The word “minimalist” has become such a hot trending word and it carries so many different meanings these days. I actually think that’s a good thing — considering there’s a lot of stigma that comes from people labeling themselves as such. Many times, people think if you’re a minimalist, you live in a 4×4 with white walls and maybe one chair. Or maybe they think you don’t go out and socialize because you don’t find value in spending money. They could also think that you wear nothing but a Steve Job’s uniform day in and day out. No room for experimenting.
Sure, I think that’s how it started. And quite honestly there’s nothing wrong with that if it brings those people joy and they’re now able to live out their own truth. But I want to ensure that you know that being a minimalist doesn’t have to mean just one way of living. For instance, I consider myself a minimalist, but I have a full closet (with things I love), I go out with friends (whom I love spending time with), I have candles all over my home and decor items and wall art hanging on the walls.. (because they make me feel calm and bring me inspiration) But my approach to minimalism comes down to this single question: does it add value?
If you were to look up minimalism in the dictionary, this is what it would say:
What is minimalism?
: one who favors restricting the functions and powers of a political organization or the achievement of a set of goals to a minimum
a : an artist who creates minimal art
b : an adherent of minimalism
The benefits of minimalism
My personal view on minimalist living is quality over quantity, and it isn’t just about “things”. In fact, it’s hardly about things at all. I view minimalism on a spiritual, internal level —rather than surface. Does that resonate with you at all? I know when I started out on this path, I was following along with minimalist bloggers and writers, and was just like “man, I really love their voice and their message but this is just way too intense for me. This just doesn’t quite hit home for me.” So I took, and continue to take, the inspiration from them that suits my lifestyle, and I adapt and adjust to make it work for me. Quite frankly, committing to this way has completely changed my life.
If you’re in the same boat, I encourage you to try it out for yourself. It’s not one size fit’s all, and quite frankly, it never will be. So if you’re feeling like you don’t want to get rid of all of your things (me either!) but you’re ready to declutter and simplify just a little bit, and you want to do some internal work, I’ve got you covered with an easy list below. I’ve typed out 20 different things you can try, day by day, that will eventually lead you into a more minimalist lifestyle that feels good and maintainable to you and your every day lifestyle.
How to become a minimalist
Skip makeup 1-2 times per week & let your skin breathe
Letting go of the pressure or the need to be in full make up every day isn’t a healthy way to live. And it isn’t healthy for your skin. Take just 1-2 days out of the week to let your skin be on it’s own — just as it is. (but don’t forget your sunscreen!)
Minimize your digital devices
Learn what you need, and stick with just that. Do you really need cable? Or could you live with something like Roku? (that’s what we do!) Also, full disclosure: at one point, I had 4 computers, 2 iPads, a kindle and an iPhone. I’m sorry, what? Even just typing that made me feel stressed. Know what you need, sell the rest.
Use a smaller bag and keep less inside of it
If you’re someone that tends to throw everything into your bag, consider using a smaller purse to avoid (and eventually break) this habit. Less room, less stuff = on your way to a simpler life.
Stop carrying receipts, use an app instead
In relation to the above, downloading an app that allows you take photos of your recipes and store them for you is a much better way to go, rather than building up your wallet with bulk. This is a great one.
Keep a gratitude journal
Always stay in line with what makes you grateful. Prioritize this on your journey towards minimizing and slowing down.
Use a to-do list to keep track of your priorities
Honoring what’s truly important is an impactful way to start your day. Choose your top 3, and allow yourself some bonus items, if needed. But really hone in on those 3 things that would make you breathe just a bit easier if they were off your plate.
Pretend like you don’t have a storage space
If you have a storage unit or an attic, use the brain power to pretend like that isn’t an option. This is especially important for those of you who may have hoarding tendencies.
Delegate your days to certain errands and tasks
Have a weekly flow. Know what days work best for you to run your errands, and what days work best for you to stay home and write. Avoiding unnecessary back and forth will dramatically simplify your life.
Pretend like you don’t have a junk drawer
Just like the storage space tip, avoid building up a junk drawer. If you can’t find a proper space for it, chances are you don’t need it that much.
Stay offline for an entire day every week
For me, this day is Sunday. I wake up feeling so much lighter on this day just knowing that I don’t need to show up for anyone online. Give yourself that freedom and space.
Leave the house without your phone
Double dog dare you :) It feels amazing (and a little weird)
Turn off notifications
Do yourself this favor. If you can’t think to check something own your own, that means it doesn’t need to be checked in that moment. Don’t let notifications take you out of your daily rhythm and flow. Protect your quiet time and turn them off. (if you really need a reminder, set an alarm)
Let go of toxic relationships (one at a time)
There’s no space for negativity in your life. Quality over quantity. Let them go.
Donate old books to charity or a local hospital
I’ve found that books are one of the biggest struggles for people with a lot of “stuff”. One way to part with the books that don’t hold deep meaning to you or that you don’t love is to donate them to your local hospital, local schools or a charity of your choosing that could use this sort of material.
Get back to basics and send snail mail to friends & family
Minimize your time online, and embrace the lost art of handwriting. It makes those feel so much closer to you when they’re reading your actual writing, rather than letters from a keyboard. If you really want to save money (which you should!), don’t buy cards. Whip out a piece of notebook paper, middle school style.
Journal your thoughts in the morning
Reflect and unleash any and all feelings when you wake up in the morning. Get them out of your head, and start the day fresh. Minimize any negative thoughts that maybe crept in over night. Start new.
Turn your phone on airplane mode while working on tasks (or for no reason at all)
This is something I’ve started doing regularly and I love it.
Create a morning & night time rhythm
I blogged all about my beauty rhythm from start to finish over here, but having a daily morning & evening flow is key to living a life of balance and mindfulness. This doesn’t mean there’s no room for switch ups or spontaneity, but having a groove to come back to that soothes you is a lovely habit to take up.
READ: My morning rhythm
Clean out your closet & only keep what you love
Don’t get rid of anything & everything if you don’t want to. The Kon Mari method suggests that you hold each item in your hand and ask if it sparks joy. You can do that if you want, but you don’t have to do that, either. My whole vision on this is: if it makes me feel good when I wear it, I’m keeping it. If I always question myself when I wear it, it belongs to someone else.
Buy more plants
One way to fill your home with warmth and decor is to bring in living, breathing plants. Not only are they beautiful, but there are so many air filtering plants out there that can benefit your health. (plus you’re building up a green thumb in the process)