9 Beginner Minimalism Tips To Start Simplifying Your Life
One area I’ve been focusing on recently is the opportunity to simplify my life. Decluttering both the physical and mental side through some minimalism tips so I can best focus on what provides value.
That search for tips, tools and resources on minimalism helped me package up some beginning steps and strategies to do just that.
What I found was the potential benefits of simplifying your life extend across your finances, relationships, health, general wellbeing and so much more.
Everyone’s situation is unique and what works for one isn’t always applicable to another. However, the concepts and framework are meant to be flexible and adaptable to work with what fits best for YOU.
Let’s first explore the idea of minimalism.
What Is Minimalism?
To help us define what minimalism is, let’s turn to Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, or as they’re commonly known The Minimalists.
Their website, books and documentary have reached 20+ million people in an effort to help them live meaningful lives with less.
On their Pitch page, Joshua and Ryan, give us this:
“Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path-, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”
Sounds like an amazing concept, right?
Clearing the path so you can focus on the areas of life that create the most happiness, value and results for YOU.
So where do we start?
Here are 9 beginner minimalism tips to start simplifying your life.
1. Determine Your Vision
As with anything new you introduce into your life aimed to change or better it, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve.
This could be defined as finding your why.
The vision might be as simple as decluttering your home and packing lighter when travelling or as holistic as a shifting your entire lifestyle or downsizing your residence. The point is you have a vision in mind and base your decisions around it.
Asking yourself the why, what, how, when and who can help steer you in the right direction.
- Why do you want to bring elements of minimalism into your life?
- What benefits are you trying to get?
- How does the ideal state look when you picture it?
- When do you want to start and how long will it take to reach that state?
- Who else will be part of this process and shift?
For me, the vision is just simplification by reducing clutter (physically and mentally) in order to free up my time and energy to focus more on what brings value to my life.
2. Remember It’s More Than Just Physical Items
The first thing that often comes to mind for many (including myself) when you think of minimalism is likely a modern apartment with limited furniture. Probably white walls, two chairs, small table, one framed picture and a plant.
That’s obviously a generalization.
It’s a mindset, change in lifestyle, shift in habits, new outlook and so much more. There can be environmental, economic, social and mental health benefits.
It can be whatever YOU want it to be.
Parting of unnecessary physical items to reduce clutter is of course part of the equation but it’s more than just that.
3. Do A Minimalism Audit
In order to start the change and shift your lifestyle, it’s helpful to know what you’re dealing with as a whole.
Enter the minimalism audit.
This could include an audit of either one or both of the physical goods and the mental side of what’s making your life more complex or complicated. The key is it’s connected to your vision above and what YOU want.
Potential areas to consider with your audit:
- Subscriptions & Services
- Digital Activity
Basically, if you’re looking to simplify your life you need to consider all aspects of it. Audit your current situation to best understand the opportunities available to reach your goals.
Another tactic to support auditing your life is to perform a time track of everything you do from the moment you wake up until you go to bed.
Toggl is a service that helps you do just that with their simple (yet powerful) time tracking app. Toggl gives you a holistic understanding of where your time is being spent with their reporting features. It’s a paid platform but they offer a free 30 day trial.
4. Be Honest & Embrace It
One of the most effective minimalism tips I’ve taken from other blogs, podcasts and content on the subject is to be honest.
Especially when you’re just starting to attempt to simplify your life.
This applies at as high of a level as your overall vision with minimalism and down to the granular level of “do I really need this jacket?”.
Whether you just want a cleaner, more organized living room or to downsize your SUV, honesty will play a key role.
Given the potential changes coming could be a drastic shift, you’re going to want to embrace it. What better way to do that than learn from others and connect with other pursuing a minimalist, simpler lifestyle.
There are hundreds of thousands of people online looking to declutter, simplify, remove stress and live a more balanced life.
Be honest, embrace it and connect.
5. Start Small
In the same vein as a new diet or fitness routine, it’s generally best practice to start slow with your minimalism mindset.
Diving in head first can be effective and fast-track the success you’re trying to achieve. However, it can also lead to mistakes or getting burnt out.
The last thing you want to do is sell everything you own or change too much and realize this wasn’t the lifestyle you wanted.
- Pick one habit to implement that supports your vision
- Fill one tote bag of clothes to donate
- Alter one or two elements of your daily routine
- Start with one room in your house
Small wins, make momentum.
