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5 Steps to Minimalism for Beginners

Minimalism. It’s everywhere right now— from design to capsule wardrobes to decor and everything in between.

You might be wondering…. what exactly does it mean to lead a Minimalist life?

While a minimal life will look different for any particular individual, essentially it’s a way of living that is intentional and much simpler than the “more is more” mantra of the Material Age. It’s choosing to recognize what brings real value and purging what is mere distraction. It’s decluttering your world to allow space for what matters most to you.

One common misconception is that in order to be a “real” Minimalist, you must live in a tiny house with no vehicle and only enough belongings to fit into a backpack (or you get the idea). In reality, we share our homes and lives with other people, place value on different objects and have various requirements in our everyday lives. (i.e. needing a car to take kids to school).

Being a Minimalist does not mean your world will feel empty and your days full of sacrifice. Quite the opposite. It’s taking an honest inventory of what you have acquired and relieving yourself of having to hold onto things that do not add true value. If your collection of books brings you joy or your love of cooking equals a kitchen of many tools… then by all means keep them. However, we often find ourselves living in a home where every square inch is filled with things we do not really need nor use.

By ridding yourself of the duplicate items, unnecessary junk, clothes you never wear, papers and photos that could be scanned, DVDs and CDs that could be made digital, toys your children have outgrown and other clutter you will feel a sense of relief. Imagine no longer feeling the need to maintain, clean and organize all the things that you currently own?

If you are ready to take a few steps into simplifying your life, then take a deep breath and complete the following:

  1. Toss Duplicates- If you have more than one of any item, donate the others (if in good repair) or responsibly dispose of them. Do you really need 3 black cardigans? Multiple copies of the same book? 2 ice cream scoopers? Give them to someone you know that will receive more value from them or donate them.

  2. Go Digital Wherever Possible- Clutter in the form of receipts, paperwork, old mail, DVDs, CDs, magazines, books, journals etc. can really take over even the neatest of spaces. Scan any important documents and receipts so you can shred the physical copies. Plus side? They are safer in digital form. Choose to download or stream music, movies and books whenever you can. Do not allow mail to pile up on your desk, counter or dining room table. As soon as mail arrives— handle it, toss it or scan it!

  3. Detox Your Closet- While capsule wardrobes are the ultra-minimal way to possess clothing, there is no need to jump there immediately as a beginner. Start by arranging toss, keep and donate piles. First, skim through all clothing, shoes and accessories for things you no longer like or fit. Do not keep clothes that are not flattering or that you are saving for when you “might” need them or can fit into them. Second, remove anything that you have not touched in the past 90 days. We typically wear the same outfits and jeans over and over without noticing the other items in our closet. Now is the time to rid yourself of what no longer suits you! Third, go through your remaining pieces of clothing and make sure you are 100% in love with each and every one. Minimalism is about having less of what you don’t adore and making sure that everything that remains is perfectly you!

  4. Have Everyone Pitch In- Not everyone in your home will necessarily be ready to minimize now that you are! In order to get some help with your efforts, have conversations about why you believe simplifying your possessions will improve all of your lives. Do not dominate the decluttering and be sure everyone feels apart of the decision-making. Let your kids feel the altruisim of donating toys and clothes that will better serve the less fortunate. Help your spouse organize their things and make the act of organizing a fun, group effort. After all, you are doing this to have more time for what matters— like spending time with family!

  5. Ease Into It- There is plenty of time to research Minimalism and become more comfortable with paring down. Do not make the task of decluttering a chore or you will not want to continue! Focus on the benefits you will experience: less stress, lowered anxiety, more free time and more attention to what you value. Take your time and find a level of Minimalist living that works for you!

Affirmation: “I choose to focus on what is truly meaningful. I simplify my possessions so they do not possess me.”