It sounds dreamy doesn’t it? A simple life, simple living, back to basics. Whatever you call it, minimalist living is a goal fo so many people, but it’s one that doesn’t exactly have a clear path.
This is because ‘minimalist living‘ looks different for so many people, it doesn’t have a one size fits all approach because one size most certainly does not fit all.
So how do start living a more simple life? You go through these steps to help you get there:
1 – Decide What ‘Minimalism’ Is Going To Look Like For You
As we mentioned, minimalism looks different for everyone. Your idea of a simple, minimalist life might be different to someone else’s. Therefore, the very first step you need to take is to decide what ‘minimalism’ is going to look like for you.
Keep in mind, what this looks like now might be different to what it looks like in a few months or a year from now.
As we change our mindsets and our minimalist ideals evolve, so too does our picture of the ‘perfect’ minimalist life. The one we are working to achieve.
While you map our your idea of what minimalism is going to look like for you, set a reminder on your phone to check back in 6 months from now and see how different things look and reset your goals.
2 – Determine Your Motivation
Why do you want to live a more simple life? What has sparked you to change the way things are now and what is motivating you to create a new way of living?
Make note of these things, you might want to journal them or make a note in your phone, something that you can refer back to and remind yourself of what it is that is motivating you.
For me, personally, it’s all about my kids. I don’t want to fill their schedules and always be rushing around, I want to be able to take days out of our week and go sit by the creek and feed the ducks, or play in the park without stressing about ‘all the things’ that need to be done.
Living a simple and minimalist life has also helped me immensely when it comes to anxiety. I feel like it’s something I have control over and I don’t feel as overwhelmed as easily.
What is your motivation?
3 – Remind Yourself That Minimalism Is A Process
My fellow perfectionists and people pleasers will probably feel this one – you can’t be ‘perfect’ at minimalism. You can’t go from the way you are currently living to your perfect minimalist life within days (or weeks, or even months).
Minimalism is a process. It has layers you need to work through, stages you need to pass.
You might find that you declutter your closet 5 times this year, and each time you move closer to that Pinterest Perfect minimalist wardrobe you’ve been dreaming of.
But a mindset shift like this takes time and that is okay. It needs to take time in order for it to be sustainable.
4 – Start Simple, Start Small
When it comes to making big changes in your life, it’s important to start small and get a few ‘wins’ under you belt. This triggers off the reward centre in your brain and helps release dopamine, the reward (and addiction) neurotransmitter. It pretty much makes your brain say to you ‘good job, let’s do that again’.
Having these small wins helps you to continue with your move to a more minimalist lifestyle. It might be as simple as a quick declutter of your closet, or changing your morning routine to allow for less fuss of a morning (making school lunches the night before) and giving you more time for self care (or drinking your coffee while it’s still hot).
Choose one simple task that will make you feel like you’ve achieved a step towards your goal of minimalist living, and complete that task. Then repeat the process.
5 – Repeat Decluttering Processes
Speaking of repeating processes, when you declutter a space, don’t focus so much on doing it ‘perfectly’, but rather simply getting it done.
This is because as we evolve our minimalist mindset, our threshold for things like decluttering changes. What you remove from something like your wardrobe now will be different to what you find you want to remove from your wardrobe in six months.
What we mean by this is that you might be more inclined to hold on to more items now, not wanting to declutter or remove them, however in a few months time you might find that these items no longer serve you. Or you may find your reasons for wanting to keep them are no longer as important as they don’t help you achieve your minimalist lifestyle goals.
Set regular decluttering cycles, whether it’s every few months or every year – whatever works for you. This will allow you to keep evolving your process and help you keep on top of any clutter.
6 – Create Routines
Routines are an absolute saviour when it comes to living a simple life. They can make the biggest difference to your day, and having routines also means you don’t have to make as many little decisions in a day and therefore free up mental space and mental load too.
Routines like how you structure your morning (ie wake up, work out, coffee, make breakfast for the fam, get dressed, put the dishwasher on, get out the door) can also help everyone in the house understand exactly what is expected of them and keep your mornings (and the rest of your day) flowing well.
Keep in mind, there is a difference between a routine and a schedule. A routine is more about doing the same things in the same order each day, whereas a schedule is more about doing the same things at the same time for the same amount of time each day.
Whichever works for you is fine, however personally I find a routine far easier to stick to and adapt than I do a schedule.
Like decluttering, this is something that can evolve and change so don’t feel like once you’ve created a schedule that you have to stick to it. Make sure it is always serving you and is what you need it to be. It’s yours, make it whatever you want.
7 – Go Beyond ‘Things’
As you may have gathered from the previous point, a minimalist lifestyle and simple living go beyond the ‘things’ you have. The next step is to start looking at the other areas of your life and ask yourself if they are helping you work towards your simple life or if they are hindering you.
An example of this for me was my work schedule. My husband was working full time (in shift work and an on-call job) and I was working part-time in my job as well as working full-time on my business. Our son was in daycare a lot of the time and we rarely ever felt like we had any time together as a family.
We realised this wasn’t the way we wanted our life to look, it was always ‘busy’ and we never seemed to have enough time to do the things we wanted to do.
We sat down, reevaluated what was important to us, and started looking at ways to make it happen.
It actually made sense for us to job share our role (perks of working the same job) and therefore have far more time off work each, while maintaining a good income. It also meant we saved money in daycare fees and we were able to have far more family time together.
Essentially, we decluttered and simplified our work life – and we love it.
Look beyond the ‘things’ in your life for ways you can create your goal of simple living and a minimalist lifestyle. While it might not be as drastic of a change as switching jobs or working less hours, there may be small tweaks you can make which all add up to living a much more fulfilling and simple life.
Changing your way of life to a more minimalist and simple way of living doesn’t have to be overwhelming and it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Start with your goals, start simple and work towards the goals you want in your life. Little by little and step by step you will get there.