It’s no secret that we have a lot of stuff. Clutter can not only take over your house, but it can also take up your brain. If your home is cluttered and you have trouble getting organized, then it’s time to clean house both figuratively and literally and try minimalist living. Here are some tips to get you started.
What Is a Minimalist Lifestyle?
A minimalistic lifestyle goes beyond cleaning your living room and taking a trip to Goodwill to drop off a box of stuff. Minimalism can be applied to every aspect of your life to clear all the excess. Many start this journey to clean their house, save money, and clear their mind. There is a reason the word “lifestyle” is associated with this.
Consumerism is when we are encouraged to buy more and more stuff to fulfill the current trends or even prove that we can afford to have a bunch of stuff. But while social media might be promoting the latest products and distractions, the concept of minimalism encourages simplicity and quality. Being minimalist means continuing to be more intentional about what you buy and use, allowing the main focus to be personal happiness and fulfillment.
Is Becoming a Minimalist Worth It?
The short answer to this question is yes! There are two main reasons we see people start their minimalist journey—one, to get rid of all the junk they have, and two, to save money.
There is a clear connection between a clean house and a clean mind. Anxiety can about money or the inability to relax in our own homes can be helped with minimalism.
Less clutter opens us up to focus on other things. Less time spent cleaning means we can actually put that time into the other things we want to do. And saving money by buying less has an obvious positive effect on our pocketbooks.
What Is a Minimalist Mindset?
As we said earlier, this is a lifestyle change. Simply taking a truckload to Goodwill one time won’t last long if you haven’t switched to a minimalist mindset. The first step for most is decluttering, going through their current belongings, and deciding what is a need vs a want.
This also includes asking yourself, “Does this bring joy to my life?” and “Does it make life easier?”.
The next step comes when you are on your next shopping spree.
A minimalist mindset means new purchases must fit into your minimalistic guidelines. Minimalism is ultimately to improve your internal feelings and mood, so the rules look slightly different to everyone, depending on what goals you have in life. Mental clutter is another thing to work on when working towards a minimalist mindset. Using a calendar, creating a schedule, and utilizing minimalist habits create a clear head that allows us to focus on our passions instead of our worries.
Minimalism doesn’t just apply to the house. We can cut costs, cut stress, and improve our daily habits using minimalism. Depending on your location and the daily commute, getting rid of your car might just be the move! This is not a requirement of minimalism, so don’t worry if you can’t or simply don’t want to scrap your wheels.
If getting rid of your car seems like the move for you, though, there are plenty of benefits. The first major one is the money saved on car payments, insurance, gas, and repairs, not to mention the mental benefits of walking and being outside that are gained when you forgo the sedan.
Kids and Minimalism
The perfectly neat and clean houses we see on Pinterest and Instagram look lovely, but I’m sure many of us are questioning how children work in a space like that.
First, let’s remember that minimalism is geared towards creating less clutter and material possessions, but that doesn’t mean an all-white house with nothing in it. We can apply the quality over quantity rule to our kid’s toys and clear the physical clutter in rooms to allow more play space.
One minimalistic idea for birthdays and holidays is the four-gift rule. The four-gift rule means each kid only receives four things for each celebratory milestone and usually follows the rhyme “something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.”
Minimalist Lifestyle Starter Tips
If this all seems overwhelming, then start with these tips on how to start living a simpler life.
Shop Quality, Not Quantity
There will always be things we need or want in life. The goal of minimalism isn’t to never buy anything again, it’s to make better choices. That’s where the idea of quality over quantity comes from.
You want to buy products that will last as long as possible, so you don’t have to continue buying them every month. Quality items might be more expensive, but the fact that they last longer than cheaper ones means that money is saved in the future.
The Capsule Wardrobe
We might not think of our wardrobe when we think of clutter, but this is a huge area for minimalism! A capsule wardrobe means buying a few quality pieces that all work with each other and fit your style. Our accessories can also be looked at, opting for jewelry that is well-made and can work with multiple pieces.
Focus on clothes that will last and avoid fast fashion that will fall apart before the year is over and contribute to the growing landfills of clothing we have in recent years. Avoiding fads and fast fashion can save you over a thousand each year.
Digitize Movies and Books
Clear shelf space by utilizing the digital world for all your movies and books. Transferring movies to your computer and buying future movies through online streaming services keeps the many small discs that need a big plastic case out of your storage spaces.
Books can also be all on one Kindle or other reading software. Not only will you have more room, but you can also have your whole library no matter where you go!
Eliminate, Eliminate, Eliminate
This is what we think of when we picture minimalism. Cleaning our house is more than just picking up; it’s deciding if you even still need something. When going through your house, ask yourself how often you use this item, if it makes your life easier, and if it is even still usable. I’m sure we all have a catch-all table to start, but other places include the shelves in our closets, hallway closets, and any surface that is a magnet for junk piling up.
Many people also have a storage unit they have to pay for monthly; make a weekend of going through it and deciding if you really need all that. Now you have the added bonus of saving that money each month.
Invest in Reusables
Getting rid of junk isn’t the only minimalistic goal; saving money is a major focal point. Single-use products can take a large chunk of our monthly budget. In our kitchen alone, we might have paper plates, k-cups for our coffee, and water bottles.
Each one of those could be replaced with a product meant to last years. Sure, reusable products are more expensive than their throwaway counters, but most pay for themselves within a few months of use, and then that is money saved every month!
Give Everything a Place
Unfortunately, even a minimalist home can’t skip cleaning day even with less stuff. What you can do, though, is create methods and spaces that make cleaning day turn into cleaning hour. Having fewer possessions means fewer things to put away. The next step is creating clear spaces for our stuff to go—a place for everything and everything in its place.
Going through our many closets and baskets allows us to use those spaces more wisely for things we actually need and want. It also makes cleanup go faster when you don’t have to reorganize every time you want to fit an extra towel in somewhere or get overwhelmed because there is simply no room for the new toy you just bought.
Invest in Experiences
Choosing experiences over material goods has a clear positive effect on our mental state. Using the money saved from buying less and using less can mean more money to actually go on that yearly family vacation. Not only are vacations proven to improve mental and physical symptoms of stress, but they also open our families up to learning more about the world.
Experiences don’t just need to be lavish travel, though; simply being able to play a board game as a family instead of reorganizing your garage can bring a big mental boost.
Cut Meaningless Expenses
Here is where we look at our budget. We’ve mentioned buying quality over quantity and investing in reusable goods. But those aren’t the only drains on our accounts. Streaming services, eating out, and monthly subscriptions could be costing you hundreds a month.
Most people might even be surprised to see a subscription for a service they don’t even use anymore.
Appreciate What You Have
This last tip is about how to stay on the minimalistic course. Appreciating what you have is a mindset shift for most of us. Minimalism involves not always going with the latest trends or buying the newest products. It also means holding ourselves accountable when we have the urge to buy something just to buy it.
Shifting your thinking towards appreciating what you currently have vs. what you could have is a major move. Don’t just think of material goods, though; think about financial freedom and more time doing what you want to do.
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