Are you overwhelmed by the ever-growing pile of “stuff” in your house? Do you feel like it’s time for a major change but don’t know where to start? If so, this guide to minimalism for beginners may be exactly what you’re looking for right now!
Minimalism isn’t just about getting rid of stuff—it’s an entire lifestyle shift that encourages us to live more simply and focus on what truly matters to us.
I wasn’t always a minimalist. In fact, you wouldn’t even recognise the old me with minimalist me I am today.
With a beautiful large apartment full of clothes and things, I had over 100 pairs of shoes, wardrobes bursting out the doors, and so many bits and bobs I didn’t even know what I had.
Oh yes, and I was in debt!
Any of this sounding familiar?
At some point, I realised that all these things weren’t making me happy. They were just sitting there, never being used, collecting dust. Creating even more work for me!
Beginning my minimalist journey wasn’t the easiest for me. But guess what – It got easier and easier. I fell into a minimalist habit and found that I now don’t have to put as much effort into it as I did at the beginning.
And it wasn’t just my house that was decluttered. My mind started to feel a lot calmer and I wasn’t as anxious anymore.
You might also like:
- How to embrace minimalism when you’ve been a maximalist all your life
- How to Become a Minimalist in 30 Days: Conquering the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge
- 9 Types of Minimalists: Which One Are You?
- 13 Brilliant Characteristics of a Minimalist Person
- Do the benefits of extreme minimalism outweigh the sacrifices?
- What Is Minimalism
- Benefits Of Minimalism
- Minimalism For Beginners: 10 Practical Tips
- Minimalism For Beginners: Conclusion
What Is Minimalism
There is a common misconception that in order to be a minimalist, you have to be a nomad, or live in a house with white walls and no furniture. Or refuse to spend any money.
That’s not the case. The truth is, minimalism looks different for everyone. It’s about finding an intentional balance between what brings you joy and what you need to get by.
Minimalism encourages us to let go of the “stuff” we don’t really need and embrace minimalistic living by eliminating the unnecessary.
Instead of focusing on having as much stuff as possible, minimalistic living allows us to focus on what truly matters: experiences, relationships, and other meaningful things. It’s not about deprivation; it’s about living simply and strategically.
Minimalism can be incredibly liberating – a reminder that we don’t need much more than the basics to experience true joy and fulfillment in life.
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Benefits Of Minimalism
I’m a firm believer that less is more with minimalism. This doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of everything you own in order to be happy. In short, this is what minimalism means to me:
The Less: As I mentioned earlier, once I began my minimalist lifestyle, I saw less stress and anxiety. It took me less time to clear up in the evening and less time to clean my house. I began to worry less about what other people though about my clothes, possessions, my social status.
The More: I had more time to do the things I’m passionate about. With less clutter in my way, I saw a lot more focus and productivity in my work. By reducing my spending habits I was able to save more money.
Read my full article on What Minimalism Means To Me.
Minimalism benefits people in various ways:
You can give back to the community
Throughout the decluttering process, you’ll find many physical items that are still in great shape, but just not bringing you joy anymore. These items are perfect for donating to local charities. Not only are you decluttering your home and freeing up your living space, you’re also giving back to your community and those who need it the most.
You can save money
Sell some of the valuable items you’re ready to part with for a bit of extra cash. And as you start embracing minimalism, you’ll find that you no longer have any interest in buying things that you don’t need, things that will just clutter your house again.
You’ll learn to prioritise
With the business of the world today, things often get in the way of what really matters – family and friends, our passions and hobbies. Minimalism helps us define our priorities and essentially gives us more time to spend with our loved ones and doing the things we miss doing.
You’ll spend less time cleaning
When everything in your home has its own home, it will be much easier to keep a clean and tidy household. I now only spend around 10 minutes every evening tidying things away before going to bed.
Your stress and anxiety will reduce
A cluttered life can often lead to a cluttered mind. Chaos causes stress and anxiety. By adopting a minimalism lifestyle, you’ll clear your home as well as your mind and feel less anxious.
