The Secret to Becoming a Minimalist (It Isn’t Decluttering)

Wondering how to become a minimalist?

From tiny houses to Marie Kondo, you’ve likely heard of trends revolving around minimalism or seen posts from your friends through social media on how they are transforming their lives.

Those ideas are great – having fewer material things to focus on relationships, goals, etc. 

However, people don’t become a minimalist overnight so where do they begin?

We’ve created this guide to give you 10 ways to become a minimalist. It most likely still won’t happen overnight but it will provide you with a good starting point.

Some of the ideas we will look at do support letting go of material things but we won’t tell you to sell all of your possessions.

Let’s examine some other ways to become a minimalist!

Ways to Become a Minimalist

Way #1: Appreciate What You Have Already

Way #2: Decide What Minimalism Means To You

Way #3: Get Organised

Way #4: Invest In Multi-Purpose Items

Way #5: Minimise Space

Way #6: Simplify Your Schedule

Way #7: Budget & Become Debt Free

Way #8: Clear Mental Clutter

Way #9: Simplify Grocery Shopping & Meals

Way #10: Learn To Travel Like A Minimalist

Way #1: Appreciate What You Have Already

A family in the woods.
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash 

One of the biggest hurdles when creating a minimalist home is changing you and your family’s mindset. Becoming a minimalist can make you happier but you need a foundation of happiness to build upon.

Before beginning your journey, pause and appreciate what you have already. Sometimes coming up with a list of things and people you appreciate in your life can help shift your mindset to prioritise the things that matter the most. 

Becoming a minimalist shouldn’t be your solution to having a better life, just a different one.

By taking this time to reflect on what you have you can truly analyse the possessions that mean the most to you. 

The grass is always greener on the other side. Stop comparing yourself to other people and instead focus within and appreciate the positive that you have in your life. 

This will come in handy when you start downsizing. If you have kids, this can be a great time to instill an appreciation for all they have.

This helps create positive feelings about the lifestyle transformation you are about to make before getting started.

Way #2: Decide What Minimalism Means To You

Young Man With Crossed Hands in the Nature.
Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

Why are you starting the journey of becoming minimalist?

Once you have a clear understanding of that, you can better map out the steps to get there and stay motivated.

Some people are drawn to the idea of simple living, while others just want less stress.

Everyone has different factors that motivate them to constantly grow as a person. 

No matter what it is that’s motivating you, decide what minimalism means to you and get started.

As you’ll learn by going through this guide, adjusting your lifestyle can be challenging and it will take some time.

During the journey, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and forget why you ever started. 

Write down your goals and reasoning for starting this journey and then put it somewhere you will see a lot like your planner, bathroom mirror or refrigerator.

This will help remind you why you started during those difficult moments and keep you focused.

Talk to other people who have gone through the same process of simplifying their life to see what worked and what didn’t. 

When you have a community around you it can make the process a lot smoother.

It’s also good to bounce around ideas and collaborate with other like-minded individuals to be able to constantly grow as a person. 

There are countless resources out there from books and articles that can help you understand what it means to be a minimalist and provide support along your journey. 

Way #3: Get Organised

Woman holding a pen and ticking boxes on a checklist.
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Getting organised can apply to so many areas of your life, from your clothes to your bank account, don’t leave any area behind.

Start with areas that cause you the most stress and move on from there.

Several of the ways to becoming a minimalist that we will look at in this guide involve getting organised so don’t worry! 

Most people struggle to get their living room clutter-free and closet organised. 

To help with decluttering, check out our guide on how to declutter your home: 21 tips for pro organisers.

We also have a guide to help you organise your closet or you could create a capsule wardrobe.

Many people have embraced a capsule wardrobe even if they aren’t going for a minimalist lifestyle.

Essentially you are designing a wardrobe from the ground up. 

This allows all of your items to be mixed and matched with each other. Try choosing one or two main colours and then add in a few complementary pieces.

Many people love it because it takes less time to pick an outfit each day.

Don’t worry about always looking the same, accessories allow you to spice up your look!

This way you can stay stress free and not feel like you are rushing through the day and feel more organised with your daily schedule. 

Way #4: Invest In Multi-purpose Items

Multi-purpose Items.
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

The minimalist life should consist of many multi-purpose items. They are super-efficient and great at saving space. 

From tables that turn into beds to storage built into stairs, multi-purpose furniture is a genius hack taking over the tiny house community. If you don’t live in a tiny house, there are still plenty of multi-use furniture and other items you can use. 

A pocket-knife is a classic multi-purpose tool but there are so many others – toaster ovens, storage benches, coffee pots with built-in alarm clocks and Bluetooth speakers, plus countless more.

These gadgets take up less space in your home while still giving you the functionality you need.

Use other hacks like storing things in clear jars so they double as decorations.

This can be done with many things – cotton swabs in the bathroom, tacks or paperclips in your office, or seasonings in the kitchen. Get creative with it.

We also discuss this (plus other small room hacks) in our guide 20 easy ways to make a small room look bigger.

When one item has more than one purpose, it maximises its use, gives it more meaning and there’s no unnecessary clutter. 

