Minimalism 101

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Minimalism is a growing trend around the globe. While ridding your life of distractions and focusing on what is important is healthy, adopting a minimalist way of life is not for everyone. From the basics of minimalism to its pros and cons, here is everything you need to know about becoming a minimalist.

What Is Minimalism?

Minimalism takes on a different meaning to everyone who practices it. At its most basic form, minimalism is simply removing distractions from your life while emphasizing things that are the most valuable. In other words, you determine what has the highest value and you purposefully eliminate things that get in the way of whatever you want to pursue. While removing things from your life is a part of minimalism, it is more about emphasizing what is most important over getting rid of possessions.

Pros of Minimalism

A minimalistic bathroom.

Economic Savings

One of the biggest advantages of minimalism is the economic savings. Not spending money on things that do not fit a minimalist way of living means more money in your pocket. It also means you will have more funds to spend on things that are most important to you.

Stress Relief

Minimalism usually means getting rid of a lot of excess in your life, which can result in less stress. When you are only concerned with things that are the most valuable to you, you have fewer things to stress about. With less stress in your life, your mental health will improve and you will probably find yourself happier on a regular basis.

Flexibility

People who practice minimalism often have less things tying them down, which results in more freedom. You can freely go wherever you want, move to different locations on a whim, and pack up most of your belongings without much hassle. This also frees you up to try new things and have a better understanding of what makes you happy.

Eco-friendly

Decluttering your life is very environmentally friendly. Most people generate a lot of waste annually because they buy things they do not really need. Being a minimalist eliminates this problem and leads to a lot less waste in the long run. Not only are you wasting less on a regular basis, but you are also protecting the environment for future generations, which is a huge win for everyone.

Cons Of Minimalism

A minimalistic living room.

Difficulty Adopting

One of the biggest hurdles of minimalism is getting started in the first place. Although minimalism is very rewarding, it is not easy giving up personal items and things you have accumulated over the years. In fact, many people struggle with eliminating things in their lives that are not the most important, especially when it comes to possessions. A lot of people try to adopt minimalism but fail once they discover how much they need to eliminate.

Less Variety

Being a minimalist does not necessarily mean having fewer possessions, but it does mean having less of a variety of things. If you enjoy having an array of options when it comes to daily living, then becoming a minimalist will be a difficult challenge.

Loneliness

A minimalistic bedroom.

Drastically changing your life can result in a loss of friendships, especially if people do not support your decisions. After all, going shopping with your besties might not be an option once you start eliminating things you do not need in your life. Not spending time with your friends can cost you some relationships, though it can also inform you of who is really important in your life.

Minimalism Doesn’t Guarantee Happiness

Just because you are living a simpler life doesn’t mean you will automatically be happier. Being a minimalist takes a lot of effort and time, and it is not the perfect fit for everyone. Depending on your personality and individual tastes, a minimalist lifestyle might not be practical.

KonMari Minimalism

The idea of being a minimalist is defined as those who are committed to decluttering their lives, living with less, and being happier with a simpler life. Much of this recent trend can be attributed to books such as The Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book in particular details Kondo’s philosophy surrounding decluttering.

Her method to tidying up is two-pronged: first, you must put your hands on everything you own and get rid of things that don’t spark joy within you. Second, she states that you must place all of what’s left in a visible and accessible space, making it simple to clean up from there on out.

While following Kondo’s regime may seem a little outlandish, there are some benefits to embracing the minimalist lifestyle. As mentioned above, the less clutter that exists in your home, the easier it is to keep your space neat and tidy. That means less time cleaning and more time for other activities and priorities.

Another benefit of this lifestyle is a lessened focus on material possessions and a more magnified focus on what’s really important in life. Less stress, more productivity, an enhanced sense of freedom, and a more aesthetically pleasing home are all up for grabs when it comes to this movement.

Three Ways to Be More Minimalist

1. Pare Down Your Wardrobe

A woman going through her closet.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have clothes in our closets that we could live without. Paring down your wardrobe is a great first step to becoming a minimalist in 2018. Go through your closet and get rid of clothes that you haven’t worn in a year or more, items that have gone out of style or that no longer fit, and clothing that is worn out. Make piles of items to donate and a pile of clothes that can simply be thrown away. Remove it from your home as soon as possible and enjoy your more organized and decluttered wardrobe.

If you’re having trouble getting rid of things, set a number goal or limit for certain items. For example, decide you're only going to keep your 10 best t-shirts—and stick to it.

2. Declutter Your Kitchen

A drawer with kitchen utensils.

It’s not uncommon for individuals to accumulate extra items in the kitchen that create clutter, so this is a great room to focus on tidying up. When it comes to the kitchen simplicity reigns, however, many of us end up with duplicates of cooking gadgets and utensils.

Commit to getting rid of duplicates and purging your drawers and cabinets of items that are unnecessary. If you’re debating whether you should get rid of certain items, put them together in a bin and place them out of sight. If the need to use them doesn’t arise within a month or two, get rid of them altogether. You’ll love cooking in your clutter-free, simplified kitchen.

Another way to declutter your kitchen is to clear off your countertops. This part of your kitchen is prone to attracting clutter, but you’d be surprised how freeing it can feel to have clear counter space! Everything sitting out on this space is just vying for your attention, so an abundance of room eliminates distractions and allows you more time to focus on other more important things, like cooking healthy meals.

Try completely clearing off your counters, throwing away items that aren’t needed and stashing other items in drawers, cabinets, closets, and pantries. A week later, replace only the items that you found yourself frequently pulling out for use. It’s a safe bet that your counters will end up much less congested after this experiment.

3. Cut Down on Furniture Pieces

This is a way to become minimalist that might not seem intuitive, but you’d be amazed at the good that it can do. Remove excess and perhaps rarely used furniture pieces like end tables, ottomans, chairs, and so on from the rooms within your home. This will make a big change in the airflow of your home, opening up a significant amount of space. Talk about a great way to remove some of the largest pieces of clutter from your home!

The road to becoming a minimalist is one that takes some effort to travel down, but it’s certainly worth the undertaking. Even small changes can make a large difference in your attitude, the cleanliness and organization of your home, and in your productivity and happiness levels.