Living a Minimalist Lifestyle

declutter your life

Living a Minimalist Lifestyle – What does that mean?

To begin lets define some terms so we are all speaking the same language with no assumptions.

According to the Dictionary via Google. Minimalist is defined as:

minimalist
ˈmɪnɪm(ə)lɪst/
noun
noun: minimalist; plural noun: minimalists

 

1. a person who advocates or practises minimalism.

2. a person advocating moderate reform in politics.

adjective
adjective: minimalist; adjective: minimalistic

1. relating to minimalism.

  • lacking decoration or adornment; deliberately simple or basic in design or style.
    “his recently renovated minimalist Conran kitchen”

2. advocating moderate political reform.

Origin
early 20th century: first used with reference to the Russian Mensheviks. Usage in art and music dates from the 1960s.

 

Therefore before we go any further we need to define Minimalism, ref Dictionary via Google. Minimalism is:

minimalism
ˈmɪnɪməˌlɪz(ə)m/
noun
noun: minimalism

 

  1. a movement in sculpture and painting which arose in the 1950s, characterized by the use of simple, massive forms.

2. an avant-garde movement in music characterized by the repetition of very
short phrases which change gradually, producing a hypnotic effect.

3. deliberate lack of decoration or adornment in style or design.
“his living room was a testament to minimalism

For the purpose of the topic of this article, I am referring to the third definition as:

‘using a lack of decoration or adornment in style or design’.

In recent years there has been a movement called a Minimalist Lifestyle that extends this definition of minimalist to living with less or living with less ‘stuff’, material possessions or objects. Therefore this is the topic of this article.

Why talk about Living a Minimalist Lifestyle?

Because the benefits are:

  • Lowers stress
  • Increases feelings of well being, of feeling in control and
  • Potentially increases savings

What is Living a Minimalist Lifestyle?

From my personal perspective, as you will create a definition that works for you and your lifestyle. Living a Minimalist Lifestyle for me is having a home and office space that has clear surfaces free of too many objects, furniture and clutter. So that when I walk into a room like this I’m able to be in the moment much more, I feel calmer and as a result I am much more productive at work and relaxed at home.

Now the realities of how well I achieve this is varying and it depends on the room. In my home, the majority of my home I feel I achieve these goals but it is my home office space that is the continual struggle. But that’s my challenge others I have discussed a minimalist lifestyle with have said the shed or garage or medical cupboard in the bathroom or shoe closet or spare room are their challenges.

 

So why aren’t we all living a minimalist lifestyle?

Because life happens. We all get busy with the day to day running of our lives and before you know it, you have accumulated a great deal of ‘stuff’.

I remember about 5 years ago moving from a 2 bedroom apartment to a 3 bedroom house. When we initially moved in I thought, we have so much space and I love not feeling cramped. Within the span of 2 years, we needed to move out of the house (was a rental property) to the 2 bedroom apartment we owned and guess what? We didn’t fit anymore. We had just accumulated furniture, clothes, toys, technology devices etc etc. Unless you have an awareness it often just seems to happen.

So what can you do? You know the old saying of the Spring time clean out? Well do that but I also do a Summer time clear out. For me, summer works best because that’s when we have the longest school holidays here in Australia where I currently live. And during this down time, I clear out and I get my son to participate too. We moved back into the 2 bed aparment 3 years ago and so this is our third summer clearing out. The first 2 times, my son was a tad grumpy about it but now he knows this is just what happens during the summer holidays, so with his cooperation it was much easier.

But where do you start?

I believe there are 3 parts to living a Minimalist Lifestyle:

  1. Adopt a Minimalist Mindset
  2. Take time to be in the Moment
  3. De-clutter to begin and to maintain

Adopt a Minimalist Mindset

What I mean by adopting a minimalist mindset is when I buy anything, I ask myself:

  • Do I need or want this?
  • How will this serve me? And
  • Do I need to get rid of something I already have first before I buy or accept this?

Do I need or want this

Saying this to myself is just a regular reminder of my preference to living with ‘less stuff’.

Fulfilling a want is totally ok. Buying those cute summer sandals when your existing ones have worn out or you just don’t have any is fine. Especially if whenever you wear them it lifts you. The key is to use them for the purpose that you purchased them. If you buy them and don’t wear them and then feel guilty whenever you see them in your wardrobe, this leads me to the second point of ‘How will it serve me’

How will this serve me?

