How to Start Living a More Minimalist Lifestyle
Have you ever asked yourself, ” What do you really need in this life?”. It is often a lot less than you think, but I feel it’s also important to point out this isn’t about living completely without, we aren’t trying to sacrifice things here, we are trying to find the happy medium. When we understand our needs, we then can determine the form and function of our lives.
A minimalist lifestyle is not for everyone. But in this hectic world, many of us feel that call — to have less, to spend less, to do less, to need less. Where does one start on the path to minimalism?
Why do feel the need to have so much stuff? Is it because we are marketed to from the time we are born to the time we die? On any given day we are exposed to about 3500 messages telling us to buy something. Marketers do a very good job of getting us to part with our hard earned money.
The idea is that we purchase things which remind us of happy things, of our hopes and wants, of our dreams, but they do not themselves bring us happiness. In fact, internally, I think this actually creates inner turmoil because our desires go unmet. And then we feel the pull to buy something else in the hope that we feel happy. A perfect example is having a desktop or screen saver of a white sands beach, it constantly reminds us of us not being there, and it doesn’t seem healthy.
I also think that we are not equipped to just accept ourselves for who we are. To just be happy and content with our lives. And thus we feel a need to fill this void with shopping for useless items. Why is it so hard to just sit and do nothing? To go for a walk or hike or to cozy up with a good book?
Living a minimalist lifestyle does take a shift in thinking. It goes against the very grain of our society. A society that screams at us to spend more, have more and do more. We need to know what things are worth striving for, to know what things we must pursue, but they should be achievable with hard work. At the same time, we need to be okay with not having things that we will never have and shift focus to the things we do.
Related: Buddha Quotes To help You reflect
Is it time to declutter?
This seems pretty obvious, but it can be the most painful step for folks who have a real attachment to many of their items. Start slow and intentionally. Throw out or donate everything you obviously don’t need first. Then take and hide everything you think you could do without for a few months, to give yourself distance to be able to give them away. Then use that motivation to gather the courage to take decluttering as extreme as what works for your dream, minimal lifestyle.
You will find that the more stuff you manage to pass on for other people to enjoy the more free you will feel. This is a powerful observation. It does make you understand that we do not need as much stuff as we are told.
With the average house in the U.S. containing around 300000 items I am sure we can see the need for a little purging of our unused items. There are people in our own communities that are actually in need of what you no longer want. Why not just pass it on for someone else to enjoy?
If you are a self described shopaholic who is used to many creature comforts just stat with a minimalist lifestyle weekend to get you into the groove of minimalist living. Declutter one closet. Take one day for yourself where you just take it easy and do nothing. Use this as a jumping off point to simplifying your life.
Every time you even think about pulling out your credit card ask yourself, “do I really need this?”. Why are you wanting to purchase it? Chances are if you want a couple of days you will find that you did not need that item at all. It was a feeling that came from within and that was it. Let it go. As the questions and their answers sink in, you will probably find yourself realizing you don’t need many of the items you impulsively buy.
Remind yourself why a simple life is important to you
Why are you doing this? To have less, to want less? Only you can answer these questions. The differentiation between wants and needs is a tricky lesson to learn. We are exposed to a consumer culture that makes it hard for us to even separate these things. So this part is a gradual process that many of us still find ourselves grappling with. It has been taught to us from a young age that accumulation of things is better. The more stuff we have, the better we are. The psychology of these things cannot be understated; we need to dig deep into ourselves to examine our motivations.
You need less than you think.
Are you aiming to live a more minimal lifestyle, at home and in other parts of your life? I would love if you shared your thoughts, tips, ideas and lessons learned in the comments below!