The minimalist movement is appealing for a lot of reasons. People try minimalism to have less clutter, save money and lead less stressful lives. But for the beginner, minimalism actually causes stress as you struggle to get rid of everything in your house and strip your existence down to the literal bare minimum.
If you’ve tried in the past to go minimal but failed, don’t sweat it. Minimalism takes time, and its transformative powers will unfold naturally over your lifetime. If you’re serious about going minimalistic, here are four ways to make the change.
Begin with Decluttering
In order to live a minimalist life, you need to cut back on as much waste as possible. So much of our lives revolve around distractions, and a cluttered home only serves to complicate our thoughts, take up space and leave us unable to truly connect with our environment.
Learn how to declutter your space and start cutting back little by little. Minimalism isn’t achieved overnight, and the decluttering process will help you slowly adapt to living with less. The biggest mistake you can make is just throwing out everything and expecting yourself to not miss it. You won’t be as likely to cave and give up on minimalism if you’ve had time to adjust.
Work Your Way Toward Zero Waste
Minimalism isn’t just about your home’s style. It’s about how you live and cutting back on everything that doesn’t truly enrich your life. Waste is exactly that. You can start cutting back on your plastic usage and becoming a zero-waste home by using your own reusable shopping bags, donating unused Tupperware and using glass jars for food storage. Take small steps toward zero-waste. Eventually, the little things you do will become habit and lead to more improvements and less waste.
Decide What You Really Need
Out of sight, out of mind. If you struggle to throw things away, don’t go that extreme right off the bat. Instead, rent a storage unit and use it to hold everything that isn’t essential. As time goes on, you will realize what’s important to you and what’s not. Chances are, you’ll revisit the unit after a month or two and not even realize half of its contents were even there.
This separation will make it easier to clean out your storage unit and systematically declutter your life. Eventually, you won’t even need the storage unit, or you may decide to keep it for some things that are important but you don’t need in your home.
Learn to be grateful for what you own and find new value in your possessions. Materialism perpetuates dissatisfaction, and minimalism breaks the cycle. Dissatisfaction can turn into discontent and dishonesty within ourselves.
Learning to appreciate our favorite items and what they contribute to our lives makes sticking to minimalist living easier. Keep a list and write down 10 things every day that you’re grateful for. When you’re tempted to buy something simply because you want it, ask yourself if you already have something similar and what it brings to the table.
Do you need to add more to your life, or do you just need to be more grateful?
Minimalism shouldn’t make you miserable. Go easy on yourself, be patient and remember that the ultimate purpose of minimalistic living is to become more grateful, self-aware and mindful of our lives. The slate-clean houses and crisp designs you see advertised don’t reflect true minimalism, which happens within.