Things become simplified
One thing I found so much easier once I became a minimalist was choosing what to wear on a daily basis. Think about it. Choosing something to wear from 20 dresses or choosing something to wear from 3 dresses – which sounds easier?
This goes for a lot of areas in your life. Whether its clothing, electronics, what’s in your fridge, everything is simplified with minimalism.
Minimalism For Beginners: 10 Practical Tips
1. Define your why
The first step in beginning your minimalist lifestyle is to figure out why this is the right choice for you. For me, I wanted to simplify my life. Less things, less clutter, less worry. I wanted to feel free and enjoy the things I really love.
For you, it may be a different reason that prompts you to get rid of the excess items. If you are uninspired and unmotivated to begin your minimalist lifestyle, I’d suggest rethinking what purpose this will serve.
Here are some other reasons people choose a minimalist lifestyle
- To save money
- To get out of debt
- To find freedom
- To be more productive
- To stop over-indulging
- To create serenity in the home
- To reduce anxiety
- To focus on what’s important
- To feel calmer
- To consume less and reduce your carbon footprint
2. Start slow
Start slow for the simple reason that you are probably not used to living with such little stuff. This is a new experience and changing your lifestyle takes time, perhaps even a few months to a year. You will need to think about what you are doing and how to do it. Don’t jump in gung-ho style.
When you start slow, you will give yourself the opportunity to get comfortable with living with less stuff. If you begin by slashing your possessions down immediately, where will you end up? A minimalist lifestyle is a journey, not a destination.
Ease into it over time. This way you will be able to do everything gradually without feeling overwhelmed by the mess.
3. Think about what you need and why
Some things we need and some things we want. But you and I know it’s not as simple as this.
We have our basic needs, such as food, water, clothing, shelter. There is no contest that these things we need in our home at all times.
There are other things we need, such as our kitchen essentials. These are not necessary for survival, but they are necessary to cook food and keep an orderly kitchen. What we don’t need is seven stirring spoons, two toasters and three pizza cutters…
Then there are things we need for our own happiness. An example of this for me is my guitar. But this isn’t something that someone else would classify as a need. It could be your sewing machine, or your library of books – what brings you the most joy.
Giving thought to what you really need in your everyday life will help a lot with determining what you can eliminate from your home.
This Minimalist List Of Things To Get Rid Of will also help you to start thinking about what is essential to you and what isn’t.
4. Find every item a home
By having everything in its place, you don’t have to spend time looking for things you need when they are right there where you put them. For example, your kitchen might have a designated space for the coffee maker and all the items needed to make coffee. From there it won’t take long to have coffee ready in the morning.
Conversely, having everything scattered around can be time consuming and frustrating when you are getting ready to make a quick meal or need something at the last minute.
5. Watch some minimalism and decluttering documentaries
Associating yourself with like minded people during your minimalism journey can be extremely helpful. These are some of my favorite which I tend to watch over and over:
The Minimalists – Less Is Now: The Minimalists documentary focuses on two guys, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, who have completely transformed their lives by getting rid of most of their stuff. It’s a story about people who’ve suffered from anxiety and depression and found that living with less is the answer.
It was interesting watching the transformation of these two guys and knowing how they feel. I’ve also struggled with anxiety in my life so it was a good look into that world.
Tidying Up With Marie Kondo: Hailing from a famous family of cleaning consultants (Her father founded a successful business about home organizing), Marie Kondo was, in her own words, “born to clean”. Her ability and skill at decluttering homes is legendary.
Kondo’s approach is a simple one: she takes advantage of the emotional relationships we have with our belongings, and teaches us to let go of things that no longer bring us joy. Her method, which many people claim works wonders for them, has been called “The KonMari Method.” The core idea behind this method is that we should only keep things that spark joy in us. This is a very simple idea, but one which most of us find difficult to execute.
The True Cost: The True Cost is a documentary about the real cost of fashion and its impact on our environment, human beings, animals and nature. The film explores the state of modern-day clothing production and consumption, including the wastefulness associated with fast fashion retailers.
