10 Easy Tips For Living A Minimalist Life

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We live in a world with so much stuff. Stuff we need, stuff we want, stuff that promises to enhance our lives, make them more enjoyable and allow them to run more smoothly.

Why do we want more stuff? 

As humans, we believe that stuff will make our lives more fulfilling. We work harder so we can have access to more things. We spend more hours in the office in order to make more money so we can afford to live a more luxurious lifestyle.

It’s all about having more. More this, more that, more everything until we have it all. We want the newer car, we want the bigger house, we want a closet full of trendy clothes, we want the latest technology.

Stuff and things are often what drive us. We have our eyes set on the next bigger and better thing and we don’t stop until we get it. We believe these things, this stuff, will bring us happiness and contentment.

Is it human nature to want more?

Humans inherently want more than what they have because they are built for survival. Herein lies the problem with this concept, however: The desire to have more is never satisfied. There is always something bigger and there is always something better. We get the house we want but the extravagant one for sale down the street quickly attracts our attention; the appeal of our new house begins to lose its luster.

The thirst for more is never quenched. Once you’ve earned the thing you had your sights on, there will always be something else. There will always be something you want that you don’t yet have, and you find yourself toiling away for money and resources to make this thing available to you.

Does having more things make us happier?

The root of the issue here is that stuff just doesn’t make you happy. It might fill a temporary void, but once you achieve the thing you’ve lusted after, the allure fairly quickly fades away and you are left feeling that emptiness yet again.

You start looking for more and you start accumulating more, searching for a way to feel happy and whole, but gathering more stuff and things simply don’t cut it after a while. You lack appreciation for the things you have because you just want more, and you take for granted all the things you’ve been afforded in life.

Having more things may help you feel happier in the short term, but in the long term, in order to feel as though your life is fulfilling and satisfying, you need to stop focusing on all the material things you can gather and start focusing on other aspects of your life.

Instead of spending your time collecting more things, you should spend that time working on your relationships, furthering yourself in your career, building a stronger bond with family, traveling, experiencing the world and all it has to offer, and whatever else gets you excited about life.

This act of living can be summed up as a minimalist lifestyle.

What is a minimalist lifestyle? 

People who practice a minimalist lifestyle focus not on what physical objects they can gain, but on what experiences and memories they can collect throughout their lives. They have a minimal number of things and keep their lives relatively de-cluttered, both physically and mentally.

The minimalist lifestyle phenomenon has risen in popularity over the past few years with the release of documentaries such as Netflix’s “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” and the FYI and A&E show “Tiny House Nation.”

Through this media, we are shown how true minimalists live and we can compare the lifestyle to that of our own. Do we practice what minimalists practice, or are we focused on accumulating more and more things?

Maybe we have cluttered lives, full of stuff we’ve worked hard for; big and fancy things that gave the false promise of happiness and satisfaction.

Minimalism is not an elusive concept. Once you decide it’s the path you’d like to take, you can de-clutter your life and live in a way that is free, open, and vast, with the ability to experience limitless possibilities because you don’t have tons of stuff weighing you down.

Here are 10 easy tips for living a minimalist life.

1. Donate or sell unused items

If you have a lot of stuff, chances are you aren’t using everything. You may have clothing you bought years ago with the tags still on them. You may have several sets of dishware when you actually only ever use one. Maybe you have an extravagant book collection but all they do is collect dust.

Sell or donate your unused items and you will see an immediate shift in the energy of your space. Having less stuff gives you more openness and offers a sense of clarity that allows you to see your stuff for what it is: just stuff.

Having less stuff opens your eyes and puts things into perspective. You realize all the things you truly do have, and you become more grateful for your stuff instead of taking it for granted.

If you are in the position to donate your things, you will also experience peaceful satisfaction knowing you are helping someone in need. Your possessions are going to someone who will value and cherish them because they have so little; the smallest gift is received as a grand gesture.

2. Organize your space

Move your furniture around and explore different locations and positions until it feels right. If you are interested in Fung Shui, there are many resources out there you can utilize that will assist you in arranging your rooms in the most energy-invoking way possible.

Once you’ve sold or donated some of your extraneous items, you are left with what you need, and you can organize your space much more efficiently. Organizing your desk, closets, and bathroom and kitchen cabinets is a great way to start the process.

Find places for things that make sense to you. Having a specific place for everything allows you to stay more organized and it looks cleaner and crisper to the eye.

You can buy aesthetically pleasing organizers for your desk and bathroom, and you can purchase a set of coordinated hangers for your closet, so it looks more put-together. Since you’ve de-cluttered your spaces, you won’t need an enormous amount of hangers or baskets or bins to keep things in. You’ve downsized to what you need and can plan accordingly.

3. Set a budget for yourself and commit to it

Setting a budge affords you the option to separate your needs from your wants. You budget for your electric bill and your mortgage, and you budget for your monthly Amazon purchases and subscriptions.

