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Any Google search that includes ‘How To Become A Minimalist’ will show you a whole heap of lists that tell you what you should do, what you must do, and what is involved in becoming a minimalist. Which, in and of itself can lead you to a whole new level of overwhelm and make you want to close the tab and forget about your minimalist endeavours.
I don’t blame you.
I avoided taking any steps towards any sort of minimalist lifestyle for so long because (now I type this it’s funny) it seemed like too much work.
It’s so easy to become caught up in what everyone else says you should do in order to lead a minimalist life, that you can miss the actual point – which is creating a life you love. Designing your life and everything in it to represent what you want it to, to be as simple as you want, and to (forgive the reference) bring you joy.
While some people need these guides (we even have our own), we can understand that they can also be a little daunting too.
So, to help you out, here’s the ‘anti-list’. Here’s the things you actually don’t have to do when you become a minimalist (if you don’t want).
1 – You Don’t Have To Throw Everything Out
While decluttering is part of living a minimalist life, you don’t have to throw everything out, you don’t even need to remove half of it if you don’t want.
We all start at different stages and we all have different goals with what our minimalist lifestyle will look like – so having a one size fits all approach makes no sense at all.
Which is why whenever you see someone suggest a list of items to throw out or declutter, that are just that… a suggestion. These can be particularly helpful for people who aren’t sure where to start, but if you get to an item and you don’t want to throw it out, don’t.
You also don’t have to decide right now what you want to keep and what you want to remove.
Minimalism is an ever evolving process. It’s more of a lifestyle mindset rather than an absolute black and white style of living.
Your thoughts and approach to your minimalist lifestyle will change and evolve over the years, which is why we keep reassessing and reevaluating what we want our life to look like and how we can make it happen.
2 – You Don’t Have To Stop Shopping
Some minimalists challenge themselves to stop bringing more ‘clutter’ into their lives by either stopping or reducing the amount they shop. I myself quit buying new clothes and it was quite an eyeopening experience.
But this does’t mean you have to do it in order to be a minimalist.
As you’ll hear over and over again, a minimalist lifestyle is more about a mindset and your approach to your life rather than what you do or do not do.
3 – You Don’t Have To Have Less Furniture
Have you seen the photos of ‘minimalist living’ or ‘minimalist home’ and all that white and stark furniture has you squirming?
While some people love the spacious feel of a ‘minimalist’ home, others prefer their home to feel more cosy and have a different idea of what their sanctuary will look and feel like.
When it comes to your minimalist home, ask yourself questions like ‘do I love this’, ‘does this make me feel happy’, ‘do I need this’, ‘do I like the way this looks in my space’, and ‘do I want this’ to determine if your furniture choices are right for your home.
4 – You Don’t Have To Give Up The Things You Love
The whole idea of minimalist living is to make more time and space for the things you love, so giving up the things you love is kind of counter-minimalism in a way.
If there’s something you feel you need to give up in order to live a minimalist life, ask yourself why you feel that way. Is it because you’ve read it somewhere or someone else has made you feel like this? Or is it because of your understanding of minimalism? Or is it truly because it actually doesn’t serve you anymore and you feel you’d be better off without it in your life.
Your minimalist lifestyle is your choice – it’s entirely up to you what you include and what you give up or remove.
5 – You Don’t Have To Focus On The Material Items
Remember how I’ve said over and over again that minimalism is more of a mindset and lifestyle? That’s because it has less to do with the material items in your life and more to do with how you feel and how what is in your life (not just material items) make you feel.
Minimalism applies to so many areas of your life. Your friendships (do they make you feel good or do they weigh you down and drain your energy), your daily routines (are you ‘busy’ but not productive), your health (do you overcomplicate your healthy lifestyle when simplicity would help you feel better?) and so many other areas.
Once you start transforming your mindset in one area, you’ll naturally see that mindset flow on to other areas of your life too.
Minimalism is all about creating a life you want and that you love. While guides and articles (like this one) are great references and can give you ideas for how you can create a minimalist life, at the end of the day, it is entirely your choice. Your life, your minimalism, your choice.