7 Simple Techniques if You’re Looking to Become Minimalist
By Cora Gold, Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist
Minimalism is a popular trend that many people have begun to adhere to. The prices of everything from groceries to home decor are increasing, and some individuals want to add a clean look to their homes while doing away with unnecessary possessions and purchases.
It might be easier than you think to become mimimalist.
What Is Minimalism?
Minimalism is a stark contrast to the society that promotes materialism and having the most and the best of everything. Many people find fulfillment in living a minimalist lifestyle, especially since it means they don’t have much to keep up with. It also adheres to a more eco-friendly way of living, as you aren’t wasting money on things that will be thrown away and instead investing in items that will serve their purposes well.
Further reading: What Is Minimalism? A Beginner’s Guide
Minimalism is the opposite of maximalism. In a maximalist house, you might see frames and decor hanging over all the walls, with every space covered and several things to dust. Minimalism is the exact opposite — the decorations you have typically serve a purpose, and those that don’t are used sparingly and enhance the space rather than distract the eye.
You can’t become a minimalist all at once — it takes time to shift your mindset from the materialistic one society promotes to one that supports the environment and your wallet. Try these techniques to transform your lifestyle over time.
Everyone’s minimalism journey has to start somewhere. First, you need to examine your house and see what you don’t need anymore. When you clear out all the clutter and unnecessary items, you will realize which gaps you need to fill in your home. You can follow a method to make the decluttering process go by faster.
The KonMari Method was coined by Marie Kondo, who strives to help people declutter their homes and live a simpler life by retaining only items that “spark joy.” This strategy has worked for countless households. Instead of going room by room, you’ll declutter by category, which is so much easier for many people. Dealing with all your clothes or papers at one time, rather than confronting them whenever you start on a new room, can ensure you aren’t missing anything.
How long will you use this object? Do you think it’ll add positive value to your life for long enough to justify the price, or is it just a knickknack? If you wait before making a purchase, you might not even need that item. Waiting is key to determining if you really need something or are just buying it on impulse because it would be nice to have. Impulse spending can be bad for your budget but can also clutter your home.
Add things to your cart when shopping online, but don’t hit that “purchase now” button. Instead, give it a day or two. Come back later and see if you still desire the items as strongly as you did when you first added them. That exercise will tell you whether you need the product or if your eyes simply drew you to it.
Focusing on a “less is more” perspective can create a cleaner aesthetic for everything around you, including the events you host. Minimalism is one of the most popular wedding trends this year, which works great because it’s a budget-friendly way to plan your special day while adhering to a clean, simplistic and classy aesthetic.
Learning how to host effectively can also help bring your costs down. If you’re a social butterfly who likes to plan gatherings, you may tend to go all-out for your parties. Learning to keep your get-togethers minimalistic means fewer items you need to buy. Plus, your guests will focus more on each other than the decor around them.
What do you focus more on when you go on vacation — the souvenirs or the experience? To live a minimalist life, you don’t necessarily need things from every trip — unless it’s something incredibly memorable, such as a honeymoon. You may find that gifting experiences makes people happier. This tends to bring more joy to older children who may enjoy doing something rather than receiving an item. This can work the same for adults.
Keep this fact in mind when you’re purchasing gifts for other people. Cut back on waste and give them experiences instead. A trip to the zoo or local animal sanctuary might be great if you’re giving to a family with children. You could provide a couple with tickets to a concert they’ve wanted to attend. Make it known that experiences are more valuable and people will likely follow suit.
Minimalism truly benefits the organized. You’ll have a mess in your home again before you know it if you aren’t organizing your sentimental or practical items somewhere. Teaching yourself how to do this is an essential part of a minimalist lifestyle. For example, opt for furniture that has storage options so you can keep blankets, dishes and anything else you may need.
Learn how to store items you don’t need at the moment and cut back on seasonal decorations. Use your attic or basement to keep extra storage out of sight. Eventually, you may be able to cut down on all your decor and have just a few things you swap out for every season. It could be enough to show a subtle change while not looking out of place in your minimalistic home.
A cleaning routine can help your minimalist home stay decluttered. Try to find something that feels manageable in your daily schedule. You don’t have to deep clean your house every day to adhere to minimalism, but having something in place can help you avoid the clutter.
You can also think of your cleaning routine as a way to declutter. If you tend to pile things up on the kitchen table when you get home, take one day out of your week to go through all the new papers and items that may have fallen into your catch-all pile. Deal with the messes as they happen without letting them get too out of control, and you should be able to retain a minimalistic style and sense of cleanliness.
Remember to also clean out your personal belongings. Set up regular times to cycle through things like clothes, games and other items you may not use as much as you used to. Seasonal items can be stored until you need them or the weather calls for them. Otherwise, if it’s just taking up space after you first decluttered your home, pass it on to someone else or trash it.
What’s the source of your happiness? Do you find it through objects or experiences? Some people may feel joyful when they buy things — that’s why “retail therapy” exists as a term for people under stress who buy things to make themselves feel better. In the end, do those objects really make you happy, or are they just a stand-in?
Once you’ve decluttered and deep cleaned your home, leaving only the essentials and limited extras, you can start to search for what makes you happy. For some, that may be purchasing new items they can use in their homes. If shopping leads to happiness, try to focus on buying quality items that will last a while. Consumerism often only brings temporary happiness, so it’s better to limit your spending and focus on more meaningful things.
Other people may notice that they feel happiest when experiencing new things with loved ones. That should tell them that saving for experiences is more worthwhile than planning for some extravagant item. The key is to find out what motivates you and chase that happiness while adhering to a minimalist lifestyle.
The road to minimalism might be difficult, but it’s a self-challenging process that will help you understand what you have and how much you use. Living an eco-friendly life isn’t always easy, but once you make the switch, you’ll see what you’ve been missing all these years.
You’ll appreciate how clean and spacious your home feels, and you might feel content with a smaller wardrobe and fewer knickknacks. It’s a major change from the lifestyle that society glamorizes, but it may also be more fulfilling to preserve the environment and stay on a budget.
About the Author
Cora Gold has a passion for writing about life, happiness and sustainability. As Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist, she loves to share her insights and find inspiration from others. Follow Cora on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.