What Is A Minimalist Lifestyle
Simply put, minimalism is living your life with only the things you need.
So often we find ourselves “keeping up with the Joneses” and trying to make more money so we can have nicer better things as if we are in this big competition called life.
Not to say that those who live a minimal lifestyle do not have nice things, they certainly do.
The difference between the things that a minimalist owns vs. the average person is the intention and value behind each item in their lives.
A person who is living the minimalist lifestyle doesn’t own anything that could potentially distract them from their core values.
My family is pretty close to having a truly minimal lifestyle right now. We are trying to downsize our nonessential possessions so that we can focus on family relationships. It has been difficult for me personally to not compare myself to others who have more possessions than us. I grew up in nice houses with a lot of possessions myself and I want to pass along some different values to my children than I personally had.
As much as it was so cool to have the latest and greatest gadgets growing up, I would have much rather had a better relationship with my Dad. I would have much rather tried to strengthen my relationship with my step-mom instead of comparing whatever was new and shiny in my life with my friends. I feel I would have learned the value of relationships much sooner than I did. I was lucky to find a husband who was able to teach me a lot about family values.
Benefits of Living The Simple Life
There are some obvious benefits of living a minimal lifestyle such as less clutter in your life.
However, there is so much more than that. Minimalism goes beyond clutter. It has a lot to do with relationships and self-awareness.
Our physical possessions are very much linked to our mental and emotional health.
When we take the time to declutter our homes, our mental clarity and peace of mind are very much affected.
How does it feel when you finally take care of that project you’ve been putting off for a while and you finally got it tackled one Saturday morning? Probably pretty proud of yourself for finally getting your butt into gear and finishing something that was on your mind for a while.
Clutter affects our mental clarity in a big way. Personally, clutter gives me anxiety. Anxiety does not provide clarity. A clean and organized home is my personal secret sauce to happiness.
Living a minimal lifestyle brings out self-confidence in people because you feel good about yourself without having a bigger boat than Bill or a nicer house than Janet. You are confident because no matter what you own, you have this posession because that is what makes you happy, not because you thought someone would be jealous of it.
Have you ever noticed that some people want to be your friend because you have something nice, and not because they really like you? Yeah, those people are not your friends.
How amazing is it to create relationships with others based on similarities that are not based around possessions?
Creating connections with people based on lifestyle similarities such as having a love for hiking in the mountains, provides much better value to your life overall. Possessions break or go out of style anyway, so the friends who are your friends because of your possessions, won’t stick around anyway.
I don’t know about you but when I was a child I received a lot of gifts for Christmas and Birthdays. The thing is though, I don’t remember all the toys I received… I remember the get-togethers with family, the silly jokes that my Grandpa made and the amazing food my grandma put on the table.
Nothing beats memories. I like to think back on those days spent with family and think about how much love my family had for me and the warm glow of the happy family that warms my heart to this day.
Well, it’s no secret, if you’re focusing less on possessions, you’ll have more money in your pocket. You can live a frugal lifestyle when you are living minimally but you don’t have to stop buying things altogether.
If there is an item you need, you should go buy it (or try to find it second hand and reduce the carbon footprint in a small way). Plus, if you aren’t buying everything in sight that you desire when there is something that you need, you’ll have the money needed to buy this item without financial strain.
How to Live A Minimalist Lifestyle
Living minimally is not rocket science. Anyone can do it. There are only a few steps that can help you get started.
- Write Down You Reasons For Wanting To Live Simply
- Go Around Your House And Donate Anything That You Have Double Of
- Minimize Your closet (Try The Rule Of 33)
- Start An Emergency Fund and Reach $1000
- Eat Similar Meals Rather To Simplify Meal Times
- Travel Lightly (Going for 4 days? Pack for 2 days and wash your clothing)
- Say No To Items You May Not Need That You Do Want
These are 7 simple ways you can start to live a minimal lifestyle today. You’ll have money in the bank, a decluttered home, easy meal times and more self-control when you go shopping.
My biggest struggle is shopping. I’m always thinking we NEED something when in all fact reality, we could probably go without it.
I’ve gotten to the point where I use the Walmart and Superstore click and collect options when picking up my groceries so that I can avoid the temptation to purchase another organization bin or that extra set of headphones that I don’t really need.
*Pro Tip: I added my grocery list to both Superstore and Walmart websites and just went with the one that was cheaper! Sometimes it’s Walmart, sometimes it’s Superstore, so I have to do a comparison every time. I save $30-50!
Maintaining Your Minimalist Lifestyle
It’s pretty simple to maintain your lifestyle if you remember why you started living this way in the first place.
Remember that when we remove excess stuff from our life, we get more time and more freedom.
Although it can be overwhelming trying to say no to the things you may be wanting. I mean you see commercials for everything, everywhere. On your phone, laptop, TV… literally, everywhere you look you are faced with temptation.
Sometimes you see something enough times you begin to believe that you NEED it.
Be super ruthless about the clutter around your home. If you are making a sandwich for the kids, clear it up right away or if you bring in your mail, sort it and file it appropriately before it becomes a giant mess.
Be picky about what you are bringing into your home.
And last but not least, stay true to your reason for starting a minimal lifestyle. Living minimally is not the norm, and you can sometimes feel like an outsider. But if you remember WHY you wanted a clutter-free life (clear mind, stronger relationships..) then you should feel confident about the choice that you made.
If anyone tries to give you a hard time about living the minimal lifestyle, you just reply with something like “ this lifestyle works for me, it’s not for everyone”
Keep it simple, keep it minimal.
Do you have any minimal living tips you want to share? I would love to hear about them!