How to Make a Minimalist Lifestyle Work for You
To some, minimalism might seem like the concept of dieting for the brain. However, adopting minimalism (or parts of it) into your lifestyle actually can make your day-to-day much easier and enjoyable. Today, let’s look at how minimalism can add to your life instead of suck the fun out of it.
First of all, what is minimalism?
Minimalism can relate to many aspects of our lives. It could be about our clothes, the way we decorate our homes, the way we use energy, the words we speak, the amount of social activity we partake in or any other quantity regulation in our life that could have a beneficial effect. Mostly, minimalism is about learning to have less and need less - only the essentials.
It’s not easy, but anyone can incorporate minimalism into their life. We want to help you make minimalism work for your unique lifestyle. Not one minimalist will look the same as another, but we can all find ways to conserve our own energy, money, time, and thoughts.
Minimalism Starts In the Mind
Minimalism can start with a simplification of the mind. When we simplify the mind, the chaos we experience comes to a standstill. I’m sure one or two die-hard minimalists just turned over in their graves when I said that but if we can start with our thinking, we can then see what we are clinging to that we don’t need and where, as a result, we are creating confusion in other areas in our lives. What we often come up against hardest is our mind, not our stuff.
When we start to notice the excess thoughts we have, playing out the past in our mind, mulling over all the ways that some future event could go wrong, or even allowing our thoughts to harbour negativity towards others, we have found the pot of junk we need to throw out so we can fill it with joy.
This is where minimalism starts. When we notice the excess thinking and come back to focus on a simple loving intention, a positive thought or affirmation, we reclaim our energy and our emotional well being. Now we’re talking!
Don’t Be Extreme
Sometimes we think we have to be all or nothing, just like those crash diets that don’t work. When it comes to minimalism, take baby steps just as you would when changing your diet. You don’t need to change all of your habits overnight, just start with practical things that you can see are causing you unneeded stress and worry. Can you lower your overhead by reducing some cable packages, extra data on your phone plan, or making a point to turn off lights when you’re not using them?
Maybe you can start composting food scraps and reducing the trash from your home or by reducing the amount of disposable plastic you use by buying produce not wrapped in plastic, using reusable shopping bags, metal razors that last longer and bamboo toothbrushes. Think about something that wouldn’t be that life-altering to change before you throw everything out and move into a 300-square-foot tiny home!
Get Rid of What You Don’t Need
A good place to start is in your closets. Do you have boxes that haven’t been touched in decades? Do you have clothes that haven’t been worn for years? Do you need those papers you’ve been holding onto, the extra dishes and old pots in your kitchen, or even the Halloween costume you swore you’d wear again 5 years ago? Getting the clutter out of your home not only allows your mind to be clear but also allows someone else to use what you are not. Donating clothes can really help people - even giving them to a friend who can’t afford new clothes will brighten their day (I’ve been on the receiving end, and it feels like Christmas!).
Once you’ve tackled the closets, maybe move onto your office desk or garage. You’ll be surprised how liberating the process is because it allows you to recreate yourself from scratch in your mind. Besides spending less time moving, cleaning, and finding places for things, you’ll find you have more creativity because your environment is like a blank canvas.
A good technology detox is also a great way to incorporate minimalism into your life. Making sure no one is on their phone at meals, limiting yourself to social media twice per day, and reducing the amount of time you spend scrolling through pictures and videos of people you don’t know gives you much more time to work on you, pursue your dreams, and grow your noggin (brain). It’s quite possible that the people that stay addicted to technology will have real social anxieties and cognitive issues in the near future if it’s not already taking hold of their neural patterns. I’m not trying to be a Debby Downer, but seriously, some people can’t even hold 5-minute conversations without getting distracted by a Facebook notification. Minimizing screen time can give us power - and knowledge is power!
When you start to declutter your life, you lower your utility bills by conserving energy and water, you spend less because you realize you don’t need more, and you start to change the way you relate to time and space. You begin to overpower the consumer addiction and empower yourself to get in touch with your soul so you can find identity in your purpose and not in what’s in your purse. This liberation is both spiritual and good for the planet. You might find you’re happier with a smaller home that could allow your overall costs to go down enough that you can take a job you’re passionate about instead of just one that pays enough to pay the bills.
Decorate in Ways That Inspire You
As you remove the excess from your life, find colours, smells, or textures that inspire you. Maybe it’s a single piece of art that helps you feel is connected to your spirit. Maybe it’s a vase from your Grandmother that makes you remember how kind she was and inspires you to be kind too. As you make changes to your surroundings, make them intentional and uplifting to create the type of energy that fuels you to become the best version of yourself inside and out. Once your stuff and space don’t own you, you’ll find you can be less attached to things and create environments that feel uplifting and not burdensome.
As we always say here on Daily Life, it’s the baby steps that count towards the biggest changes. Challenge yourself to take shorter showers and consider adding a shower timer to see how quickly you can get clean! If you’re a parent, find ways to reward your family for consuming less by keeping a sticker chart (if you’re competitive) and offering ice cream to the winner each week! Keep a list on the fridge that everyone can use to write how they’re consuming less to inspire each other. The good news is, the less you use, the more money you have in your pocket each month when the utility bills come.
Downsizing your home is becoming quite the trend. The McMansions and big cars are now becoming a thing of the past as informed citizens and urban trendsetters are replacing cars with electric scooters and choosing low-cost co-living arrangements over luxury apartments. The less space we use, the more time we have to learn, explore, and be with those we love. After all, time is our most precious commodity.
Getting fired about minimalism your way yet? How do you use minimalism in your life?
Related Article: Clutter Free Home, Clutter Free Mind