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Whether you’ve watched the TED Talks about minimalism and felt inspired, or if you’re just over living a cluttered life and want to simplify your life, starting to add minimalism into your world can be a little overwhelming at first. Do you have to throw everything away? Sleep on the floor? Eat only rice and beans? Uh… no.
One of the best things about living a minimalist lifestyle is that you get to create the rules. Sure, there are guidelines and inspiration you can gain from others, but really, it all comes down to you, what you want your life to be and the choices you make. How awesome is that?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to minimalism, but to get you going, here are some things you can do to start living a minimalist lifestyle and creating a life you love.
1 – Decide What ‘Minimalism’ Is Going To Look Like For You
First things first, you need to decide what minimalism is going to look like for you. What do you want your minimalist life to look like and how does it fit with what is important to you.
You don’t have to create something elaborate, and your choices here aren’t set in stone. Often when you’re starting out as a minimalist, you try a few things out to see how they fit with you and your life and then make modifications as you go.
The details aren’t as important as the overall picture. What is it you want your minimalist lifestyle to look and feel like. Write it down. This is what you will keep coming back to.
2 – Choose Things You Can Eliminate From Your Life
This is one of the most fun steps of all. It can be a little uncomfortable at first, but once you get into the swing of things, you’ll be cutting things from your life left and right.
So, for this, you are looking at what is taking up space in your life, whether it’s physical space, mental space, or emotional space, that isn’t serving a purpose.
Toxic friends, possessions you don’t use, gym memberships you never go to, anything that isn’t being used, doesn’t make you happy or doesn’t serve a purpose. Eliminate them!
3 – Declutter Your Space
You don’t have to Marie Kondo your home within an inch of its life for you to consider yourself a minimalist. But, you do need to clear the clutter.
Clutter not only takes up physical space, but it also takes up emotional and mental space too, and you probably don’t even realise it.
Start with a simple room that you can knock over in a day so you can learn to flex your decluttering muscles. Then start moving room to room until you feel like you’ve got a good handle on things. Don’t feel like you have to get it perfect the first time. I often say that you should declutter a room at least twice to start, and then regularly from then on (you’re often more ruthless the more you do it).
4 – Simplify Your Routines
What does your daily and weekly routine look like? If it’s anything like mine, it often feels like absolute chaos, in a rush and constantly feeling like you’re running late. This is when I know I need to go back and simplify my routines again.
This is even more prevalent when you have kids. Create routines for yourself for the mornings, afternoons and nights. It might be that you eat breakfast and get dressed in the same order every day, or that homework is done before play, or at night you might make the school lunches for the next day at the same time you are prepping dinner.
Look for ways you can simplify and streamline your routines and stick with them.
5 – Automate Your Finances
This step is often overlooked when it comes to living a minimalist lifestyle, and people often forget to include their finances in their decluttering and routines. But they play such a huge role in your mental and emotional decisions that they absolutely must be included.
Automating your finances is a game changer. Set up one account that all of your bill payments come out of. Work out how much you need to put in there each pay cycle based on what your total expenses are for a year and divide it by the number of pay cycles you have. This way if you have a bill that comes in quarterly, you’re still putting money away for it each pay cycle. Then automate the payments that come out.
You can also automate your budget and set up your bank account to automatically move money to your bills account, savings account, spending account etc. Anything that means you don’t have to do as many things or take as many steps to achieve a result, is a great step towards living a minimalist lifestyle.
6 – Make Fewer Decisions
It is estimated that we make 35,000 decisions every single day. That blows my mind. No wonder we are suffering from decision fatigue and are absolutely exhausted by the end of the day. Help yourself out by making fewer decisions for yourself, or grouping the decisions together.
How do we do this? By adding another level to our routines.
When Mark Zuckerburg was asked why he wears the same shirt every day he replied: “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.”
While I’m not suggesting that you wear the same outfit every day, you can take a leaf out of the book of Zuk and simplify your wardrobe, perhaps choose your clothes the night before, or even wear the same thing each day of the week.
Other things you can make fewer decisions about is what to have for breakfast (or skip it if you’re the kind of person who does Intermittent Fasting – even fewer decisions!!), what order to get yourself ready in, where you keep your keys, the route you take to work, the time you leave for work… there are SO MANY decisions we make each day that we can simplify by creating routines around them.
7 – Adjust And Modify As You Go Along
Your happy little minimalist lifestyle doesn’t have to stay the same forever. In fact, it won’t stay the same. Because as things change in your life, so too should your lifestyle. One of the biggest benefits of living a minimalist lifestyle is that they are easy to adjust and modify as you go.
Ask yourself regularly if this is making you happy, do you need to tweak what you’re doing, is there anything you could be doing better or differently? Is there anything you want to add back in that you had previously removed?
Remember, this is your minimalist lifestyle and you can create it however you want it to be.