How to be a minimalist: Learn to let go and live

So you’ve heard about minimalism and want to adopt a more minimal lifestyle.

The first question you probably have is: Should I?

Of course!

Minimalism can have a extremely positive effect on your lifestyle if done correctly for a variety of reasons. But, for the sake of not taking up your entire day (and because I am going out in a few hours :)) I will just go through a few with you. Then, once you have had a thought about whether you’d like to see these positive changes in your life, you can choose whether you would like to read on.

*Insert pinterest post on 5 ways minimalism can have a positive impact on your life

  1. Less Stress

If you were able to wake up to a house free of clutter; log onto your smartphone that had been cleared of useless apps, and not have a flood of spam emails or notifications; and then hop in your car for work with everything you need to live the day to the fullest in one small bag, do you not think that would significantly reduce your stress levels?

2. More money

It’s a common myth that minimalists NEVER buy anything. They just don’t waste their money on useless excursions or products they will forgot about in a few days, but save (or invest if they are smart) for things they really need in order to live their best lives.

3. More time

Minimalism isn’t just about getting rid of the products from your life that you do not need, but rather is the process of living in a way were you only do exactly what is necessary – no more, no less. This will leave you with more time to spend with the people that you love and to do the things that you really want to do. often people that become minimalist find that they are actually able to do much more with their days than they previously would have been, simply with the absence of stress and need to rush what they’re doing.

4. Increased happiness

The excess of stress and improved ability to focus that comes with de-cluttering your life will directly contribute to making you a more happy person. Further, with all of the rubbish out of your life you will naturally fall towards the things that make you the happiest. If you want to learn more about how a minimal lifestyle can make you happy, I recommend this in-depth article by “the minimalists” on the scientific correlation between minimalism and happiness.

happier with less. A woman smiling widely looking at the stars.

5. Increased confidence

The whole learn to let go and live with less attitude really helps to boost confidence. The entire lifestyle teaches self reliance, and even when starting, showing yourself you are able to live with less can be extremely good for your confidence.

Now you’ve seen some of the benefits of minimalism, I guessing you want to read on and see how you can become a minimalist at home today.

In this next section I will cover how to change your mindset to help adapt to a minimalist lifestyle and the first 7 steps you should take. In the spirit of minimalism, lets not clog this post up with stuff you don’t need – Let’s get to it.

Learn to let go: adopting a minimalist mindset

Firstly, let me make something clear. Getting rid of the things you’ve held on to for years, for one reason or the other, is not going to be easy. But, if you are able to battle through and start decluttering your life, you will soon start reaping the benefits and be extremely glad that you did what you did.

To make this process easier I am going to share with you the system I used to help me learn to let go of my stuff and how you can determine what you need to keep and what you need to get rid of.

Please keep in mind that living a simpler life, with less stuff doesn’t just mean getting rid of your rubbish, but all some of your genuinely good stuff. Being a minimalist means owning only what is essential to your life and will bring you genuine happiness.

So how do you let go of your stuff even if it holds sentimental value?

My system for getting rid of stuff I do not need is very simple:

  • I set myself a time limit
  • I start with the stuff that I class as trash
  • I get help from friends or family members
  • If the item holds sentimental value I get emotional and try and find what I really gain from owning that item.

Let’s take a more detailed look at these points.

setting a time limit

Setting a time limit will give you a sense of urgency which will stop you from spending all your time convincing yourself you need every item in your house and will instead force you to get decluttering as soon as possible. Further, setting a time limit does not give you the chance to get distracted as you will be constantly looking at the clock, trying to get finished in time. Those things at the back of your garage and even at the back of your wardrobe can be really fascinating and it is really easy to get sucked in and spend hours going through old stuff, so a time limit is a great step to take to prevent this.

Start with the trash

It is much easier to get rid of stuff you class as trash rather than that which is genuinely good or that holds sentimental value. Starting with the trash will help you build up momentum so when you move onto your more treasured items they will not be as hard to dispose of.

Get help from friends or family

Your friends and family will support you in whatever you do and make everything in your life easier and more entertaining. When I first took steps to become a minimalist, I invited my mother over and we spent the day decluttering my house. She really helped me to focus and supported me to get rid of stuff I would have otherwise kept (even though most of it would never be used).

Get emotional

Now this one may sound counter-intuitive as you would assume that if you were trying to get rid of items with a sentimental value it would be best to think about it as little as possible to make it easier. However, if you take the time to really think about the item, where it came from, and the memories it connects you to, you will soon find that you will have those memories forever if you have the item or not.

Now the next step if figuring out how to decide whether something is essential to your life or not.

To ensure everything I own is essential to my well-being, I ask myself two questions:

Why do I own this item?

and

Do I need it to get what I want out of life?

Once you have answered these two questions it is extremely easy to establish if you need the item in question or if you do not.

First small steps to becoming a minimalist

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