I Like My Stuff, But I Still Want To Know What Minimalism Is.
Maybe you’ve heard of this thing called minimalism and you’re wondering what the heck all the fuss is about. One of the best definitions comes from Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, known as the Minimalists. “Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important – so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”
I love this definition because it allows you to define minimalism for yourself. For me, it comes down to“living more with less.” When I think of getting rid of the excess, that goes beyond just the number of clothes or household items I have. To me, that includes the digital excess, the mental excess, overcommitting to projects, and saying yes to things I really don’t want to do. To me, minimalism is about living life with intention.
You’re probably asking, “So how do I get started?” Or maybe you're not. Either way, let me give you 5 tips to get started today on your minimalist journey.
1) Purge the Closet
I assure you, if you haven’t checked your closet in the past 4-6 months, you are going to find some items that either don’t fit, you’ve never worn, you don’t like anymore, or forgot you even had. Starting with decluttering your closet is an easy way to dive in. Set guidelines as you learn to part with your clothes. If you haven’t worn it within the past 90 days (and it’s not a seasonal item such as a large winter coat) then part ways with it. I also like Marie Kondo’s method. Hold it in your hands and decide if it brings you joy. Whatever your guideline is, stick to it. Get to the closet. This is something you can start today! Make sure you dispose of your clothes in a proper way. Try selling gently used ones or donating them.
2) Use it or toss it
What household items do you have that you haven’t touched in over 6 months? For me, I had dog stain cleaner. Listen, I haven’t had a dog for over 2 years! Why was this still taking up space in the house? Point is, start going through your things. Decide if you are honestly going to use it or not within the next month. If you aren’t going to use it, it’s time to toss it. You don’t have to declutter these items all at once. Start in your kitchen. What is in your kitchen right now taking us space that is not being used? Maybe it’s a super old blender that you’ve been meaning to dispose of. It’s time to part ways with those items that you don’t even use anymore.
3) Audit How You Spend Your Time
I like to call this a Day in the Life Audit. A Day in the Life of Christina Sloan used to look like, waking up and spending 30 minutes lying in bed scrolling through Instagram before I did a single thing. Now, I’m not perfect and this does still happen sometimes. Remember, it’s a journey! However, once I sat down and examined how I spent my time, I realized that’s 30 minutes I could be reading a book, listening to an informative podcast, writing/editing a blog post, doing yoga, or something else. Look at how you spend your days. Are you doing things that are not adding any value to your life? Another example, my days would constantly consist of going out to eat almost every day after work with friends, mostly due to FOMO. (Fear of Missing Out). I spent serious money that I could have been saving, instead on drinks I didn’t really want with sometimes people I didn’t really want to be with. Seeing how much time and money I could be putting elsewhere, I’m learning to say no to the things I don’t actually want to do. Spend your time how you want to spend it, not how you think you should spend it.
4) Digital Declutter
This one is pretty fun to me. Open your phone and look at all the apps you have. I bet money that you can find at least 5 to delete off your phone right now. I know when I open my phone I have pages and pages of apps that I barley use. Try to see if you can narrow it down to the essentials. We check our phones over 150 times a day. Seeing the loads and loads of apps on our phones can add to the mental clutter that we don’t need in our lives. Let me tell you, once I slimmed down my apps, I felt a lot better checking my phone and I’m sure you will too.
5) Define Minimalism For You
How minimalism looks for me will probably look different for you. Once you start decluttering and adopting more minimalistic habits, you can define how you want to lead your minimalistic lifestyle. Maybe adopting zero waste is what you want to lean towards. Or maybe you are ready to take extreme steps and live with less than 100 items. Or maybe you want to live in a tiny home! Whatever the case may be, once you define what minimalism looks and feels like for you, then you will have a much better chance at success because your intention is clear.
6) BONUS! Do Your Research on Minimalism
This is seriously one of the best parts! There are awesome minimalism blogs (like this one you’re reading) to follow. There are great podcasts to listen too, documentaries, books, YouTube channels, and more. For me, the more I learn about minimalism, the more motivated I am at continuing this lifestyle. It’s inspiring to see others doing what you desire to do and immersing yourself into learning more will only keep you motivated. Stick to my blog as one of your awesome resources! Some other great places to start are listed below.
Joshua Becker (My go to guy for tips and guidance for implementation)
Ronald L. Banks (Great for adopting a minimalism mindset which is super important)
Matt D’Avella (Great for how minimalism and creativity combine)
Sarah Therese (Girl power! Awesome for a real look into minimalism)
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (Duh!)