Do you find yourself being surrounded by too much stuff? Do you want to start living a minimalist lifestyle with fewer possessions, and spend more on quality life building experiences? Living a minimalist life is life-changing, as you will find yourself with more time and freedom, and more money because you learned to only buy things you need! This guest post from another blogger, Emily will help you change your mindset!
Minimalism is not a one-off action, it’s a lifestyle, a philosophy and a mindset. Also, there are no absolute rules of a minimalist lifestyle, someone who owns 50 clothes or 200 clothes can still be called a minimalist. It’s all about the mindset and habits you have that are aligned with minimalism. If you also want to start living a minimalist life, below are the top 5 habits you can adopt to start your own minimalist lifestyle with less clutter, more joy and freedom.
Get inspired by minimalists
When you decide to start living a minimalist life, you may not be sure where to start or what you can do. Getting inspiration and suggestions from others is very helpful. Minimalism is not a new thing so there are many books, blogs and podcasts you can get nowadays. It is always good to learn more and get inspired by experienced people.
Here are the 5 books every minimalist beginner must read. From what minimalism is, how to apply it to real life, step by step guide for decluttering, to personal journeys from consumerism to minimalism, they are the best picks if you want to start living a minimalist lifestyle.
(i) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
(ii) Sustainable Minimalism by Stephanie Marie Seferian
(iii) Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki
(iv) The More of Less by Joshua Becker
iv) The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
Decluttering is an essential stage to start a minimalist life. However, people misunderstood the true meaning of decluttering and thinking it’s only about binning most of the possessions.
Decluttering is not only about binning unwanted things, instead, it’s a process to review all the things you have, and only keep those you need and love 100%. When decluttering, you should pick up each item one by one and ask yourself if you really need it. Below are the 5 questions to ask to decide whether you should keep the item or declutter:
- When was the last time I used it?
- Is it something I will use in the following 3 months?
- Do I have a similar item?
- Is it something I love 100%?
- Is this item still working well without faculty?
Decluttering is an ongoing process. Even if you have done a complete decluttering for your house and wardrobe now, you should review your stuff from time to time. Minimalism doesn’t mean not buying anything, but buying things you need. So when things are not needed or broken and can’t be fixed, you will buy a new one, and declutter the old one. The reason for reviewing can also remind you that you already have more than enough things, and stop your desire to go shopping.
Learn to buy less
It is not enough to just declutter to keep only things needed, learning to buy less is also a useful habit to live minimally. You have to learn to be intentional when shopping, instead of buying things just because of sudden desires.
Every human has unlimited wants, so to practice buying less and be more mindful when shopping, here are some useful tips to help you have a minimalist lifestyle:
(i) Unsubscribe store newsletters
Newsletters play a role to tell you the unlimited and amazing new items they have throughout the year. Once you click on it, there is no surprise that you end up checking out with items you really don’t need. Unsubscribing store newsletters make you have less chance to be exposed to their “new season” or “sale” news.
(ii) Unfollow stores social media accounts
We tend to buy things when we find them nice in advertisements. However, we are not models, the dress is nice on the model doesn’t mean it suits us. The lamp you found beautiful in the purposely decorated house on a furniture store account may not fit your own house. Brands spend a lot of time to make their product perfectly presented on social media, we should not buy them just because they look nice on social media. If you find yourself easily buying things because of this, unfollow the accounts to avoid unnecessary shopping.
(iii) Make a shopping list
Every one of us may have the experience of walking into a shop just wanting to buy a pair of shoes, but we walk out from the shop with 4 big shopping bags. A shopping list can help to limit yourself to only things on the list, it reinforces your shopping intention.
(iv) Stay away from the sale
Sales is an easy trap to fall into. No one wants to miss out on great offers and cheaper prices. But it is most of the time a marketing strategy. If you pay more attention to the sales pattern, you will find out sales actually happen frequently throughout the year – spring sale, valentines offer, pro-summer sale, autumn reduction, end of season offer etc, brands will make use of every possible season and festival to provide “offer”.
Also, many people will buy unnecessary things from a sale. The FOMO (fear of missing out) happens to most people because everyone likes a good bargain. Originally you planned to buy a bottle of shampoo, but when you see the offer buy 3 get 1 free, even though you don’t need a hair conditioner and other body care products, you will force yourself to get an extra 2 bottles to enjoy the offer. In the end, you spend money to buy things you don’t really need.
(v) Avoid wandering in shopping malls
Some people have the habit of wandering around in shopping malls when they have nothing to do. This is dangerous as many will end up shopping and getting unnecessary things.
Wandering around shopping malls creates opportunities for you to go into shops, discover more sales or arouse your wants on something you never thought of before.
Appreciate small things
Living a minimalist lifestyle not only means owning less stuff, but also learning to pay more attention to the small things around you. Because you will spend less time taking care of your possessions, you can focus more on things happening around you, from the small plant you’re growing on the balcony, to the first cake you bake in your life.
By appreciating small things, you can enjoy the simple joy by focusing more on the little things around you. You will then realise you don’t need to own a lot to be happy.
If you want to get more inspiration on looking for these small things in your life, this book has shown 100 ways on how to have a simple life. You’ll be surprised how much we have missed because of our busy modern life.
Zen: The art of simple living by Shunmyo Masuno is a great read.
Experience over possessions
The philosophy behind minimalism also includes letting people experience more in life than spending time taking care of their possessions. Minimalists believe experiences are more precious than possessions – we should spend more time with our family, friends, partner, pets, as well as our own self.
Try to put down your phone and create experiences. Do things you have never done before, no matter if it is pottery, watercolour painting, yoga, camping, surfing etc. Only experiences will create a long-lasting memory in your life, it is something you can share with friends, or your grandkids after a few decades (I’m sure you won’t tell your grandkids you bought a pair of £200 jeans but an amazing trip to Italy).
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