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Minimalism For Beginners – Everything you need to know to start downsizing and simplifying your life!
It should come as no surprise that as a person who hates clutter, I would be first in line to embrace minimalism. And it seems I’m not alone; more and more people are choosing to embrace minimalism than ever before. In a world of clutter, constant distraction, and materialism, people are ready to simplify their lives and live more intentionally. Marie Kondo really “sparked” new life into the minimalist movement, and now you may be wondering if minimalism is for you.
If there is anyone in this world I believe could benefit from minimalism the most, it’s moms! Minimalism has afforded me more time with my children, and less time stressing over money, commitments, and my home!
So today, I will teach you what minimalism is, the benefits of minimalism, and how you can embrace a minimalist lifestyle.
What is minimalism?
Minimalism has many different definitions depending on who you ask. In my opinion, minimalism is living simply. It means only possessing items that bring you joy and add value to your life, and getting rid of things that distract us from happiness. Clutter, overwhelm, and negativity are a thing of the past. You become more conscious of the things you bring into your home. Minimalism is living with less so that you can experience life more.
It is important to understand there are also degrees of minimalism. Some people choose to live an extremely minimalist lifestyle while others choose to build a cozy home with a minimalist twist. There is no right or wrong way to embrace minimalism. That’s what makes minimalism so amazing to me! There are no rules when living a minimalist lifestyle, and you can adopt a version that works best for you and your family.
Is minimalism for me?
If you’re wondering if minimalism is for you, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I feeling completely stressed out and overwhelmed by my life?
- Do I feel like something is missing? Does it feel like I’m on the hamster wheel and not truly living?
- Am I ready for a new lifestyle to change my relationships in a positive way?
- Am I ready to start being mindful of my purchases and consumer culture?
- Do I want more time to spend with my family and even more time to focus on what I love to do?
If you said yes to any of the above questions, it may be time to consider living a minimalist lifestyle.
Luckily, I’ve got that covered.
But first, let’s get into what minimalism is NOT…
Common Misconceptions about Minimalism
Now that you know what minimalism is, it’s important to know what minimalism is NOT. Because the definition of minimalism is so broad, there are often many misconceptions about what minimalism ACTUALLY is. Some of these misconceptions include:
1. I have to get rid of all of my things in order to be a minimalist.
This is probably the biggest misconception about minimalism. It is true — you WILL have to get rid of some things in order to live a more minimal lifestyle. We ALL have things to get rid of! But what’s important isn’t what you lose, it is what you gain. You gain back time, freedom, space, and joy. You lose clutter but you gain a sense of peace and clarity, knowing that your home is filled with things that bring you joy and love.
2. Minimalism is boring.
Another fear people have about minimalism is that it is boring, or they will be bored with fewer things. They picture all-white rooms with bare walls and no decor in sight. While this aesthetic may be ideal to some minimalists, you don’t have to adhere to this version of minimalism. Personally, I embrace a cozy minimalist look. I may not have clutter in my home, but I still have many items; items that bring me value and joy. Some of my favorite things to decorate my home are flowers, plants, candles, books, throw pillows, throw blankets, and wall decor. This is the beauty of minimalism. You can find an aesthetic that works for you and that makes you feel at home while banishing clutter at the same time. One of my favorite sites for home decor inspiration is Pinterest. There are many different degrees of minimalist decor that you can attain in your own home!
3. Minimalism is restrictive.
Minimalism does NOT equal deprivation. It isn’t getting rid of things that make you happy or make your life easier. Minimalism also is not refraining from buying things and becoming frugal. Frugality can definitely become a side effect of minimalism, and that can be a great thing! However, if there is something you want to purchase, BUY it! If you know that you will use it, that it will bring value to your life, then go for it! Minimalism is about being intentional and conscious of your purchases. It is about buying and making room for things that bring you purpose.
4. I have kids, therefore I cannot be a minimalist.
Many parents think that they cannot be minimalist if they have children. What about all their toys? What about their sentimental items? I believe that if you have children, that is all the more reason to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. You have more people in your home which brings more chance for clutter. Children can get distracted and overwhelmed so easily, which does not create a relaxed and joyful environment. Minimalism can benefit children greatly as they learn to appreciate the items they do have and get creative with them! By reducing the clutter in your family, you create more space and time for the little people who matter most to you.
- Toy Minimalism: How to Declutter Toys
- 8 Gentle Ways to Help Your Kids Declutter (When They Want to Keep it All)
5. I’ll have to get rid of the things or collections I love.
My husband has a pretty big DVD collection. When I first started decluttering the home we live in now, I asked if he would consider getting rid of his movies. I didn’t see the point in having them when he could just purchase the movies online. They were an eyesore to me and creating clutter I did not want to see.
He told me no. I got annoyed. So we made a compromise.
He would get rid of the movies he absolutely did not watch and found no value in. He kept his absolute favorites and the movies he couldn’t bear to part with. This is another advantage of the minimalist lifestyle! You can absolutely keep your collections. Minimalism is NOT getting rid of everything you own or getting rid of the things you love! Our compromise was getting rid of the excess and keeping the “best of the best” items. We still have a huge DVD collection, but my husband is happy. He would have been miserable had he followed my advice and gave away his movies, and I would have miserable knowing I made him miserable. Misery is not the goal of minimalism. It is living with fewer things so that you can enjoy what you do have more.
