Admin on September 10, 2014 3 Comments Once you have made the decision to live a more minimalistic lifestyle, you may be wondering how you can practically live out your new commitment? For the purposes of this article, minimalism will be defined as “removing clutter of all types from your life.” The primary focus is to get rid of what you do not absolutely need, which will de-clutter your life very, very quickly, as you will see. That involves refusing to listen to what advertisers tell you that you need, an important element of minimalism. Let’s also assume that you have already worked through the mental portion of being a minimalist, that you have decided to live without so many material possessions and downsize. This new lifestyle not only allows you to reduce your carbon footprint, but also live in a much smaller space to save everything from trees to energy. The Best Books About Minimalism on Amazon How Minimalism Differs For Everyone Before we jump into the primary ways you can live a more minimalist lifestyle, we must also understand that minimalism will look different for everyone. A family of six will have a quite difficult time moving into a tiny house, but for a bachelor, that might be his major move towards minimalism. Some minimalists, for instance, eschew many facets of modern technology, while others have smartphones, iPads, iMacs, fancy appliances and other electronic goodies that they need for everyday life—or maybe even to make a living. The fact being that even a large family can make the move to minimalism, even though that would look drastically different than it would for others. Minimalistic Lifestyle Tips Now, to put pen to paper. Here are our seven favorite tips to help you make the changes you need to live a more minimalistic lifestyle. By following these tips, you’ll have an easier time transitioning to this type of lifestyle. 1. Visualize & List What You Don’t Need Make a list of what your life will look like with less stuff and less clutter, both in your home and in your mind. As you write about this, jot down specific ideas for getting to the point where you want to, concluding with actionable steps. For instance, you can write down “free up more time to spend with my family,” then add “don’t renew membership at golf club.” 2. Remove anything You Don’t Need Consistently Remove anything from your house and schedule that you do not need on a consistent basis. You can begin with discarding duplicates. Two sets of measuring cups become one, two copies of the same book are halved in volume instantly, two sets of place mats become one, two different coffee makers are reduced to just one. Put all of your duplicate items aside in a box for 30 days. If they are not needed within that time, then you should give them away or sell them. This is a quick and easy way to get rid of items that you have little to no need for. 3. Create a Clutter-Free Zone Establish a clutter-free zone and expand it with time. Start with a countertop in your kitchen and prevent any unnecessary objects from resting on it. As you enjoy that lack of clutter, enlarge your clutter-free zone to include the rest of your kitchen, then the living room, and onward until your entire house is a clutter-free zone. Not only will this help create a habit of reducing clutter, but it will also give your home that minimal look you want. 4. Clean Out Your Closet A couple of guiding principles can help here. One says that if you haven’t worn something within the past six months (differing seasons taken into consideration), then donate it. One simple way to keep track of this, is to turn all of your hangers one direction, let’s say with the hook facing back to you. Whenever you hang something back up, turn the hook of the hanger the opposite direction. At the end of the six months, you can clearly see what clothes you did or didn’t wear depending on which direction the hanger is facing. For more details about how to save space in your closet, please read this article about closet organization. Another idea that has recently become popular is called Project 333. The idea behind this is to pick out a wardrobe of 33 items and that’s all you will use for 3 months to dress yourself. Please note, this would also exclude a few items, including underwear, nostalgic pieces of jewelry, pajamas and workout clothing. Ideally, the items you select would be a wardrobe that you can live with for three consecutive months. After the three months is over, you’ll have a better idea of what you can and cannot live with inside your closet. 5. Take An Inventory of Your Stuff You probably can’t tackle this in a single Saturday, but you could if you spread it over a few weeks. Go from room to room and ask the simple question, “Do I need this?” If not, donate it or sell it. Sometimes, selling an item can take more time than it’s worth. If you are hard-pressed for money, then by all means sell what you can, but if not, consider the amount of time needed to sell that old record album. Many consignment stores allow you to sell old clothes and other items simply by bringing them by and giving the store a share of the profit. The idea behind this is to get rid of anything that you don’t absolutely need to have. Instead, make a little bit of money off of it and clear up the excess clutter at the same time. 6. Keep Shopping to a Minimum Don’t hang out in malls or on downtown streets loaded with shops that beckon you to buy items you do not need. Remember, you are moving in the opposite direction from that siren’s call! When you do shop, decide if you actually need what you are considering for purchase. How long will you use it? Why exactly are you buying it? To keep up with the accumulation of others? Again, you are moving in the opposite direction, against the flow. If you don’t absolutely need it, then why buy it? 7. Consider Downsizing Your Dwelling Now that you’ve gotten rid of ⅔ of your material possessions, do you still need to live in a four-bedroom house? Is your apartment suddenly too big for you now that you’ve ditched the treadmill you never used and realized one television was enough? If you find yourself in this situation, consider moving into a smaller living space. Not only will you save lots of money, but you will be reinforcing your new minimalist attitude towards life. Simple Pleasures Bring the Most Joy As you pursue a minimalistic lifestyle, don’t become overly strict and think that minimalism means no joy or sentimentality. You don’t technically “use” a photo of your family from 20 years ago, but it still means as much to you as any possession you own. Keep it. You will need to trim your keepsakes in all likelihood, but you don’t need to discard them for the sake of cutting down on possessions. The same goes for regular items on your schedule that bring you a lot of joy. Sure, that $4 latte is not something a rice farm hand in Vietnam can afford on a daily basis, but it is one of the highlights of your week, not just the taste, but the company and the atmosphere. Keep it. As you seek to become a minimalist you will actually discover, or re-discover, that simple pleasures can bring upon the most happiness for you, not the expensive vacations or cars that many believe like to think. Another tip that veteran minimalists recommend is taking a picture of anything that you are having an especially difficult time giving away. Having the ability to look back at your keepsake, even if it’s just a photo, can often help you let that item go. As you de-clutter your life on all levels, you will be thrilled to find out that as you own fewer possessions, you need far less time to maintain them. This will open up all sorts of time in your life, the most precious possession of all. Swim against the flow and you will win the race for meaning in life.