I love this question because whenever I ask myself this, it normally ignites an emotion of some kind such as joy or guilt for something I know deep down I don’t really need or never will use but am excited or am seduced by the sales process. Therefore often, I will walk away from a buying situation and to return when I’m not so influenced by the excitement of the sale or purchase process. Just take some time to think how it will enhance what I already have. Then if you know it serves you go back.

Do I need to get rid of something I already have first before I buy or accept this?

Have you ever bought a black shirt to go home and find you already have 3 black shirts that are all very similar? Or 3 bikes or boats or kitchen appliances?

Take Time to Be in the Moment

Most of these tips simply requires you to ‘be in the moment’. However, I understand we live in busy times with many distractions so this can often be a challenge. Do whatever works for you to remind yourself daily to come back to the present moment. Whether it be a walk in nature, a short guided meditation, swimming or yoga. I would love to hear what works for you, feel free to share in the comments below.

De-clutter to begin and maintain

let go of clutter

Now I am no de-cluttering or Feng Shui Consultant or Master (de-cluttering is an important part of Feng Shui) for the flow of energy. I am speaking from having experienced the benefits of de-cluttering and living with less.

I have had help before therefore if you feel it is overwhelming to start then do get support. De-cluttering is emotional and it is hard. However with practice, it does get easier. My annual routine helps me, and you will work out what will work for you.

A final note

Most importantly if you want to achieve Living a Minimalist Lifestyle don’t be too hard on yourself. Set your own standards and criteria. If it is all feeling ‘too hard’ then get support. Begin by sharing and commenting here if that will help as a first step.

You are on your own journey. It is counterproductive to compare yourself with others. For instance, I have one friend that is a minimalist ‘freak’ (I say that with admiration) however her levels of minimalist are too ‘harsh’ for me. I prefer a more ‘homey’ feeling. And I have another friend that is a horder. They know it and they do what works for them.

Please do share your experiences in the comments below I’d love to hear from you:

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14 Replies to “Living a Minimalist Lifestyle”

  1. Yes always a work in progress and sometimes very challenging. In times gone by when our girls were at school we had a ‘holiday clean’ of their bedrooms and toy room every end of term holiday. It was much more thorough than the regular one (which wasn’t always on time regular) and they know that there were no outings, sleep overs or holiday specials until it was done. Inadvertently it created several benefits – saved me money cos they never did it on day 1, 2 or 3 so we also got several days of pure chilling while they avoided the inevitable!

    1. Nice Fran, I love the by product of ‘several days of pure chilling’ that is completely not sweaty the small stuff – will remember that one! And you were the one that supported me with suggestions of de-cluttering many years ago when we first met in business as you know I call you my ‘Feng Shui Guru’- so thank you!

  2. Thanks Fleur- I have not read the whole article but agree with your comments – was expecting to read about minimalist in your approach to business as I found you were good at reviewing what needed to be done and minimising your stress by outsourcing or asking for help to get the tasks done. Also minimising your time through diarising and reviewing the weeks ahead as well as goal setting and so forth .., your approach to living is not just what is around you but who you choose to spend time with and minimising how you do things … enough rambling 😊

    1. Thanks Paula for your comment. Oh I will most certainly do a follow up to this around minimalist approach to business too – was just stuck in my head today about my home environment. I absolutely agree re those you spend time with too – very valuable.

  3. great ideas in this article i myself flip back and forth between hoarder and minimalists so hard to stay on top of things dont you agree? any ways i will look forward to some future reads for some needed advice on acheiving this and good luck with the home office daunting task there as well

    1. Oh I understand Garry re flipping between the 2 – the key is not to aim for perfection but do the best you can on any given day. Look forward to seeing you back here too – one of our community Paula, suggested a follow up article on relating the topic to business which I will love to do – so plan too for next week.

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more. Although everyone chooses the best way they can live, I personally find living minimally to be freeing. It creates the least stress and the most joy – both mentally and physically. Not having a lot of clutter also improves productivity in my opinion. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Being a minimalist also goes together with contentment doesn’t it? It seems like if you can be satisfied with what you have and stop trying to be like everyone else, you will be happier and more fun to be around.

    1. Well I don’t think you’re lame James for being a minimalist – I’m sure everyone else commenting here has nothing but admiration for you – go you!

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