A Beginner’s Guide to Minimalism

Contrary to popular belief, minimalism is not about owning X number of items only, or not owning this and that, and living poorly. There are no set of rules or restrictions on what you can or cannot own, or a maximum number of shirts allowed in your closet. It does not work like that.

Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. – Joshua Field Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists.

Minimalism taught me that happiness does not come from owning a lot of things. Things are just things: it does not give us true fulfillment, love, happiness. Life is more than a collection of things that we thought we can’t live without. Minimalists search for happiness not through things, but through life itself.

Minimalism is purposely focusing on the things that matter and letting go of the rest.

Let me give you a glimpse of how I started my journey:

It was in October 2017 while I was packing my things for a trip. While going through my closet, I saw a lot of clothes that did not fit anymore and some that I have not worn in a year or more. I started decluttering my clothes, perfumes, make-up, bags and shoes. I kept what I wanted and got rid of the things that I didn’t. Seeing my closet free of clutter and knowing I owned very few things made me feel good. Somehow it cleared my mind. It has only been 10 months since I started freeing my space of things that don’t add value to my life, and I’d say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Here are some tips for those who want to declutter:

  1. Assess yourself. Why become a minimalist? What do you want to achieve? Are you willing to simplify your life? What areas in your life do you think needs adjustment? How is minimalism going to improve your life?
  2. Take it easy. Start with physical decluttering. Clear your closet and drawers, then move on to your home office or work desk, kitchen and bathroom items. In my case, I either gave some away to family and friends, recycled, sold or donated the clutter. After this, I declutered my phone and was surprised that I was keeping files from 2014 that were taking up too much space from my phone’s memory. Don’t keep anything that’s not useful or beautiful.

    Photo by Lauren Fleischmann on Unsplash
  3. One step at a time. What do you think is taking up so much of your time and energy but does not give you happiness and fulfillment? After physical decluttering, I decluttered my overly scheduled life by cutting out what I thought was a waste of my time. Currently I am working on my cluttered finances (more on this later).

    Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
  4. Find your motivation. Ask yourself what’s really important to you. One good motivation would be to be out of debt or save more money; breaking bad shopping habits is challenging but not impossible. Another motivation would be to have loving relationships and healthier lifestyle.
  5. Don’t buy what you don’t need. Before buying anything, ask yourself how it is going to add value to your life. Is it going to make you happy? Is it something you can’t live without? Is it going to improve your life?

    Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash
  6. Focus on clarity. Decluter your mind of mess. Decide to simplify your choices and live more purposely. How can you contribute your knowledge and skills to make the world a better place?
  7. Focus on what you can improve with yourself.  How can you achieve personal and professional growth?

If you are a beginner like me and you’re trying to work your way to minimalism, know that you are not alone and that the journey is not easy and requires a lot of work, as it requires you to be highly aware of what your actions and decisions mean.

Take it seriously. Make it happen and keep going. Associate yourself with people with the same mindset. It gets much easier as you go.

Do you have any tips you wish to share? Feel free to comment.


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