If there’s one thing people will never admit, it’s this: they own too many items. And if you’ve ever packed to move anywhere, then you know this to be true.
Most people (men, we’re talking to you too) have far more clothes, shoes, pens, plates, and beauty products than they can count. In fact, NBC reports one in four Americans has a problem decluttering.
With endless amounts of stuff bursting from the seams of our homes, it's no wonder the minimalist lifestyle is making a comeback. Wait—you didn’t think this “trend” was new, did you?
Well, if you didn’t know, the minimalist lifestyle has been alive and well since the early 20th century. Like many cultural phenomena, minimalism started in music and art. As it grew in popularity, it became a way of life.
Why Minimalism Is the Lifestyle For You
At its core, minimalism is about being satisfied with your quality of life. It’s about finding joy in the simple things instead of material possessions or career milestones. It's not about bland walls and life without personality.
Before we get into the ins and outs of why minimalism is the best thing since french toast, we’ll say this: minimalism isn’t limited to one area. There are no set rules or reasons. Being a minimalist differs from person to person. The only goal is to strip away whatever you need to have a simple, more rewarding existence.
Sounds easy enough, right? It is.
5 Steps to Incorporate Minimalism In Your Life
Step 1: Evaluate your possessions.
Ready for a harsh reality? If you don’t know what you own, you have way more than you need. Asking yourself why you hold on to items that don’t have value encourages you to explore minimalism as a philosophy instead of a random purge.
Tip: Pick up each item you own. If it gives you joy, hang on to it. If it doesn't, you may want to consider donating it.
Step 2: Take a digital detox.
Before you roll your eyes and say you can’t live without technology, hear us out.
Just as a cluttered room can generate negative emotions, a chaotic digital space can do the same. Take a step back from the digital world (the internet, social media, television, your phone, etc.) and give yourself time and space to exist without constant connection.
Besides, nonstop use of technology can send you on a rollercoaster of emotions, including anxiety, loss of control, low self-esteem, and lack of appreciation.
Step 3: Meditate + practice gratitude.
Meditation helps strip away negative thoughts that weigh on your mental and emotional well-being. This goes hand in hand with gratitude, which is all about appreciating what you have. Gratitude shifts your perspective. Your life may not be where you want it to be, but it’s not as bad as it could be.
Tip: Write down everything you’re grateful for—even the little things. You’ll realize you have a lot to be thankful for.
Step 4: Prioritize what’s important to you.
Instead of living life on autopilot, take inventory of your daily actions and behavior. What do you make time to do? What motivates you and makes you happy? The idea behind this step is to gain clarity on what you prioritize. A minimalist lifestyle is intentional; intention starts with knowing who and what is most important in your life and prioritizing them as often as possible.
Step 5: Acknowledge your growth.
Your journey as a minimalist will have ups and downs. When transitioning to a simpler life, you may be tempted to focus on what else you could do instead of giving yourself credit for how far you’ve come. Acknowledging your growth instills the confidence to continue practicing minimalism.
Benefits of Minimalism
Consider the following advantages of living with fewer possessions:
Free From “Having It All”
Possessions are like an anchor. The more you have, the more you’re weighed down. When you stop loving material possessions, you’re free from the greed, debt, stress, and overworking that come with it.
Time to Focus on Health and Hobbies
When you spend less time keeping up with the Kardashians, you can be more present with your kids, take up a hobby, or go on an extended vacation. Minimalism helps you become a better person.
Not Controlled by Material Possessions
Money doesn’t buy happiness; it buys comfort—temporarily. Thanks to clever marketing, we spend our lives getting new stuff because we think it’ll make us happy.
Fear of Failure Doesn't Exist
No matter their aspirations, a minimalist doesn't align success with career advancement or social acceptance.
Are You Considering Exploring Minimalism?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- When I’m down, what do I do to make myself feel better?
- Do I have space and time to enjoy life?
- Do I hold on to items because they’re meaningful or because I don’t want anyone else to have them?
- What could I do with less screen time?
- Instead of scrolling through my feed, how else can I unwind?
- How can I be kinder to myself?
Make the Minimalist Lifestyle Work For You
Like we said before, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to minimalism. The best part about this lifestyle is you make your own rules. Ditch the traditional expectation of white walls and no furniture. You can be as strict as you want when it comes to minimalism. Ultimately, your goal is to be aware of what disrupts your life and what supports it—that’s the only thing that matters.