15 Easy Ways to Embrace a Minimalist Lifestyle
Living with less is admirable but kind of scary. So, we outlined a path to minimalism in 15 simple, doable tasks.
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Start by knowing that minimalism looks different for everyone. For some, it's living with as little as possible. For others, it's about making less of an impact on our earth. Most of us simply want to embrace the ideals by lessening the amount of stuff in our homes while keeping things we hold dear. Ultimately, the goal is to cut back on the clutter, whether physical or digital, that causes us stress: letting go of the excess to find more freedom in our lives.
Read Our Article: An 8-Step Game Plan for the Reluctant Minimalist
Time to Say Goodbye
Step one to a more minimal life is getting rid of surplus stuff. Set aside time to clear your home of things you don't need anymore. And then, put a reminder in your calendar to do the same thing in a few months. As you delve into thinking minimally, you'll find fewer possessions you actually need. However, don't wait until your next big clean to free your house of excess things. Keep a to-be-donated box in your garage or laundry room. As soon as you see something that's no longer needed, pop it in the box. When the box is full, drop it off at a local charity that needs donations.
Now, that you've done the big declutter, you have to stop more from coming back into your home. Ask yourself, "Do I really need this?" before buying anything. Unsubscribe and unfollow shops that will tempt you with their latest finds or big sales. Opt for experience-driven outings, like hiking, going to the movies or grabbing coffee, rather than browsing the aisles of Target. And most importantly, be mindful of online shopping. It's so easy to click, buy and bam! — you have a house full of stuff again.
Find a Home for What You Keep
Once you've downsized, create a designated spot for everything. It's easier to maintain the minimalist aesthetic if everyone knows what belongs in the hall closet or a specific cabinet. You're also less likely to bring new things into your house if you consider where the item will live.
One easy way to cut back on possessions is to eliminate doubles (or triples or quadruples). You probably don't need 20 throw blankets, seven pairs of scissors or a dozen reusable water bottles. Pare your multiples down to singles or at least, one per family member.
Make Friends with the Library
And the librarians, of course. They're the best. However, the real reason to head to the library rather than clicking "Buy Now" on Amazon is the amount of space you will liberate. Not only will borrowing save you major bucks, but it also frees your shelves from being crammed with books. Go through your collection and keep only the titles that are important to you. Then, take a trip to your local library for your next great read, which will then head right back out your door when you're done. Be sure to check out their app for free audiobooks and ebooks.
Your Someday Stuff
Whatever you're holding on to just in case — leftover party supplies, your French dictionary from high school, the baseball mitt from rec league two summers ago — it's time to let it go. "Someday, I might need this..." is a clutter-adding phrase that ensures your closets, garage and attic are always full of stuff you will probably never use. We give you permission: go ahead and toss it.
Check Your Wardrobe
Start your closet-reducing by donating any clothing you haven't worn it in the last six months, and then, at the end of each season, go through and get rid of pieces you didn't wear. Our favorite option though is to create a capsule wardrobe, narrowing down your wardrobe to basic pieces that you enjoy wearing, look good on you and never go out of style. This is a surefire way to take the mental load off of getting dressed in the morning and add major real estate back into your closet.
Shrink Your Wallet
Empty your wallet and purse, putting back only the essential items. Clear out old receipts, expired coupons and defunct loyalty cards. Check to see if there are any credit or membership cards you no longer use and cancel them. Your day-to-day life will be so much lighter.
Subscription boxes are fun to receive, and you can find one for every one of your loves: beauty, pets, exercise, crafting and food. Make sure they're adding value to your life and not just accruing more odds and ends in your cabinets. Also, consider which magazines, newspapers or catalogs you can cancel or read digitally.
Clear the Countertops
It's simple but so refreshing. Find a place for everything (or almost everything) on your kitchen and bathroom countertops and tabletops. Coming home to a clean slate everyday is one of the best aspects of minimal living.
Phase Out Gadgets
There is every gadget imaginable for all your kitchen tasks. And while the promise of them making dinner prep a little easier is appealing, the amount of space they take up is overwhelming. A good set of knives and a few handy tools is all you need to tackle most kitchen jobs. If you're nervous about tossing your avocado slicer and strawberry corer, put them in a box in your pantry. Set a reminder for three months. If you haven't pulled it out of your box by then, toss it.
Take Down Papers
Paperwork can take up an overwhelming amount of storage space. Shred and recycle old paperwork. Scan anything for which you don't need a physical copy. Keep important documents, such as birth certificates and marriage licenses, but a lot of papers can be easily digitized.
Speaking of Digital...
Work on keeping only the essentials on your computer and phone. It's so easy to build a lot of digital clutter. Give your desktop a clean sweep, filing everything in appropriate folders and trashing any documents and photos that are no longer needed. If possible, put anything you don't use on a regular basis on an external hard drive.
Do the same with your phone. Delete unused apps and minimize your photo albums by keeping one or two images from the 30 you took to get the perfect shot. You'll free up a ton a storage space, your devices will run faster and you won't have to wade through unnecessary files when trying to find something.
Teach Your Kids
Start young and encourage your kids to find more joy in experiences rather than things. Considering toys can quickly take over your home, the playroom is the perfect place to eliminate the excess. Often, kids' spaces are so overloaded, they don't even know what they have. Pare down to a small set of toys and games that can be housed on a few shelves or bins. Not only is it more visually appealing, but they'll actually play with everything they have.
Read Our Article: The Best Mom Hacks for Controlling Clutter