If you’ve been on the internet for long enough, endlessly scrolling through articles and YouTube videos on being productive or improving your life, you’ve probably at least heard about minimalism.
If you’ve ever wondered what minimalism is, or how to be a minimalist, then here is a beginner’s guide to be a minimalist.
Firstly: the definitions!
The Minimalists from the minimalists.com define minimalism in their Elevator Pitch as “a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”
Joshua Becker’s short explanation of minimalism is “Owning fewer possessions…minimalism is intentionally living with only the things I really need – those items that support my purpose. I am removing the distraction of excess possessions so I can focus more on those things that matter most.”
So, minimalism is a lifestyle of less stuff, less clutter, less meaningless junk. Being a minimalist is a way of owning and experiencing only what matters most to you.
They are very simple definitions of minimalism, but they are a start. If you would like to read more of what The Minimalists or Joshua Becker have to say about minimalism and their journeys, I have linked their sites above.
From the definitions, you can see that minimalism is different for each person. We all find individual items more or less important than others. You have to think and realise for yourself what brings joy to your life, what do you use and appreciate every day?
To get you started on your own journey, I have a few first steps to take towards a life filled with purposeful items rather than meaningless rubbish.
Step #1: Declutter
Look around your house or flat and find all the things that you never use. It could be clothes you never wear, books you’re not going to read or read again, notebooks filled with blank pages and endless objects lining your shelves and mantlepiece.
Do you need all that stuff? Do you need all those books, shoes, pens, mugs, and DVDs? The answer is probably “no.”
Make a pile of it all. Heap your unused clothes into a bag, box up your DVDs and books, and donate or sell as much as you can. Be rid of meaningless possessions, leaving only the items that provide a daily use or that bring you joy.
The Minimalists have a great challenge they call “The 30-Day Minimalism Game” where you get rid of one item on day one, two items on day two, and so on until you get rid of thirty items on day 30. This is a great way of doing it slowly. There is no point in rushing the process. Sometimes, if you rush the process, you might not be thinking about it clearly and you end up throwing away something that you did need, like a kettle, and having to buy another one later.
The process of decluttering is a relief. It will not only transform your home into somewhere filled with items that you love and tools that you need, but you will feel so much better! It’s like a detox, and the clutter was your drug.
Step 2: Pause
Now that your home and life is decluttered, you should take a step back. Think about the things that you want to achieve. Do you want to travel, write a book, paint a picture – what do you want to do with your life?
It’s a big question, which is why it is important to pause and reset. Take a few days and write down all the things that matter most to you.
Step 3: Be Free
Minimalism is not the answer to being happy. It is only the beginning of a life designed to focus on what you define as a purposeful existence.
Be free from endless consumerism. Be free from negative relationships and the job that you hate. You may think that being free is a privileged ideal, available only for the few who are rich enough, but there is always a way. For some it is easier, yes. If you’re a student living on the end of your overdraft like I was, or you have a crappy job that pays very little, the process might take a little longer, but there is always a way.
Now that you are free of clutter and have a home and mind full of only what is meaningful, you can begin to design the rest of your life to fit.
The wonderful thing about minimalism is that it is simple. Living a life with less provides more space for a meaningful existence. The benefits of living with less are endless, and your journey has only just begun.
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