Minimalism is much more than stark white walls or clean empty spaces. It’s a tool you can use in every area of your life to become happier, healthier, more focused, and calm. Who doesn’t want that?
I’ve been pursuing a minimalist lifestyle for years now, and there is always more to learn. You don’t have to live out of a suitcase or travel the world to embrace minimalism. You can start where you are, with what you’ve got. Let’s look at some ways to help apply minimalism in everyday life.
1. Purge the excess stuff.
Material possessions are often the starting place for minimalism. Quite frankly, it’s the easiest to grasp. The average household has over 300,000 items. We’re overwhelmed by stuff and it’s time to take action.
- Want to get rid of clothes? Look up Project 333.
- Don’t know where to start? Try the 30-day minimalism game.
- Want to get rid of all the excess belongings in a few weeks? Consider The Minimalists’ Packing Party.
Any of these strategies can help us gain the momentum we need to get rid of the stuff that’s in the way. Better yet, we’ll have more time, space, and energy as a result. These resources will help us embrace minimalism in other areas of our lives.
2. Evaluate your calendar.
Our material possessions are one form of clutter, but a busy calendar is another. How can we enjoy our time if our schedules are always booked? Take a look at the calendar and see what can be removed. For each commitment, consider the following questions:
- Am I the best person to be attending this?
- Does this event bring me joy or tranquility?
- What would happen if I didn’t attend?
- What else could I be doing with this time?
We won’t be able to discard every boring commitment from our calendar, but anything we can let go of will give us back more time to do the things we enjoy and value.
3. Reclaim your attention.
Technology is more advanced than ever, but our attention is more divided than ever. We’re constantly multi-tasking and trying to do more, only to do less as a result. Science has shown us the brain can only do one thing at a time. When we avoid the temptation to multi-task, we’ll get better outcomes in the process.
Our attention can also drain our energy, as we dwell about the past or worry about the future. Mindfulness is a great tool to bring us back to the present moment. If you don’t know where to start, try Calm, Headspace, or Ten Percent Happier. Each of these apps are guided by experts who can help walk you through the process. I’ve found it so helpful that I’ve started meditating in the morning and at night. Pick a time that works best and stick with it.
4. Reconsider your habits and commitments.
I used to be the goal guy. Any goal or habit that had any hint of helpfulness would go on my list. Anyone who looks for goals or habits to pursue will find an endless list of options. When we let go of commitments and habits, we can enjoy our time more as a result.
Letting go of my reading list helped me find books I enjoy reading.
Letting go of my podcast queue helped me discover podcasts that resonate with my life.
Letting go of exercise programs I disliked helped me create an exercise program that aligns with my preferences.
Habits don’t have to be dreadful. In fact, the more we enjoy them the easier it’ll be to make them stick.
5. Track your finances.
We can clear out the material possessions, evaluate our calendars, practice mindfulness, and let go of unfulfilling commitments and habits, but if we’re constantly worried about our finances or getting calls from debt collectors, we’ll have a tough time pursuing that which we value most.
Most of our spending is habitual, which can lead us down a dangerous path without our awareness. Fortunately, we can become intentional with our finances. The basic steps are often most effective.
Make a budget.
Cancel unnecessary subscriptions.
Be mindful of monthly fees that eat away at your monthly savings.
To add some extra motivation, think about your financial goals. What do you want to do in the next few years?
Buy a house?
Travel to a new country?
Get a new car?
When we are intentional with our money, we can save more towards our long-term goals.
Living a Meaningful Life
Even if you get rid of all of your possessions or pursue every one of these topics perfectly, you will not be done. Minimalism is not a destination, it’s a path full of constant reflection and evaluation. What works during one stage of your life may not work in another, and that’s okay. Don’t feel rushed to complete all the items on this list, or to even do them all. The key is to practice minimalism daily and see how your life becomes better with less.
About the Author: Andrew Rocha writes at Successful Steps, where he shares his passion for personal development and success stems from the desire to be happy and make the most out of life. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.