If you have made the decision to simplify your life, home and mind, you may be needing these minimalism for beginners tips to help you kickstart your new minimalist lifestyle.
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, closets bursting out the doors, and so many bits and bobs I didn’t even know what I had.
I had boxes stored away with ‘important’ things that I never looked at or used.
Oh yes, and I was $30,000 in debt.
Any of this sounding familiar?
I can’t tell you exactly when it happened but at some point, I realised I had to make a change. Or, more importantly, I wanted to make a change. All these things weren’t making me happy. They were just sitting there, never being used, collecting dust.
Transitioning to minimalism was daunting at first. But guess what. It got easier and easier. You fall into a minimalist habit and find that you don’t have to put as much effort into it as you 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.
Table of Contents
- What Is Minimalism
- Benefits Of Minimalism
- Minimalism For Beginners: 10 Practical Tips
- Minimalism For Beginners: Conclusion
What Is Minimalism
There is no set list of rules for minimalists. You don’t need to be a nomad, or have a house with just white walls and white floors and white furniture. Minimalists don’t have to own under 50 possessions. Or refuse to spend any money.
Minimalism looks different to everyone. One person’s method of minimalism will not be yours.
It’s not necessarily about what you have, but rather why you have it. It means only having those things we use day to day in our house. Living in the present. If you know you’re going to use something at a certain time and require it, then you keep it (i.e. Christmas decorations).
There is no specific end goal with minimalism. It’s not just about clearing a space and being done.
On your journey to becoming a minimalist, you will learn to be content with less. The more you do this, the more you’ll find that material items have less meaning and don’t bring you joy.
Minimalism is about simplifying your life to have more time for the things and people that mean the most to you.
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. This is what it 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.
Minimalism benefits people in various ways.
You can give back to the community
Decluttering your house, you’ll find many 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 space, you’re giving back to your community.
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 have no interest in buying things that you don’t need, things that will just clutter your house again. In fact, I saved $10,000 during my first year of minimalism.
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 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 house can often lead to a cluttered mind. Chaos causes stress and anxiety. By adapting a minimalist 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 every morning. 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 for 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
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. You will need to think about what you are doing and how to do it. Don’t jump in gung-ho style.
If you start off 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 any kind of pressure or an urgent need to change your life immediately.
3. Think about what you need and why
Some things we need and some things we want. But you 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 kitchen utensils. 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…
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.
Giving thought to what you really need in your life will help a lot with determining what you can eliminate from your home.
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, my kitchen has a designated space for the coffee maker and all the items needed to make coffee. From there it doesn’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 realize 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.
Once you see just how much you own, you’ll be more inclined to let some go. When I did this I found I owned 20 pairs of jeans. Who really wears 20 pairs of jeans! I now only own 4 pairs of jeans.
If unsure about whether to keep something, wondering whether you’ll wear it again, put it on a hanger, facing the same way as the rest of your clothes. 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.
Read also: How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes: An Essential Guide
7. Digitalise CDs, DVDs and photos
With the rise of smart everything, a lot of the clutter around our homes are things that can now be digitalised.
Rather than having boxes of old photos gathering dust, scan them to a hard drive or the cloud.
Same can be done with old CDs or DVDs. This especially works for people who want to get rid of the items but are having a hard time letting go. Upload your music and movies and donate the physical items to charity.
Once you’re truly ready to let go, you can start deleting them from your uploads.
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. 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 people wouldn’t have any way to prepare meals, which would make living in the house 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 much clothing to hang and fold neatly, you might want to consider getting rid of a few pieces.
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 be in the 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 can be hard, 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, but all that’s left is for you to figure out how much less stuff will make your life better.
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. If you want to learn how, read more blog posts about minimalism & simple living and decluttering & organising and be sure to sign up to my newsletter for weekly tips.
Everybody’s journey to minimalism is different, so don’t compare yourself with others. You can do this, you will get there and you will regain your life. Remember this.
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