A Step-by-step Guide to Becoming a Minimalist
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned,-Will Rogers, 1879
to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”
Have too much stuff?
Need something to do at home?
With quicker deliveries and lower prices, it’s easy to get caught up in a work and spend lifestyle.
This step-by-step guide will help you break the cycle and get control of your life.
What is minimalism?
Working long hours leaves you little time and energy to do anything but shop. After all, you’ve earned it. But what happens to all the stuff that piles up in your house? The quick dopamine hits you get from buying products can become addictive. This doesn’t lead to long-term satisfaction and quickly leaves you looking for the next fix. It also can start a competition with others over how much stuff you have. In short, the things you own, end up owning you.
Being a minimalist doesn’t mean you have to give up all worldly possessions and live in a monastery.
Minimalism to me is rewiring gratification you get from things to experiences. This leads to a satisfying journey of self-discovery and fulfillment. Then you can have more purpose, clarity and control over your life. Minimalism is simply simplicity.
In 2015, I sold everything I couldn’t fit in a suitcase and started slow traveling the world. For the last five years, I never felt like I was lacking anything. This is not for everyone of course. But if I can be comfortable in this extreme situation, anyone can adopt some elements of minimalism to improve their lives. I hope this guide can help you on your journey.
The hardest part. Once you overcome inertia, it gets a lot easier.
Pick a room and take an inventory.
Put everything you haven’t used in a year in one pile.
Divide that pile into things you will sell, things you will donate, and things you will throw away.
If this is too intense, create a fourth pile for things you can’t bear to part with.
Repeat in other rooms, one a day until you’ve done your entire house.
Once you have cleared your place, you have to maintain the amount of things you have.
Before you buy anything, ask yourself what you will discard in exchange. I call this the “Law of Conservation of Stuff”. In order to gain something, you must be willing to give up something that takes up the same amount of space. For example, before I buy a new shirt, I make sure to give away a worn out one.
Resist temptation to buy the latest phone/gadget/shiny object. Take the price of the item and divide it by your hourly wage. That’s how many hours of your life it will cost. Think about how great it is to have that free time instead.
Once you’ve become comfortable with this level of minimalism, you can try getting to the next level.
Ask yourself why you buy things? Is it out of boredom, lack of ideas, habit or simply to feel good? It’s important to work through the reasons to understand the root cause. Afterwards, you can make a lot more progress.
Minimalism can seem intimidating at first. But it’s actually quite fun and rewarding once you get started.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t get it right in the first try. Even discarding a few things and decreasing your purchases make a big difference.
Let us know how you practice minimalism in the comments.