5 Steps to Start Living Minimally

We’re constantly craving more in life: More room, more money, more time…and the list goes on. But we’ve all heard the saying, “Less is more.”

This is the basic principle of minimalism. It’s a life philosophy based on the idea that non-essential things should be eliminated. Instead of focusing on “stuff,” a minimalist strives for a simpler (and thus, happier) life. By removing excess “stuff” in our lives, we’re able to focus on core values that make our lives more meaningful, more productive, and happier.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to give up all your personal belongings to live a simpler life. Instead, think of it as a way to sort out (and really value) what’s important in your life. Think of it as plain ol’ decluttering your life.

Here are 5 steps to start living a simpler, more meaningful, and less cluttered life.

1. Create a list of essentials in your life.

Image via Unsplash

Really reflect here, and think about what you think living minimally means. Everyone’s going to have a different interpretation, so go ahead, define it for yourself. When you start focusing on what you want and what is important to you, you can begin to get rid of the things (physical or otherwise) that are either irrelevant to your values, or in the way of what you really want to be doing. This also gives you the opportunity to figure out what you need functionally and emotionally. And when you get a better understanding of your personal needs, you no longer need to talk yourself into adding more than you need in your life.  

2. Reflect, declutter, and clean out regularly.

Image via Unsplash

Allocate time for monthly clean-outs. Or, if you’re really into it, you can even schedule bi-weekly clean-outs. What’s important is that you give yourself time to do this reflection and clean out regularly. When you regularly reflect on what’s important to you, you’re less likely to be distracted by things that don’t align with your goals and more likely to stay on track with your core values.

3. Choose quality over quantity.

Image via Unsplash

Don’t buy things because they're cheap or take things because they're free. Remember, it should be meaningful to you and align with your values. Ask yourself, “Will it add meaning to my life in some way?” This doesn’t mean you should never focus on material things, either. But, choose wisely. When you do want to buy something new, splurge on quality items that are meaningful to you. This way, you know that the purchase that you make will not only be something that you’re sure you want, but it will also be worthwhile.  

4. Decorate your life with things that bring you joy.

Image via Unsplash

Surround yourself with people you love and those that continually inspire or motivate you. Restricting yourself completely is just as bad--give yourself the opportunity to add things in your life that make you genuinely happy. You deserve nothing less. (But, again, choose quality over quantity).  

5. Be intentional.

Image via Unsplash

When you’re mindful about the decisions you want to make, the purchases you decide on, and the things you do in general, you live much more intentionally. Ask yourself, “Why?” If something works, keep it! If there’s something in your life you don’t love, you have just as much opportunity to change it! Cut things out that aren’t serving you anymore, and learn to say “No.”  

Sometimes, we need to remove all the unnecessary things in our lives to really appreciate the important things and let them stand out. By practicing a more minimalist lifestyle, we can learn to let go of attachment, be more mindful and focused, and increasing meaning and happiness in our lives.