What do you associate with minimalism? Clean white lines? Deep breathing? Lots of plants?
Let me tell you, it’s a little different than that.
“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important so you can find happiness, fulfillment and freedom.”
It’s an opportunity to rid yourself of life’s guilts, fears and stresses. A common misconception is that minimalism is giving up on owning things. This is not true! The problem isn’t in owning stuff. The problem is in the toxic meaning we give to material possessions, due to which we forsake our health, relationships, personal growth and our ability to find purpose and give back to life. Minimalism is simply about doing everything and anything you want to do, just a little more consciously. It is about optimizing your time and your life. It brings clarity and mindfulness. And it helps you love yourself and take care of yourself, the way you deserve it.
Below are seven steps a beginner minimalist can take to help them get through the initial stages of their minimalist journey, and come out stronger than before.
1. Write it down
Identify your reason. What’s your why? Do you want to reduce your carbon footprint? Does your job not make you happy? Feel like you’re too tied down and not living out any experiences? Write it down – all of it. Decide what you need out, and why it needs to go.
2. Choose a system, stick to it
Don’t just wake up one day and empty out your entire house! Start with something physical. Choose an area of your life that overwhelms you and find your system through that. It could be your closet, or your garage.
Starting with something physical will allow you to understand the process of minimalism better versus directly going for major life changes. For example, starting with clearing your kitchen cupboards might be an easier task than leaving your job- which can be an exceedingly emotional process. Step by step, build on to tackling bigger challenges that will encourage you.
3. Make piles
Put your stuff into piles of ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Maybe’. This is such an important step to go through because it gets you so, so organized. More importantly, it gets you thinking about where your stuff will go after. Recycle. Repurpose. Borrow. And most importantly, donate! Why hold onto something in perfectly good condition that is just not adding anything to your life. Think of someone who could really use it and make the most out of it. Having this mindset is a huge help in letting go of your things and de-cluttering with less anxiety.
4. Self care, self care, self care
Ask yourself, ‘What makes you happy?’ Involve yourself in experiences that are memorable, and make you feel alive. Spend more time with the people you call your family. Take up meditation and yoga. Join a dance class, start a positivity journal. JUST DO IT. Stop going on unnecessary shopping sprees to unwind or find some kind of temporary relief. This is your LIFE. You have to live it every single day. Stop adding to your physical and mental clutter. Minimalism is finding the value of your life.l Take care and pay attention to yourself because it will make it easier for you to differentiate the things that make you happy and those that don’t. Most importantly, it gives you the courage to start your minimalism journey. Do what makes you happy.
5. Don’t compare yourself
This is so important when you’re starting out. You have to remember that minimalism does not have one set approach. Everyone has a different motivation. Everyone has a different starting point, and everyone will go about it in a different way. Focus on your own journey, reflect solely upon yourself. Your priority should be you because how else will you know what to change?
6. Keep on decluttering
Life is always going to get in the way. Don’t give up! Keep going, keep decluttering, keep adjusting. Be open to change. As life goes on you won’t stay the same person and there will be things you can’t inculcate into your minimalism routine anymore. Be flexible because it’ll help you explore and discover new ideas that will only enhance your life.
7. Take it easy
No, but seriously! This is a lifestyle change. Don’t be so hard on yourself! It is okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to do things differently. This is about YOU. This is about figuring out a life you’re proud to live! You will grow, and so will your journey.
The above GIF of Lorelai Gilmore is the level of satisfaction minimalism should help you reach.
Minimalism could be exactly what your’e looking for. Don’t be afraid to test it out, it might just surprise you and change your life.