How to Shift to a Minimalist Mindset: 5 Simple Steps

The Benefits of a Minimalist Mindset, and Simple Tips to Declutter Your Life

By Cora Gold, Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist

You rush off to work in a hurry, coffee slipping around the edges of your cup and onto your shirt. On the commute, cars honk and birds squawk outside your window. Once home, there seem to be a million chores and tasks to do. You can only get some rest sprawled on the living room chair, online shopping and sighing. Life can be chaotic, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Minimalism seeks to understand the connections between you and the natural world, decluttering your home and mind to satisfy your needs better. With a calming mindset that values time and love over money, minimalism is the future of happiness. Read on to learn how you can shift to a minimalist mindset.

Our other guides on minimalism:

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism is a mindset and style of living that recognizes the temporary nature of materials and values the “less is more” ideal. Minimalists purchase needs instead of “wants” and ruminate over the purposes of their habits and daily routines. By focusing on meaning and the transitory nature of the material world, they strengthen their connection to other people and their own happiness.

Many minimalists also believe this lifestyle will look different for everybody. Someone living alone may have the time and space to cultivate a sleek and clean look for the inside of their apartment. They can shop for one while carefully considering their needs and organizing their schedule around their happiness.

However, a caregiver or parent has to consider other people in their lifestyle. Their minimalism may look like donating a box of clothes once a month or mindfully grocery shopping. There is ultimately no “minimalist look” everyone must follow. Whichever way prioritizes simple happiness is minimalism.

How to Shift to a Minimalist Mindset: A cityscape from a high vantage point under a blue sky

Adopting a Minimalist Mindset

Letting go of the material world can lead to a peaceful disposition. A recent study found 80% of people who practiced simple living reported feelings of well-being, showing that shifting to minimalism has clear connections to happiness and inner peace. Here are some ways to do just that.

1. Declutter and Donate

One way to adopt a minimalist mindset is by decluttering the physical spaces of your home. Clutter — like dirty clothes or trash — subtly reminds you of unfinished tasks. Seeing mounds of laundry for days on end can place a strain on the mind and invite more anger or frustration.

Everyone has boxes stuffed in the attic that could be donated, too. As a general rule, unopened boxes for one year should go. Not only is this a good deed for the community, but you may start to feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. Less clutter means a less chaotic household.

Check out your closets, too. The fast fashion industry preys on the low durability and high trendiness of their clothing, encouraging people to buy microtrends and discard slightly worn items. This industry generated a massive amount of CO2 last year, more than a combination of aviation and shipping. To do your part for the good of the globe, consider using clothing for as long as possible and learn how to mend small tears and stains.

2. Memories Over Materials

Shopping is a part of modern culture and can be a fun way to hang out with friends and family. However, it can also be tempting to overspend and fill your home space with distracting clutter.

First, you must understand the difference between your needs and wants. Minimalism urges people to nourish their needs, like family, friendships, safe shelter and food. Appreciating when you meet these needs leads to a more realized sense of inner satisfaction. Write daily gratitudes in a small journal or on your phone to track the gifts in your life.

Secondly, seek out exciting experiences instead of knick-knacks or gadgets that fill up space in your home. If you enjoy shopping with a friend, consider window shopping instead. It fulfills the same experience but emphasizes the friendship instead of the bags coming home with you. Cultivating meaningful memories, photographs and journal entries will always be more important than what you can buy in a store.

How to Shift to a Minimalist Mindset: Succulents and a meanering walk through a botanical garden

3. Unplug Sessions

Minimalism values time as much as it does mental health and cleanliness. You can declutter your space and mind, but what about your schedule? Kind and loving people often have difficulty saying “no” to others. They don’t want to let them down or miss out on meaningful connections. However, prioritizing your time is crucial to mental health and can improve your relationships in the long run.

Minimalism is also often associated with the Costa Rican idea of “pura vida,” or “pure life.” Like minimalism, pura vida values spending time well. Seek out time to explore nature, find beauty and spend time with loved ones. This way of life also discourages excessive worrying. Your schedule can easily be bogged down with obligations and deadlines, but focusing on pura vida aspects can lead to a more relaxed mindset.

Turn off social media notifications and emails to start living in the moment. These are little distractions throughout the day, leaving you frazzled and fragmented over where to turn your attention. They can also disrupt conversations with friends and family. Focus on the now by leaving more free time in your schedule, letting go of worry and living without digital reminders.

4. Go Green

Because the minimalist mindset considers the purpose of every task and object, many minimalists attempt to live more sustainably with innovative products. For example, shampoo bar soaps have less plastic packaging and bamboo toothbrushes are compostable.

While these practices help you better understand your relationship with the Earth, do not throw away your current products to buy new sustainable ones. Consider your needs and use objects until they have reached the end of their use.

How to Shift to a Minimalist Mindset: Ferns and a flower up close

5. Simple Shopping

Society often tells people they need the newest gadgets or the shiniest car on the lot. However, these goals are merely superficial. Brand names do not bring happiness the same way meaningful connections with other people do. Again, minimalism prioritizes these memories over audacious spending habits.

Simple shopping is a way to reduce overspending and waste. When grocery shopping or browsing a store, make a detailed list beforehand. Only put the items you need had the intention of buying in your cart. Whenever something catches your eye or seems incredibly important at the moment, make a tally.

At the end of your list, review the tally. Do you remember what any of these marks stood for? If you can still vividly remember the item, you can go back and check its price and usefulness. Often, though, people find the impulse to buy disappears as they move on to another aisle. Practice simple shopping to create a decluttered life and a better attitude toward money.

Becoming a Minimalist

Shifting to a minimalist mindset creates a clear connection between you and your happiness. Cut down on clutter to find a peaceful and clean living space. Value the present and the loved ones around you. Shop and use technology thoughtfully and make good decisions for the planet. With these steps, you can find serenity and a more fulfilling life with minimalism.

Cora Gold

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 FacebookPinterest and Twitter.

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