The film explores the increasing trends in ‘fast fashion’ and how it affects our planet, human beings and animals. It also showcases sustainable alternatives to fast fashion such as custom-made clothing and upcycling. This documentary is a real eye opener for those of us who clutter our homes with clothes.
6. Be brutal with clothes
Often, we don’t realise just how much clothing we actually have. Some might be in separated drawers, some hanging up in one closet and more in another.
The best way to see exactly how much you own is to pull out ALL your clothing. Absolutely everything. Put them on your bed so you can see exactly what you have all together. I guarantee you’ll be shocked by how many clothes you actually own!
Clothes are often one of the most difficult things to declutter. That’s why we need to try to be ruthless when decluttering clothes.
Ask yourself: Does this item still fit me? Do I wear it regularly? Does it give me confidence when I wear it? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, then you need to let go that item and make room for items that do bring you joy.
If unsure about whether to keep something, try the hanger hack.
Put all your clothes on hangers facing the same way. As soon as you wear any item, turn the hanger around to face the opposite way. If you find you haven’t worn something in 6 months and the hanger hasn’t been turned around, it’s time for that item of clothing to move on.
7. Digitise CDs, DVDs and photos
We’re living in a digital age and it’s time to embrace it.
Decluttering photos is often a difficult task as we see them as sentimental items, but there’s a way to keep them without having boxes and boxes lying around.
Scanning photos is an easy way to keep memories without having to store physical copies. You can also digitise your music collection and DVDs and even paper clutter. Only keep original documents and scan the rest (old bills, bank statements, etc).
Once everything is digitised, you can back it all up onto pre-existing storage devices, such as external hard drives or cloud services like Dropbox.
8. Everything should have a purpose
It’s not about getting rid of half your belongings. You need to be strategic about what you’re keeping and why. If it doesn’t have a purpose in the room or house, it’s probably not needed.
So how can we apply this rule?
Think about what is purposeful. Is it useful and/or necessary for the function of your home? These things are generally found in areas that multiple members use or could find value in. A good example would be kitchen utensils. You could get rid of almost everything but you wouldn’t have any way to prepare meals, which would make living in the house near impossible.
Then think about what’s not needed. These items are taking up space in your home or are rarely used in any way, shape or form. For example: if you find you’ve got too many clothes to hang and fold neatly, some of them won’t be necessary and can be decluttered.
9. Think before you buy
Being a minimalist doesn’t mean that you’ll never make another purchase again. But you will become more thoughtful during the process. Before buying anything new, ask yourself these questions:
- What can I use this for / does it have a practical purpose that nothing else I own has?
- Do I already have this item or something similar?
- Can I really afford it?
- Is this something that i will use often?
- Is this something that I can borrow from someone else?
- Do I love it?
10. Go easy on yourself
I’ll say it again….go easy on yourself!
Minimalism for beginners is tough! It takes time and effort and you must adopt a minimalist mindset to start your journey. If you don’t get everything clear and decluttered within a day, don’t stress. Get a good night’s sleep and do what you can the following day. It takes time to form new habits, so be patient with yourself.
You do not need to throw out everything you own and make a huge, drastic change all at once. This will just create more anxiety about what you have left and if you did the right things when cleaning up.
Instead, take it slow! TWEAK your place when you want to. If you see something that bothers you, fix it. Don’t worry about the rest of the house, just do what you can today. After all – a little bit goes a long way in the home!
Minimalism For Beginners: Conclusion
Simplifying your life isn’t an easy process, but the rewards are worth it. You might have to go through a lot of trial and error before you find what works for you.
Minimalism is a lifestyle that many people claim to be the secret to their happiness. It can transform your life and give you more time for what matters most in it.
I hope you’ve found these minimalism tips for beginners useful! If you want to learn how to live a more simple life, read more blog posts about minimalism & simple living or books on minimalism, and be sure to sign up to my newsletter for inside tips.
Everybody’s journey to minimalism is different, so don’t compare yourself with others. You can do this.
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