5 Steps to Leading a Life-Changing Minimalist Lifestyle
With the prevalence of social media, we are increasingly drawn to the false ideal that true happiness is derived from a lifestyle of material possessions and enviable experiences. This belief has been so deeply ingrained in our modern culture that it has become second nature for us to compare our lives to that of our digital peers constantly. However, this process of constant social comparison is unhealthy and unsustainable, while the happiness that we receive from chasing such a lifestyle is only fleeting.
The idea of minimalism seeks to change just that. Minimalism is about making the conscious choice to live your life with purpose and intention. It is about how we can lead fulfilling lives with less. A deliberate choice is made to identify the things in our lives that we value most, while the rest are consciously discarded. This process enlightens us to discover what truly matters in our lives, and it is not surprising to see common themes such as family, health, and personal growth emerge.
Here are five simple steps to get you started on leading a minimalist lifestyle:
01 | Finding Your Minimalist Lifestyle
The very first step to getting started is finding the appropriate time and space to reflect on this question: How would your life improve if you could live simpler?
Make a list of all the reasons that you wanted to live more simply. It could be no longer having to put up with your nasty boss at work, or having more time to spend with your children during the weekends. Write down all these reasons as it will eventually serve as encouragement for you when the going gets tough. Yes, starting and living a minimalist lifestyle is tough, but this list that you have put together will serve as a reminder on why you have taken this path.
Everyone sets out with the same intentions for leading a minimalist lifestyle – to have more time and freedom to live a meaningful life that they want. However, what matters to all of us is intrinsically different. It is important to find out what makes up your minimalist lifestyle.
02 | Discard the duplicates
The easiest way to start living with less is to discard duplicates of items that you own.
Walk through your home with a box and fill it with duplicates of items that you have found. Have two tops in the exact same colour? Put one in the box. Have five of the same recyclable tote bags that you received for free from a purchase? Put four of those in the box. Do the same for anything else that you have more than a set of.
As you go through this process, you tend to realize that you have more things than you initially remember.
03 | Clear Your Digital Clutter
A clean and uncluttered environment gives a breath of fresh energy to creative and productive work. If you are one of those people with over hundreds of unread emails, or dozens of folders and desktop shortcuts plastered over your home screen, it is time to take charge of your digital clutter.
A few ways in which you can prevent digital clutter from building up is to archive or delete unimportant emails immediately, and to unsubscribe from mailing lists that you are no longer interested in. Scan through the programs and apps on your computer and your mobile phone, and uninstall any old software or apps that you no longer use.
04 | Travel lightly
For your next trip, experiment with travelling with less. Pack outfits for half the number of days that you will be travelling. If you are travelling for 10 days, pack enough clothes for just 5 days. You can wash and re-wear your clothes, or mix and match clothes to create new outfits.
This will allow you to focus on enjoying new experiences with your travelling companions, instead of creating Instagram-worthy #OOTDs.
05 | Ensuring Personal Downtime
Having adequate self-care is essential for your well-being. Taking time out to recharge does not have to be limited to once a year, during a much-anticipated overseas holiday, or an elaborate spa retreat. It could be as simple as lighting up a relaxing scented candle at the end of a fulfilling work day, or practicing a restorative skincare ritual.
How the minimalist lifestyle looks varies from individual to individual. Some individuals prefer to own less articles of clothing, while other individuals prefer to minimize technology usage. As a beginner minimalist, be curious and continuously experiment with what matters most to you. What brings meaning, purpose, or lasting joy in your life?