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A minimalist, clutter-free lifestyle opens up time, relaxation, and money as well as reducing your stress so you can sleep well at night. If you want to become a minimalist but don’t exactly know where to start, you’ve come to the right place!
What is Minimalism?
I like to think of minimalism as living with less to focus on the important things and to keep things simple.
When you have fewer things in your home, fewer things on your mind, and fewer things on your schedule, it makes life very manageable for yourself – and who doesn’t want that?
In my mind, there are two simple steps to become a minimalist:
- Identify the essentials.
- Get rid of the rest.
To be a little more thorough, follow the steps below!
Click the image below to pin for later!
1. Purge Physical Clutter
Throw away and/or donate anything you don’t use, don’t want, or is just in bad shape. This includes things in your closet, your cabinets, your fridge, your pantry, etc.
There’s no sense in wasting space on things you won’t even be using. Removing physical clutter is a big step to simplifying your home and putting you in the mindset of a minimalist.
To help you get started, check out my free decluttering checklist of 57 different things to easily get rid of!
2. Purge Digital Clutter
Yes, I’m talking about that inbox; that inbox with tons of emails that you just don’t wanna look at. Well, get to it. And while you’re at it, unsubscribe to any newsletters that you don’t read (you can use Unroll.Me to help you with this).
While working on your inbox, you can set up rules to move emails to certain folders as they come in. For example, you can move any work emails that you get into a “Work” folder. Here’s a tutorial on how to do that with Gmail and here’s one for Outlook.
Another thing that involves digital clutter is the old devices that you don’t use anymore. Like that big ol’ bucket in storage that has all your old laptops, cell phones, MP3 players, and cords. Sort through it and decide if you’re using any of it. If you’re not, throw it away or donate it if it’s still in good condition.
Here are some more digital areas you can declutter:
- Desktop – Clear icons that you don’t use and put any documents that are sitting there away.
- Documents – You probably don’t need all the documents that are in your computer.
- Music – There’s probably a ton of songs you haven’t listened to in years.
- Photos/Videos – Clear out any photos and videos you don’t need anymore and keep the ones you love.
- Apps/Programs – Delete useless apps on your phone and delete any programs you’ve downloaded on your computer that you don’t use.
- Bookmarked Tabs – Your browser might be full of bookmarked tabs you don’t use anymore.
- Downloads – Most people never delete their downloads when they’re done with them so they end up with tons and they don’t even know what they were for.
- Accounts – Whether it’s social media or accounts for other things, you probably don’t need a ton of them so go ahead and delete them. That’s fewer passwords for you to remember!
- Passwords and Logins – Speaking of passwords, keeping them all in one place is a real lifesaver. I use Lastpass* to do this. It’s free (although you can upgrade) and it’s super easy to use.
- Contacts – Go through your contacts on your phone, computer, and email account and get rid of any you won’t need anymore and update the ones you’re keeping to make sure they’re up to date.
- Recycle Bin – Once you’re done decluttering, empty your recycle bin.
For even more help, this digital organization post has a ton of information about how long certain digital documents should be kept, how to keep these documents safe, and even helps outline a great digital organizing system!
3. Limit Your Spending
Once you’ve reduced your clutter, the last thing you wanna do is buy it all back.
When you’re in the store, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I in need of this item right now?
- Can I easily afford this item right now?
- Is there a place I can store this item?
- Do I already have something that is similar to this item?
Another thing to keep in mind that has reduced my spending a ton: Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean you need it. And if you’re even the slightest bit unsure, don’t bother buying it. The store is where you’re gonna be the most excited about the item, so if you’re not feeling it, chances are you won’t be using it.
4. Identify Your Values
Figure out what is most important to you and get rid of the rest. You don’t need a million other things in your view and on your mind because you won’t be able to make time (and possibly space) for the important things in life.
Here’s a quote from Joshua Becker that I love: “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”
You can’t actually do this unless you take the time to know the things you value.
5. To-Do Lists
A to-do list outlines everything that needs to be done. But after I learned a new technique from a time management course by Emily of My Adaptable Career, I don’t use to-do lists anymore.
She taught me about brain dumping. You write down every single thought in your head (leave nothing out!) and then pull the priorities out of that list to create a priority list.
This way, you can do things by priority rather than doing the easy but unimportant things first, which makes no time for the most important things.
A similar method of brain dumping but in a more organized fashion is bullet journaling. It’s a very cool technique that uses different symbols to organize everything. But it’s also so much more than that. It can be your to-do list, your schedule, your diary, etc. Or it can be all of those things at once.
Another awesome way you can create priority lists is by using 135list.com. It uses the 1-3-5 Method where you write down your 1 big thing, 3 medium things, and 5 small things to get done.
6. One Thing at a Time
Focus on the task at hand and eliminate any other distractions that may prevent you from completing the task. I know so many people who do a million things at once and they end up getting nothing done.
Focusing on one thing at a time will help you be way more productive in the long run.
“The goal of minimalism, let’s remember, is not just to own less stuff. The goal of minimalism is to unburden our lives so we can accomplish more.” – Joshua Becker
What is the main reason why you want to be a minimalist?