So you’ve heard about this thing called minimalism and you’ve decided you want to become a minimalist. I’ve got good news for you. I can teach you how to become a minimalist. But first, we need to discuss what minimalism really means. Second, you need to ask yourself if you really want to be a minimalist.
What Is A Minimalist?
What does it mean to become a minimalist? Here’s our first problem: There is no clear definition of minimalism as a lifestyle. I’ve grappled with this issue since starting this blog. I’ve decided to call myself a moderate minimalist. But some people who claim to be minimalists may not consider me a minimalist at all. On the other hand, some people may look at me and think I live like a monk. It’s all a matter of perception.
For convenience, let’s use a definition I found on vocabulary.com.
When you call a person a minimalist, you’re describing their interest in keeping things very simple. A minimalist prefers the minimal amount or degree of something.
Okay, so this means that you must give up extravagance and over-consumption. Becoming a minimalist means that you intentionally live as simply as possible under your current circumstances. You only buy the things you absolutely need. You only keep the things that bring you value. You live simply and let go of excess.
So you’ve made it this far and now you want to know how to become a minimalist. I’ve lived fairly simply my entire life. I never went through a life-changing transition where I sold my 7-bedroom, 5-bath house, four cars, three boats, and 100,000 worldly possessions to downsize to a 200-square-foot house with less than 100 things. That’s just extreme and a little stupid.
So then you ask, “What would I suggest?” You might have guessed that I’d have an answer for you.
4 Ways To Work Toward Minimalism
- Use your mind: Too often we buy stuff without thinking. Our advertising industry has programmed us to buy based on our wants rather than our needs. The first step to becoming a minimalist is to reverse this mindset. You have to consciously consider what you truly need. This takes thought. Use your mind.
- Stick to necessities: We’ve been tricked. We think we need so much more than we really do. If you’re honest with yourself, the basic necessities of life, even modern life, are not really much at all. A roof, food, water, transportation and communication are the essentials. Start there. Begin to consider your absolute base-level needs for a comfortable existence.
- Limit your spending: Stop buying crap you don’t really need. Begin to evaluate every purchase you make. Ask yourself if the item you’re buying is really needed. Is it essential for your existence? Is it valuable to your work life or to your family? Make a point to only buy things that add some kind of value to your life.
- Give freely: Part of becoming a minimalist includes getting rid of stuff. Here’s my rule of thumb: if you haven’t used an item in more than 6 months, let it go. Give your old stuff to charity. But don’t just give stuff. Minimalists also discover the value of time. Having less stuff creates more time. Give freely of your time, too.
Are You Ready?
So what do you think? Are you ready to become a minimalist? Remember, minimalism as a lifestyle, is not something you should jump into too fast. It’s a lifestyle that takes thought, commitment, and discipline. It’s not always easy. But in the end, you’ll be doing both yourself and the world a favor. So now that you know how to become a minimalist, will you get started?
Follow my ten-step challenge to live more simple, Start here.