THE MINIMALIST MINDSET: HOW TO THINK LIKE A MINIMALIST
Minimalism is a lifestyle choice encouraging you to clear the clutter from your life so you can focus on your priorities and the things that really matter to you. Minimalism goes beyond simply decluttering your home. It brings about a shift in thinking and a minimalist mindset that shapes your choices and decisions about what you let into your life and what you keep out. In this post I explain my interpretation of the minimalist mindset and how to think like a minimalist.
WHAT IS MINIMALISM?
My favourite definition of Minimalism is from Joshua Becker, “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”
As you read this article, I’d encourage you to keep this definition in mind.
Minimalism means different things to different people and, although I’m a firm believer in finding a form of Minimalism that suits you, I think it’s helpful to have some kind of explanation and benchmark to work with here.
If you’re new to Minimalism and would like a more in-depth understanding of what Minimalism is, I invite you to check out the following posts:
YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH STUFF
To understand and experience the benefits of Minimalism and make it sustainable for you and your family over the long term, you need to change the way you think about the stuff in your life.
I don’t just mean your physical stuff, but diary appointments, negative thoughts, unhelpful habits, unsupportive relationships and anything else that fills (and distracts) your heart, body and mind from what you want in life without adding value in some way.
This shift in your thinking is how you can start to think like a Minimalist – a Minimalist mindset.
WHY WE FILL OUR HOMES AND LIFE WITH STUFF
- Do you keep your stuff because it really adds value to your life, either because you love it or need it? Or, do you have most of your stuff because it’s just built up over time and you’ve never really thought about the how and the why?
- Do you overfill your diary like you overstuff your home? Do you say yes to things that aren’t important because you like the sound of being busy, not sure what you’d do with your free time, or worried you might miss out on something special going on?
- Do you shop and spend too much? We accumulate stuff in our lives partly because it’s a by-product of busy life, but also because we tend to shop too much. We get tempted by the sales, sharp marketing tactics or as a quick-fix reaction to feeling bored or stressed. Then we wonder why our wardrobes are stuffed and our bank accounts are drained.
These are just a few examples of why our homes and lives become cluttered and busy. It’s not that we’re doing anything wrong, it may just be that we’re not making a conscious effort to keep the clutter away.
WHAT IS CLUTTER?
Before we explore what that conscious effort looks like, I think it’s important to clarify exactly what clutter is.
Clutter means different things to different people but essentially, clutter is anything that you don’t use, don’t need or doesn’t add value in some way.
You may love books or video games and a whole collection of them would be anything but clutter. To someone who doesn’t share your passion, they could be exactly that. Clutter.
To help you define what clutter means to you, here are a couple of posts which might help:
WHAT VALUE DO YOU PLACE ON THAT STUFF?
If you’ve worked out what clutter means to you then fantastic. Sometimes it can take a while to sift through your stuff, especially if you are sentimental, a little bit of a hoarder or just have a lot of stuff! That’s very common!
However, what value do you really place on your stuff?
- Do you value those ornaments on the shelf more than the time it’s taken you to clean and tidy them?
- Do you value those new shoes you bought more than the fact it took you much longer to earn the money to afford them than the time it took you to click the ‘buy now’ button?
- Do you waste your time scrolling through social media or would it be more rewarding in the long term to be spending time and energy enjoying your own life rather than looking at other people’s?
How much you value your stuff isn’t about its material worth, it’s more about the cost or the trade-off in other ways. Your time, your goals, your personal growth, self-care, relationships.
We can’t have everything in life so we have to prioritise and make choices. Is it this or that, one way or the other?
The value you place on your stuff (in all its shapes and forms) will determine what you let into your life and what just distracts and clutters.
Identifying and being vigilant to not let into your life the things that just distract, clutter and add no value is the Minimalist mindset.
“Minimalism is the constant art of editing your life.” (
WHY IS A MINIMALIST MINDSET IMPORTANT?
Clutter creeps in despite our best efforts to keep it out! Think of the daily post, your email inbox, advertising on TV, packaging on food items, the little collections of rocks and twigs in your child’s pocket at the end of the day. There are so many ways in which clutter enters our lives.
Being aware of this and doing something about it takes a real shift in thinking to be sustainable long-term. It helps to make mindful, intentional decisions to minimise the clutter that will, in time, become second nature.
- You won’t be struggling with your inner self about whether to buy that new bag or gadget.
- You won’t fill guilty about declining an invitation because you’ve got a busy week.
- You won’t be sorting your cluttered garage if your kids want to play football instead.
A Minimalist mindset means you know your priorities, align your life according to them, have healthy boundaries that shape your decisions and you try not to let clutter of any sort throw you off course.
If you’d like to explore a Minimalist lifestyle, the first step many people take is to declutter their homes. It’s a natural starting point to clear the physical clutter from your home environment and it’s where you can most quickly see and feel the benefits of a clutter-free space that offers more calm and peace.
My Declutter Starter Kit can help you do this. It’s packed with helpful tips and decluttering projects plus advice on what to do if you get stuck or don’t have much time.
Click here to learn more about the Declutter Starter Kit or pop your details in the box below to get started right now!