The beauty of minimalism is that you aren’t consuming nearly as much as you were before. Since you are maintaining a space that is clear of clutter and disorganization, you aren’t taking in as many things as you were before. This means you aren’t spending as much money on things you don’t absolutely need.

Having more flexibility with your money also provides you the option to spend on things you want, whatever they may be. If you set a budget and stick with it, this will also assist you in persevering through your shift into a minimalist lifestyle.

4. Start saving your money

When living a minimalist lifestyle, as a result, you are no longer spending as much money as you were before. When you are driven by gaining the next bigger and better thing, you are more inclined to drop large sums of money here and there.

However, when your focus is on living in the present moment, creating memories, being grateful for the things you already have, and enjoying your life, this involves less material stuff and more experiences.

Start saving your money so you can travel, see the world, and experience the wonders it has to offer. Start saving so if there is a physical item you really do want you can afford it. Save your money so that if you need to financially take care of a loved one, you are able if you are willing.

Saving your money offers you the freedom to experience more while having less. Savings provide you security and safety. Saved money also supports a clutter-free environment because it’s no longer being spent frivolously on things you don’t need.

5. Focus on what you really want in life

There are so many things that distract us in life. We let circumstances and situations cloud our vision and deflect us from what really matters.

De-cluttering your physical and mental spaces allows you to focus on what you really want in life, whether that’s a family, a fulfilling job, the opportunity to volunteer your time and service, or whatever else you choose to focus your energy on.

Getting rid of the excess puts the focus on the things left behind, the things that really matter. Instead of allowing stuff and life conditions to distract you, place your focus on what it is you hold near and dear to your heart.

Focus your energy and attention on what deeply matters the most to you and don’t let go.

6. Practice being in the moment (mindfulness)

Mindfulness brings you back to the present moment, the here and now. If you’re consistently thinking about the past or anxiously awaiting the future, you are not fully present.

By being mindful, you are not paying attention to the fluff and auxiliary material things life affords. Your mind is set in the present. You are not worried, you are not apprehensive, you are grounded in the moment and you are fully alive and awake to any and all experiences life has to offer.

Mindfulness is a practice that will bring you peace both mentally and physically, in that it helps focus your mind, and it supports a clutter-free environment. If you are mindful, you are not frivolously spending money on things you don’t need or truly even want. You are aware of your spending and your collecting of things, and you can temper the size of your intake.

7. Donate to charities that are close to you

If you have the available funds, donate to a charity of charities that you feel strongly about. Find a few that support some of your values and offer financial support for some of your time if possible.

Donating money to a charity you care about not only offers assistance to the people the charity is assisting, but it allows you to spend your money in a way that will go to good use.

You will feel at peace knowing you granted someone or something the ability to thrive and survive through your financial and physical efforts, and this feeling will fuel you in future monetary and time-spending decisions.

Find a charity or two that resonates with you and offer whatever resources you have available. This focuses your time and energy on things that are bigger than material items.

8. Make a list of things you enjoy in life

There are many things we enjoy in life that are not material possessions. We enjoy family and friends, spirituality and religion, nature, and the ability to nurture mental and emotional capacity, and competence.

We enjoy fun and experiences, sharing our resources and time with others, giving back to the community, and creating a memory with a loved one.

Make a list of all the things you enjoy doing, and this will provide perspective, reminding you that your life can be built on experiences and moments instead of physical stuff and material items.

9. Do what makes you joyful

Once you have your list of things you enjoy, set an intention to do them more regularly throughout your daily life. Make a commitment to yourself that once a week or even once a day, you will try to do one thing off of your joy list.

Doing things you enjoy brings you the happiness that material possessions promise but don’t provide. This is the real, raw happiness you are truly seeking, and it can be found when you allow yourself to fully experience the moments in life that bring you the most joy.

10. Nourish your relationships

Minimalism reinforces the importance of strong, healthy relationships. As a minimalist, your focus is on the things in life that truly matter, one of those being the bonds you have with your friends and family.

Spend time nourishing and cultivating stronger relationships with the people you care about. This leads to a better balance in life, one that is more focused on people and shared moments, and less focused on collecting more physical things.

Solid relationships also offer you support and solace when you are in need of it.

Call your friend, meet your aunt for coffee, take your child to the park, invite your brother to lunch. Take the steps necessary to build more sturdy and flourishing relationships, and you will often be rewarded with friends and family who care about you in return and appreciate the effort you’ve put in.

In conclusion, these 10 easy tips are great for making some headway into a minimalist lifestyle. Practice them as often as you can, and you will see a boundless shift in your focus, your energy, and your time. You will de-clutter your life, both mentally and physically, and that will give you more space and time for the things in life that truly matter.

photo of a chair in front of a desk
Photo from Pixabay and Pexels
Eden is a 26-year-old Aries who loves learning and exploring mental health, self-love, self-care, and eating disorder recovery.

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