I think Minimalism and Minimalist living gets a bad wrap because many people mistakenly believe it means throwing everything out and living with as few possessions as possible. I don’t think that Minimalism has to be like this at all. It just depends on how you interpret Minimalism and how you find a way to incorporate it into your existing lifestyle. Minimalism can really benefit you and your family so if you’d like to give it a go, check out this post on 7 easy ways to start becoming Minimalist and try it for yourself.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BECOME MINIMALIST?
Minimalism means different things to different people and varies according to your life stage and priorities. If you have a family then the version of Minimalism that’s right for you will be very different to a style of Minimalist living that works for someone living on their own with no kids.
The key to becoming Minimalist is to find a way of incorporating Minimalism INTO your life. To find a way of weaving it into your existing lifestyle rather than making massive, profound changes that neither you nor your family can adapt to and sustain.
So, answering the question on what it means to become Minimalist is really difficult because there are as many answers as there are people!
WHAT DOES BECOMING MINIMALIST MEAN TO ME?
If you’re new to Minimalism, or on the fence about the benefits of Minimalism and whether it’s worth the hassle and deserves the hype, then you might like to check out these other posts I’ve written on Minimalism and Minimalist living:
- What is Minimalism and 4 things it’s not
- The unexpected benefits of Minimalism
- Why Mums need Minimalism to make life easier
In a nutshell, choosing to go Minimalist and getting rid of the unwanted clutter and distraction in my life has completely changed my outlook on life, the way I parent my kids and how and where I choose to spend my time.
I’d never have dreamed that what started out as a quick decluttering of my wardrobe one weekend would be the start of a whole new way of life for me and a better life for all our family. It seems silly to think that just getting rid of a few clothes that I never wore and that were filling up my wardrobe, would create a snowball effect for decluttering the rest of my life.
It led to a life with less clutter and much more free time, fun and focus on the things that are most important to me.
Minimalism means a fuller life for me, just with less stuff. I have more of the things that I value and less of the things that I don’t.
That’s the simple answer to what becoming Minimalist means to me and I think it says it all! What do you think?
If you’re wondering how to start becoming Minimalist and ready to try it out for yourself then check out my 7 easy ways to start becoming Minimalist.
BEFORE WE START
Just before we get started and for those of you who are concerned that I’m going to ask you to throw everything out or do anything too drastic – DON’T WORRY!
None of these suggestions are going to cost much money, if any. Some of them might even save you some money! If you don’t find they work for you (after you’ve given them time to work) then it’s no big deal. You can go back to your normal way of doing things!
Just try them out, give them some time to work and see which of the ideas makes the biggest difference to you. You could even try one a week or one a month so you’ve got plenty of time to get used to each idea before you move onto the next.
So, are you ready?!
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7 EASY WAYS TO START BECOMING MINIMALIST
Start becoming Minimalist #1 Your wardrobe
My personal favourite place to start is by decluttering your wardrobe. It’s a finite space, you know what you like to wear and wear regularly and you know what you don’t wear.
Click here for a full post on how to declutter your clothes. I’ve broken the process down into easy steps so you can follow them even if you’ve got loads of clothes or find decluttering difficult.
Start becoming Minimalist #2 The surfaces in your home
If you look around your home you might notice many of the table tops and work surfaces have stuff on them. Not just ornaments or photo frames, but random stuff that’s just been dumped there… toys, paperwork, dirty mugs and much more.
Horizontal surfaces such as these (and floors and stairs too) tend to be clutter hot-spots. Tackle these areas and keep them free from as much clutter as possible and your home will instantly look neater, more organised and bigger!
Check out this post for tackling the 4 main clutter-hotspots in your home for more information on how to tackle the daily build-up of clutter.
Start becoming Minimalist #3 Your calendar
Getting rid of clutter is the start of your Minimalist journey. But, clutter isn’t just physical stuff that you can see. It’s also stuff that you can’t.
