Beginner Guide to Minimalism

3 Essential Steps

 

Before reading this post, I would first recommend reading about What is Minimalism, and then What Minimalism is Not, in order to gain a clearer picture of the simple lifestyle.

Why Should You Be A Minimalist?

Minimalism is a tool to help us achieve freedom. Freedom from stuff, freedom from obligations, freedom from fear, freedom from worry, freedom from guilt, freedom from trappings of consumer culture – real freedom

The purpose of living a minimalist lifestyle is to look at life from a different perspective. In general, life is very simple, but people make it overcomplicated. French philosopher Blaise Pascal said it best:

All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

By practicing minimalism, we can focus on what is important, and eliminate everything that is not. You may be wondering how to become a minimalist? And the answer is very simple.

Rent a dumpster and throw all your worldly goods in it. Then burn everything and start fresh. 

Ok, ok, don’t do it!!!

I’m just kidding. Or am I?

How to Become A Minimalist: 3 Essential Steps

Often, a series of small changes can yield significant results. By adopting just a few good habits, we can completely change our lives.

Step 1. Know Your Why

Mark Twain said:

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

We all have our Whys. Why I am doing this, Why I am doing that. “But what exactly is my WHY?”, you might ask me. Your Why is a statement of purpose that describes why you do the things you do, and why you live the way you live.

It’s your calling.

It’s your mission statement.

It’s your vision.

It’s your source of motivation.

It’s the reference point for all your decisions, goals, and actions.

Your Why is the reason you live.

 

Your Why is so important that you need to know exactly why you are doing what you’re doing. You need to have a clear understanding why you want to adopt minimalism as your lifestyle

I was very stressed in life, so my Why to become a minimalist was stress. Your Why may be different. You may want to quit your job, or travel the world, or be healthier, or have more time for family or yourself. Or maybe you just want a cleaner house, and all those stuff lying around makes you crazy. Maybe you intend to move, and we all know it’s way easier to move when we don’t have so much crap. Maybe it’s because you’re deep in debt and you want to dig yourself out ASAP. Whatever it is, your Why must work for you, and it will push you through when hard times come (and they surely will).

Your Why becomes your lighthouse, the guiding principle why you started the journey of a minimalist. It will guide you when life gets tough and challenges arise. Change is hard, and if you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing, sooner or later you will quit. 

If you long to become a minimalist, but feel overwhelmed, anxious, and scared, it is because you haven’t decided for sure that you want to live a simpler lifestyle. Maybe you’re in doubt, maybe you’re scared, or is something third. Honestly, the reasons are not important, because we all have different ones. What is important is to persevere when life throws us difficulties we didn’t expect. 

Once you understand what your Why is, how-and-what becomes easier. You can be an expert on decluttering and organizing (how-to), but if you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing, eventually you will end with a house full of stuff again.

Step 2. Start (Small)

When you identify your Why you can start. It’s easier than you think. There are some rules, but you don’t need to follow any of them. You can create yours. The rules are here only to help and guide you when it gets difficult.

Minimalism is not an ‘all or nothing’ lifestyle. It is a beautiful blend of normal life and simplicity (simple life). Actually, minimalism is like a life hack or a shortcut to happiness. You don’t need to own 100 things or live in a tiny house to be a minimalist. Just start getting rid of things that are clearly junk

On the first day, throw away the trash from the trash can. Then throw away empty bottles, food containers, and expired things from your fridge and cosmetic cabinet. On the second day, check those old torn-up flip-flops and those ancient sneakers with holes in them. Do you need them? The honest answer is No. Get rid of them. On the third day, you can discard clothes with holes in them, or stained clothes, broken appliances, etc. On the fourth day, you can get rid of duplicates, on the fifth things you haven’t used in years, and so on. 

The purpose of this exercise is to make it a habit. Gradually add some small accomplishments to achieve a bigger objective. And over time, those small achievements will lead to something incredible, and a completely changed lifestyle will be on the horizon. 

Once it becomes a habit, minimizing is simpler than it looks like. Remember: there is no shame in starting small. You don’t have to declutter your whole life overnight (but you can do it if you feel confident). Just put one foot in front of another, and in time you will be well on a journey to a simpler life. Do one thing today to move you in the direction you want to go.

Step 3. Change Your Habits

Getting the excess out of your life is only the beginning of your minimalism journey. And one of the easiest steps. Changing your ingrained habits is the real deal. If you don’t do it, eventually you will be back in the wormhole of a previous life. And you don’t want that, because you have your Why.

A few habits worth changing:

  • Only shop with a list – if it’s not on the list, don’t buy it. Even if it’s at a discount, and you may need it in the future. Eliminate buying duplicates and things you don’t really need by planning a list before going shopping.
  • Shop less often don’t go shopping when you have a day off. Go once a week, or if you can, try and stretch that to once a month. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to necessities (food and hygiene products).
  • Limit advertising – advertising exists to play on our emotions (fear, pain, loss, security, pleasure…), and make us inadequate so we can buy products to help us. Turn on AdBlock, unsubscribe, turn off the TV, delete social media apps, etc. Do whatever it takes to limit advertising.
  • Don’t visit your favorite shopping websites if you don’t see it, you won’t want it. 
  • Implement a shopping ban – try it for a week, a weekend, or a month. Commit not to buy anything for a chosen period of time except necessities. Or make a personalized shopping ban for the items you already have. For example, I won’t buy a new belt unless the one I have is so bad that I need to trash it. You can also adopt a one-in-one-out rule. 
  • Implement a wish list strategy – put the things you want to buy on a 30-day wish list for bigger purchases, and 5 days for smaller (or a minimum of 24 hours for beginners). The more time to think and reassess if you really need something, the better your decision will be.
  • Focus on quality over quantity – buy quality items you can keep for as long as you can. Buying quality items will save you money and time by not buying them again. 
  • Find new hobbies – with newfound time gained back from not shopping all the time, and taking care of all your things, you have more time to pursue something you really love. Go hiking, or take dance lessons, or join a local gym. Opportunities are all around you. Choose yours and dedicate yourself to it.

Final Words

There are stages that every beginner minimalist will do:

  • I won’t do it
  • I can’t do it
  • I want to do it
  • How do I do it?
  • I will try to do it
  • I can do it
  • I will do it
  • Yes, I did it
  •  

The first step is always the hardest.

Even if you fail, don’t beat yourself up. Just choose to do better next time. I believe in you.


Cheers!

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