Way #5: Minimise Space

Kitchen accessories.
Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

When people think about downsizing, they think of getting rid of material things or investing in smaller items but did you know you can also downsize your space? 

Only allow yourself to store things in a certain space and then make that space as small as you can. Here it’s better to have quality over quantity. 

Nowadays we can get in the bad habit that we feel like we always have to fill empty space.

This can cause us to start collecting junk that we don’t need. When you can focus on small pops of decoration or supplies it can bring the whole room together. 

For example, in your kitchen, you might have utensils stored in a few drawers and a container on your counter but try reducing it to just one.

Only keep the items you love, that will fit in that area.

Do this in your entire house. By minimising space instead of items you end up with less stuff but don’t have to focus on decluttering.

You will have to change your perspective, which will become easier over time.

Start by going room by room and see what you can compact into an area of the room. 

Instead of having items scattered all over your house, make sure that each item has a purpose and their location makes sense for its use.  

Way #6: Simplify Your Schedule

Open calendar on a desk.
Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash

Being a minimalist isn’t only about letting go of material possessions, you also need to simplify other areas of your life like your schedule.

It may seem counterproductive but by adding something to your schedule, you actually give yourself more free time.

Add time for yourself. Block a few hours out of your schedule each week to focus on things you enjoy.

Go for a walk, take a nap, play a game with your family – anything that sparks joy in your life.

Also, focus on the tasks you are allowing into your schedule.

With jobs, families and other responsibilities, there will always be things you have to add to your schedule but don’t add more than necessary. 

Make sure you are keeping those hours blocked off for yourself. It can be as simple as journaling your thoughts so that you can reference it when times are tough. 

Way #7: Budget & Become Debt Free

Man doing calculations on his mobile phone.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

A lot of people are drawn to the minimalist lifestyle because they want to save money. Minimalism does help with spending less money but first you need to get your finances together and eliminate any debt.

Create a budget so you can see how much money is coming in and out and then set up a plan to use any leftover income on paying off your debt.

Eliminating debt can be a daunting and drawn out process but there are several step-by-step guides out there to help you.

Once you have a budget where you can clearly see all of your expenses, you can work with your family to cut down or completely eliminate some areas.

Financial freedom is a very liberating feeling! When you stop focusing on material possessions that you want, you will unexpectedly start saving. That money can then be used on your real passions.

Way #8: Clear Mental Clutter

Man sitting on a bench and holding his head.
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Becoming a minimalist isn’t only about shedding what’s around you, you also have to look inside yourself and let go of some things.

Every person will address their mental clutter in their own way. Here are some ways to clear your mental clutter:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Listening to music
  • Working Out

That’s only a few but there are many other options. The goal is to steady your head and restore balance to your day.

The constant use of social media and technology can also weigh down our minds and cause unnecessary stress.

Try to commit to not using any social media or technology for 24 hours, a week, or a month. 

You will be surprised how refreshed you feel just by eliminating a few small things that take up so much daily time.

Way #9: Simplify Grocery Shopping & Meals

Fruits and vegetables inside a grocery store.
Photo by nrd on Unsplash

Grocery lists and meal preparation are two other great areas to simplify. Cut down on the money you spend and food you waste by making more conscious decisions when planning your meals.

You don’t have to eat the same meal everyday but keep it simple. Try asking your family for one favorite meal each and then rotate those throughout the weeks.

Add in a new meal as you wish but by having a few staple dishes, you take the stress out of creating a new dish every night.

You also reduce the food you have to throw away but only purchasing the needed ingredients for the dishes you have planned out in advance.

Way #10: Learn To Travel Like A Minimalist

Man who is about to travel with only one luggage on his feet.
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Learn to travel lightly will save you time, stress and money. Don’t pack a huge suitcase that you have to check in.

Some transportation options charge extra for checking a bag, you have to wait in line to check it and hope it doesn’t get lost or damaged in transport.

Save yourself the headache and invest in a lightweight carry-on size backpack.

The larger the bag, the more unnecessary stuff you will find to fill it with.

This makes it so much easier to keep track of all of your belongings and forces you to only pack the essentials.

You will quickly learn you don’t need that much stuff.

There are packing cubes that make packing super simple and Marie Kondo’s Netflix special has some great folding tips to get the most out of your tiny packing space.

Final Thought

Becoming a minimalist can add so much joy and appreciation to your life. Start truly living by living with less. 

I’m so excited for the journey you are about to take and for the transformation you will see in your life.

Everyone’s journey is different and minimalism is inspired by so many things. I would love to share in your experience and thoughts through the process.

Good luck and enjoy your newfound way of life!

Now it’s your turn: 

What inspired you to become a minimalist? If you’ve started your journey, what has been the hardest part? If have not started yet, what do you think will be the hardest area of your life to apply minimalism?

Let us know by leaving a comment below!

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

  1. Minimalist Living: Follow These 9 Steps for a Better Life
  2. How to Downsize your Wardrobe: The Complete Checklist
  3. How To Minimise Plastic Use In Your Home
bySTORED. Head of Digital at STORED.

Author: bySTORED.

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