Time is one of those things that can be cluttered if we don’t keep an eye out for how we use it. If you look back on your day, week or month, can you honestly say that you used your time wisely? It doesn’t mean that you have to be busy every minute of every day (free time is important too) but did you use your time intentionally or did you waste it?
When we fill our time with stuff that we don’t want to do or don’t need to do, we’re cluttering up our calendar in the same way we clutter up our homes with stuff.
Think about decluttering your calendar, choosing carefully what you say ‘yes’ to and give yourself more free time to do the things you WANT to do, rather than what you WANT to do.
If you need more help with this then check out this post on how to simplify your calendar.
Start becoming Minimalist #4 Declutter Your Home
It probably goes without saying that Minimalist homes are clutter-free (for the most part anyway). It doesn’t mean they don’t have stuff in them but the stuff they do have is carefully chosen and deliberately there. There’s no random clutter stuffed in cupboards hidden out of sight, there aren’t garages or attics full-to-brimming with items kept for those ‘just in case’ and ‘what if I need them’ moments. Sound familiar?!
By getting rid of the random, unwanted and unnecessary clutter there are 2 big benefits. You’re creating:
- More physical space in your home so it appears bigger, you have more room to move around in and it’s less visually distracting
- More time for you because you don’t have to spend time tidying, moving or cleaning the stuff
For the hoarders amongst you, check out this post on 9 decluttering tips for hoarders. This last one is very popular so it’s a problem shared by many!
Start becoming Minimalist #5 Kids and toys
I giggled when I wrote this because on first thought it could be interpreted I mean minimalising your kids and getting rid of them – not what I mean!
What I do mean is helping your kids share in your family’s journey to becoming Minimalist. Your kids are an important part of family life and I believe that they can benefit from a more Minimalist lifestyle just like you can.
Kids are better when they’re not overstimulated by too much choice, are given encouragement to be creative and use their imagination and have the opportunity for unstructured free time when they have to come up with their own games and entertain themselves rather than being entertained.
These are all little things that a Minimalist lifestyle can help you create and give to your kids. Check out this post I wrote for more information on how your kids will benefit from fewer toys and the step-by-step process on how to declutter your kids’ toys.
Start becoming Minimalist #6 Shopping
It’s relatively easy to tackle the clutter in your home if you follow the process and ask yourself the right questions. Check out this post on how to decide what to keep and what to throw if you’re stuck.
But, what about when you’re out and about shopping and you get distracted by sale offers and tempted by discounts and pretty things on the shelves just screaming ‘take me!!!’ at you? Trying to avoid cluttering up your newly decluttered home with stuff you couldn’t resist buying at the shops can be tough.
But luckily, I’ve got some really handy tips to help you watch your shopping habits in this post on Minimalism and shopping. It also includes a helpful print-out which you can download and keep.
Start becoming Minimalist #7 Think about what you want out of life
I love decluttering so it was a natural progression for me to become Minimalist. I’m neat, tidy, organised and I find it really therapeutic ditching my clutter and creating a clean, open living space where my kids can play and us grown-ups can relax. But, many people find decluttering difficult.
The important thing to remember is that decluttering is only PART of the process to becoming Minimalist. It’s just a tool at your disposal to help you get rid of your stuff.
The value in becoming Minimalist lies in what happens afterwards. What does decluttering your home and your life REALLY give you?
For me, it’s more time, space and freedom to do the things that I and my family WANT to do, by making it quicker and easier to do the things I NEED to do. Life is happier, freer and far less stressful.
So, your action point from this step is to think about what you really want out of life. If you can gift yourself more free time, more energy and more space, what would you do instead?
Don’t forget that life is precious, the seconds that tick by are ones that you won’t ever get again and your kids are only little for such a short time.
BECOME MINIMALIST YOURSELF
I hope these 7 easy ways to start becoming Minimalist will help give you some ideas which you can try out at home. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, try one a week or one a month to really give them a chance to work. This way the changes will be natural and organic and won’t seem too difficult or unrealistic for you or your family to incorporate into your life now.
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got any thoughts or suggestions. Have you tried any of these ideas and, if so, what worked and what didn’t?