You hear the term “minimalism” being thrown around a lot these days. On the web, in the news, and certainly in the articles on this blog. However, if you’re not already “in the know,” you might be asking yourself “what is minimalism anyway?”
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by all of the stuff in your life? We use the word ‘stuff’ because it’s a broad term that encompasses everything we encounter on a daily basis that has an impact on how we feel.
Minimalism can help you eliminate the excess in your life, whether it’s the clothes hanging in your closet or the activities that demand your time. But that still doesn’t explain what it truly is and how people come to call themselves minimalists.
The truth is that minimalism means a lot of things. This trendy buzzword isn’t a new concept. In fact, it’s got deep spiritual roots for Buddhism, Catholicism, and Christianity. But the modern trend arose around the 1950s and 1960s during the Minimalist art movement and only continues to grow in popularity today.
At its core, minimalism helps you live your life with less. However, that can have many different interpretations. Think of it as a lifestyle choice that helps you let go of the things that burden you and find the freedom to enjoy the things you value the most. It can be implemented in your home, your technology use, your diet, your spending - literally anywhere you desire more simplicity in your life. Whatever the definition you go with, simplicity is key.
Take a moment and look around the room. You can probably put your eyes on things you haven’t used in months. Things you’ve been meaning to get rid of. Things that gave you buyer’s remorse as soon as you left the store. Minimalism means removing all of those things from your life and making room for only the things you need or truly enjoy.
The benefits of minimalism
What may seem like a difficult thing to do can actually be a very rewarding lifestyle change. The freeing effects of minimalism can have a big impact on your mental health, emotional well-being, and many other things right down to your monthly budget.
Let’s explore five of the top benefits of minimalism:
- You make room for what matters most: By removing the physical and mental clutter from your life, you’re given more time and space to focus your attention on things that are important to you.
- You save more money: If you eliminate the impulse to buy, buy, buy, something miraculous happens. All of a sudden you have more money! You can either start saving or have the freedom to buy more high-quality items that will last longer.
- You clean less: Raise your hand if you like cleaning the house. No one? Well, one of the biggest perks of being a minimalist is that less clutter in your home leads to less cleaning time for you.
- You stress less: Doesn’t life seem less stressful with more money and less to do around the house? Minimalism eliminates a lot of stress from your home as well as your everyday life.
- Your home is more visually appealing: When guests walk into your home, it can be like a breath of fresh air. Minimalism makes your home feel lighter by using neutral colors. The same concept can be applied to your wardrobe if you apply minimalism to that aspect of your life.
There are countless other benefits when it comes to incorporating minimalism into your life, but the most important thing is that it makes you feel good.
How to become a minimalist
A common misconception with minimalism is that there are a set of rules you have to follow. The truth is, you just have to take the concept and apply it to your lifestyle. Therefore, minimalism looks a bit different for everyone. And hey, that’s okay!
If you need help, here are a few tips to help you get started.
Set your rules
That’s right, you can determine your own definition of minimalism. Write them down to hold yourself accountable and make sure to keep them realistic, especially when you’re getting started.
There’s not going to be a test. No one’s grading you. Take the principles of minimalism and find out how best to apply them to your life. Then you’re only accountable to yourself.
Downsize and declutter
Starting fresh is the best way to approach minimalism. Discard or donate things that no longer serve a purpose in your life. If you’re on the fence about a certain item, keep a mental note of how many times you actually reach for it and decide its fate after a few weeks.
This can be a difficult thing to do. While it may sound silly, we all have a strong connection to our “stuff.” Letting go can be hard. However, this is a necessary step to de-cluttering your life. Feel free to ease into it. You don’t have to sell your home and throw out 90% of your wardrobe overnight. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Put everything in its place
Everything that you choose to keep should have a designated place. It might help to organize everything by category so you can easily see duplicates and compare items. Consider cube-based or vertical storage solutions such as shelving for organization purposes.
Once you’ve reduced, you can add or subtract things from your new lifestyle as necessary according to your rules. Minimalism really is that simple, so why wait to get started.