6. There are rules I must follow in order to be a minimalist.
Some people do follow rules when embracing minimalism. They may keep less than a certain number of items or participate in challenges. However, there is NO right or wrong way to be a minimalist, and you should never let somebody tell you that you are not a minimalist if your lifestyle doesn’t look like their lifestyle. Minimalism looks different to everyone. That’s what makes it so great. Everyone has the same goal, and that is to live more intentionally with less clutter so that you can put more time and effort to what truly matters. This is going to look different across the board.
That is not to say that there is no value in those rules or challenges. Experiment, play around, and see what works best for you!
7. Once I declutter my material items, I will be a minimalist.
It would be so easy to declutter our homes and call it a day. However, there is more than just physical clutter. There is also:
- Emotional Clutter
- Mental Clutter
- Digital Clutter
- Financial Clutter
This clutter may not be physical, but it is just as important (if not more important) to consider when embracing a minimalist lifestyle. Minimalism is getting rid of anything that no longer serves you, your life, or your values. This could mean clearing out financial debt, the thousands of files on your desktop, or negative thoughts and feelings. This can be even harder to rid yourself of than physical clutter, but that much more rewarding when it’s finally gone.
Now that we have cleared up these misconceptions, I hope you see how minimalism can be attainable and benefit everyone who chooses to embrace this lifestyle.
But how can downsizing your life help you live MORE? Let’s find out.
What are the benefits of minimalism and living a minimalist lifestyle?
Okay, so I have explained what minimalism is and what it is not. Now, I’m going to tell you WHY you should try minimalism and HOW you can benefit from it!
You should consider embracing a minimalist lifestyle if:
- Clutter is consuming your home and overwhelming you and your family.
- You are spending more time cleaning and organizing your things than actually enjoying them.
- There are so many items in your home that you constantly are losing things and subsequently lose money when you have to replace them.
- Money has become an issue and you want to start saving money, spending money wisely, and maybe get out of debt.
- You care about the environment.
- Your material possessions are distracting you from what truly matters to you, like spending time with your spouse and children.
- You are stressed out and just want some more time in your day.
If this sounds like you, minimalism may be the answer. You can live more when you own less! Not only that, you reap some amazing benefits from living a minimalist lifestyle! These benefits include:
- Less stress. The less we own, the less there is to worry about.
- Save money. When you become more intentional with your purchases, you save money by not spending mindlessly. This allows you to purchase higher quality items, and potentially get out of debt.
- Less to clean. The less you own, the less there is to clean.
- Environmentally friendly. Owning and purchasing less is better for the environment.
- More time. With minimalism, your possessions aren’t owning you. You aren’t drowning in a sea of clutter, and you are able to find your things easier. Time becomes attainable, and you can be more productive.
- More freedom. When we own less clutter, we have the freedom to focus on what matters most.
- Learn a valuable life lesson. When you adopt minimalism, you learn that joy does not have to be tied to material things.
How can I adopt a minimalist lifestyle?
You may be thinking…Okay! I’m ready! I want to take back my life and start simplifying my home and life. But how in the world do I start?
Here are five easy steps that you can start taking TODAY. There are many more steps ahead, but by starting here, you are setting yourself up for success later on down the road.
1. Write down your goals and why you want to embrace a minimalist lifestyle.
I firmly believe in writing down goals in order to reach them. It makes it more realistic and attainable when I can look at a goal and start taking steps to reach that goal. Your goals should stem from your “why.” WHY do you want to become a minimalist? What do you want to gain from this experience? Once you face tough decisions, like getting rid of sentimental clutter or letting go of negativity, you can focus on your why and remember why you started in the first place.
2. Start small.
When I started decluttering my home, I read that you should start with the hardest room in the house. I believe there is some value in that advice, but it did not work for me. I instantly became overwhelmed and wanted to give up. The hardest room in my house was a closet that I had used to store all of my childhood memories, which made the process even harder. I wasn’t prepared to let go of the nostalgic feelings and that sentimental clutter! So my advice is to start small and easy. Once you can clear out one room, or even a tiny section of a room, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. You will also gain confidence, which will help you when you have to face tough decisions later on.
3. Have a game plan for the items you are getting rid of.
If you don’t know what you’re going to do with your items once you get rid of them, you are less likely to do so. It is best to have a game plan for the items leaving your home. Will you donate them, give them to family, sell them, recycle them, or throw them in the trash? Consider where your things will be going that way when you are ready you can act quickly!
4. Be honest with yourself.
When you start decluttering your possessions, you are going to have to ask yourself many questions. You will have to consider the last time you used an item, and if you see yourself using that item in the near future. Being honest with yourself means letting go of clutter with sentimental attachment, items that you really want to use but know you won’t, possessions you don’t want to get rid of because they cost money, etc.
5. Bring in less.
Another easy step you can take to kickstart your minimalist journey is simply bringing in less into your home. I recommend purging before buying anything else, such as containers, baskets, or binders. Now is the time to start being aware of your purchases and the other items you bring into your home. Clutter will be easy to manage once you stop adding to it!
Whatever you do, make sure you are adopting a version of minimalism that sustainable for you. Don’t compare your journey with others. Some people are ready to run to the nearest dumpster with their things, and for others the process takes years. All that matters is that you do what works for you.
Final Thoughts on Minimalist Living
Now you know what minimalism means, what it doesn’t mean, and how adopting a minimalist lifestyle can greatly benefit you, I hope you consider making it work for your family!
Let me know in the comments if you live a minimalist lifestyle. Do you have any reservations about embracing minimalism? I can’t wait to hear from you!