Choose one focus area first based on your vision and initial audit. Start small and master that before moving onto the next priority or opportunity.
6. Turn Clutter To Cash
In terms of the physical side of minimalism, an often overlooked benefit from implementing some minimalism into your life is turning your clutter to cash.
When I decided to put taking control of my money and life as a top priority, one of the first easy financial wins I had right off the bat was selling $1,800 worth of “stuff”. That money immediately went towards my student loan repayment.
These were items that accumulated in my storage unit, in the closet, under the bed, on the shelf, etc. over years and years of accumulation. They were rarely, if ever, being used or providing any value to my life.
Most of the people I talk to have had a similar experience or cache of “stuff” built up.
Whether it’s a one-time cleanse to start simplifying your life that then becomes an annual audit, turn that clutter to cash and use those funds towards your financial goals.
Decluttr is a free app and website that allows you to turn the “stuff” you’ve accumulated into cash. It’s specialty is electronic, tech items, video games, DVDs, etc. and even LEGO.
You simply scan the barcode (ISBN) of the item with the Decluttr app and Decluttr gives you an immediate offer. They then send you a prepaid shipping label and finalize your payments after they’ve received your items. No auctions, no fees and an easy to use app (or web) platform. Plus you can access free shipping and insurance coverage on your items.
Sign up to Decluttr today for free to start turning your clutter to cash.
7. Perform A Digital Cleaning
Decluttering doesn’t need to only include the physical materials you posses. The digital world we all frequent so often provides a number of simple ways to bring minimalism into your life too.
What areas of your online habits and smartphone usage actually deliver value? Which are more time and mind wasters than beneficial? Can you simplify the digital world’s role in your life?
Some popular solutions depending your situation might include:
- Reduce email subscriptions
- Limit browser tabs open
- Keep a minimal number of bookmarks
- Set a specific time for checking email
- Disconnect from electronics at select times
- Delete unnecessary apps from your phone
Depending on your career, family and living situation certain things won’t be feasible You need to find what works and benefits you.
Here are 10 ways to declutter your digital life in 10 minutes from the author and blogger Cait Flanders.
8. Work On Being Paper Free
To continue the digital cleaning theme above, becoming paper free as best possible is an opportunity provided thanks to the digital world.
Whether it’s magazines, newspapers, books, bills, documents for work or other mail and paper goods, it’s pretty easy to fill space around the home and office.
However, most of those have a digital solution to help minimize the physical clutter.
- Kindle (or other e-reader) to house your books and magazines
- Turning all bills, statements and key communication to email over paper mail
- Schedule paper purges, similar to our minimalism audit, to help keep it a priority
- Digitize your documents with photos on your phone or tablet and then save them digitally
- Encourage coworkers to print less documents and be a leader in that space
- Rethink how much paper towel, napkins and toilet paper you’re using
The hardest part of this paper free mindset for me is definitely the books.
I’ve always loved adding new books to the shelf. Whether it’s the conversations they can start, the opportunity to lend to others or just an innate hoarding mentality, this will be the toughest of the minimalism tips for me to fully implement.
9. Value Experiences Over Materials
A common beginner minimalism tip is to value experiences over materials. Use the resources you have, whether it’s time or money, to enjoy “living” over collecting.
This 2016 CNBC article highlights just that as millennials are prioritizing experiences over stuff. This has had an impact on the economy as a whole.
In the world of simplifying your life, valuing experiences over materials can have numerous benefits – for your mind, wallet, lifestyle, health and more. Under 30 Experiences covers the science of travel and happiness that highlights a collection of those numbers.
Build new skills by taking courses and classes.
Organize experiences for you, your family, friends and loved ones.
Maybe it’s a balance of experiences and things. Maybe it’s heavily tilted to experiences. You need to ask yourself what delivers more value to your life.
In Closing…Beginner Minimalism Tips
I’m looking forward to continuing to look for effective ways to simplify my life. Slowly and surely I want to truly focus my time and effort on what matters most to me.
We will close this out with one more quote from The Minimalist’s Pitch page:
“Even though everyone embraces minimalism differently, each path leads to the same place: a life with more time, more money, and more freedom to live a more meaningful life.”
The beginner minimalism tips above are an initial framework to get started and find what works best in your life.
Do you implement any aspects of minimalism in your life?
What area are you hoping to make improvements in?
Let me know in the comments below.
Here are some other posts to help you take control of your money and life:
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