your life will certainly be more worthwhile and purposeful.
If you are a beginner who probably doesn’t know how to get started, I mean, you really have no idea how to commence your journey towards minimalism, then relax and read on.
In this article, you will discover how to become a minimalist in 11 simple steps.
STEP 1: Be Clear About Your Reason To Adopt A Minimalist Lifestyle
First, you have to understand why you want to become a minimalist (it shouldn’t be just because I said so!).
This will give you the required foundation to pursue this lifestyle without giving up along the line. In other words, you can only be motivated enough to keep up with minimalism if you have a good reason why you started in the first place.
Moreover, having a good reason will enable you to understand what minimalism entails (to you in particular).
- Is it because of your cluttered environment?
- Or because you need some space and fresh air?
- Are you in need of minimizing your spending?
- Or perhaps, you are getting so mentally stressed that you need to clear your mind?
No matter the reason, sort them out and write them down so that you can always remind yourself. This is very important for you as a beginner.
STEP 2: Buy Less
Most people who found themselves in a cluttered and uncomfortable environment did so mainly because they kept buying needlessly. Before they realized it, they were already in a mess.
If you want to become a minimalist, one of the very first steps you should take is to stop buying unnecessarily.
But you should note that this is arguably the most difficult step of all; to change a habit all of a sudden is not an easy task. I’m sure you can relate.
It becomes particularly a hard nut to crack if you used to buy stuff for fun and happiness. When you try to stop buying, you’ll certainly feel awkward. But, you still have to.
On many occasions, we purchase an item because we feel that we will need it at some point. Although we end up dumping it where we dumped others. As a minimalist, this has to stop. No matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel.
However, to make it easier for you, you should stop asking yourself questions like, “Why do I need this item?” or “Is this item useful?”. This is because every product is useful. You will definitely see the need to buy it if all you consider is “the need for it”. You obviously won’t buy everything just because you need everything… Would you?
As a minimalist, the question you should be asking instead is “can I survive without this?”. This can be an eye-opener for you; that item you are eyeing might be needless after all.
STEP 3: De-Clutter
After you have minimized how you purchase, the next step to take is to declutter. You have to check through all your belongings and identify the ones you no longer use; then get rid of them.
This, however, can take a lot of time. You can compare it to that moment when an overweight person is trying to shed some pounds. That same difficulty they pass through when trying to lose weight is almost the same difficulty you experience when you are trying to get rid of your excesses.
However, the good news is that once you finally do away with those things you no longer need, you will feel a lot better. Just like someone who was relieved of a burden.
In order to effectively declutter, you can start by categorizing each of your belongings. For example, if the first category is for shoes, the second should be for clothes, and so on.
Determine how useful each item in each category is by asking questions like; “How important is this to my life?”, “How happy am I each time I use this?”, “Can I do without this?”, “When last have I used this?” etc.
Ensure you take it one step at a time, one category after another.
This decisive task will help you to keep only the things you need.
STEP 4: Re-organize Your Stuff
The next step after you have sorted things out is to re-organize each and every item.
This is very important because, in the process of decluttering, you obviously moved everything out of place in order to decide the one that stays or goes…
Now, once you are done decluttering, things will look disorganized or scattered. You have to rearrange and keep everything in place in order to actualize that ideal standard of a minimalist life.
STEP 5: Give Yourself A One-Year Rule
As a beginner who intends to get decisive about letting go of things that are of no use, you need the one-year rule.
Now, you might be wondering what this is all about.
Well, it’s simple… This rule ensures that you give out all the items that have not been useful for the past one year.
This includes those properties that you’ve been keeping for so long, hoping to use them one day. The one-year rule suggests that if such an item has lasted for up to one year or more without serving any purpose, then it’s probably never going to be useful. You have to give it away.
STEP 6: Generalize it
Living a minimalist life usually starts domestically and hence, you start by acquiring less, decluttering, and then organizing your home, but it doesn’t stop there. You can actually generalize it.
For the fact that minimalism is a lifetime process, once you become a minimalist, it becomes your lifestyle.
Moreover, the moment it becomes your lifestyle, it will affect all aspects of your life including your finances, expenditure, budgeting, etc.
You will now see the need to plan yourself based on your income. You begin to minimize your expenditure and maximize your savings.
Even your social media and entertainment life will feel a touch of minimalism because you will delete messages or e-mails that are not relevant. You will also unfollow people or groups that add no value to your life. You will only watch movies or listen to those kinds of music that improve you and do away with those that don’t.
STEP 7: Travel Light
As part of the generalization process, minimalism should also affect your travels.
Instead of traveling with a hefty backpack filled with needless items, why not minimize it?
Firstly, it will save you the stress of carrying a heavy bag all along till you get to your destination.
Secondly, you will be left only with the items you need most. This will help you to account for each item you’re traveling with.
Moreover, you’ll be far more comfortable when traveling with less luggage.
STEP 8: Make Your Meals Simple
If there is anything that needs to be emphasized, it is the food you eat… You really have to prepare the quantity and quality you can consume.
Many of us prepare assorted delicacies and store them in the fridge. At the end of the day, we find it difficult to consume them all. Consequently, food wastage becomes the order of the day… Surely this is unacceptable as a minimalist?
Making your meals simple will enable you to save more because you will end up buying fewer ingredients.
This does not mean that as a minimalist, your food should be poor in nutrients. Rather, it entails that you will buy exactly what you need when you need it. There won’t be any room for excesses or wastage.
STEP 9: Declutter Your Mentality
There is a close relationship between mental clutter and that of the environment. In fact, a clear mind can be compared to physical tidiness; they work hand-in-hand.
Therefore, just as much as you are addressing your environment, you have to address your mindset as well. Get rid of those thoughts, ideas, emotions, or mindsets that do not see to your welfare.
In order to achieve this, you can engage in those activities that help you clear your emotions or thoughts. For example; reading, writing, listening to good music, or any other activity that serves you well.
Actually, it is only when your mind is clear, that you can be mentally and emotionally balanced in order to know what matters most and what doesn’t.
STEP 10: Create A Weekly Rule
This rule will be of great help if you really want to curtail the way you acquire more things. Once you come across an item you like, whether online or in the supermarket, don’t be in a hurry to buy it.
Give it a period of one week… If it is something that is not that important, in most cases, you will forget it within this period. But if after one week, you still find the need to buy it, then you probably need it badly.
Keeping to this rule will ensure that you only buy what you really can’t do without.
STEP 11: Make “Savings” A Vital Goal
There is no better way to learn how to become a minimalist than to learn how to save.
In order to get intentional about adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you have to give yourself a target to save up a given amount within a given period (let’s say 1 year). Make it your vital goal.
Adopting this method will push you to cut your spending in order to achieve the goal.
On a final note, you don’t have to think twice before simplifying your life. You have to do it in order to be happy, fulfilled, and purposeful.
No matter how unusual or uncomfortable minimalism might become, it mainly takes your mindfulness about it to know how to become a minimalist… And once you get used to it, you can only watch and see how your life will change for the better.
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