Having trouble creating a minimalist lifestyle? If so, then these mighty (but unexpected!) minimalist lifestyle tips will help you move forward and bring about real, sustainable change.
I’ve considered myself a minimalist for almost a decade, but if you’ve read my minimalist story, you’ll know that the path wasn’t always easy for me. It actually took me years from “wanting to be a minimalist” to actually going through and making noticeable changes in my life.
It was often a step forward, two steps back. I would break up a few bags of stuff in a weekend … just to be in Target a few days later and fill my car to the brim with other things I didn’t really need.
It was so frustrating because I knew I was acting against my own interest! I was tired of settling down and wanted something different for myself, but I just didn’t know how to change the habits of my life.
It took a while, but luckily I had a breakthrough at some point …
The minimalist mindset
The * spark * that changed everything was the realization that minimalist life is so much more than disappointment – just like healthy living means so much more than just diet.
Having fewer things is of course an important part of minimalism! But binge decuttering without fundamentally changing your mindset is like a crash diet – it doesn’t last and “stuff” will creep back into your life at some point (spoken from personal experience!).
I really started to change my life when I stopped thinking about minimalism that I couldn’t have (a mindset based on willpower) and started looking at it as an intentional decision to have more of what matters,
I haven’t given up anything. Instead, I took the first steps to create a life that I really love.
If this resonates with you, here are six minimalist lifestyle tips to help you broaden that mindset and drive your journey forward.
6 minimalist lifestyle tips
1. Focus on what you want the most
If you want to have more of what is really important in your life, you first need to know what is really important in your life!
Think about your values for a while: retreat to the bones of your life and ask yourself what’s important. What makes you happy, proud and loved? What drives your heart and gets you out of bed in the morning?
There are no right or wrong answers – it could be family, art, education or stability – everyone has different priorities and that’s absolutely fine.
Whatever your priorities, make them your daily focus and use this mindset to put your minimalist decisions in a positive light. Here are some examples:
- Instead of saying “no” when shopping, try saying “yes” to be debt free and financially secure.
- Instead of saying “no” every weekend, try saying “yes” to spend more time with loved ones.
- Instead of saying “no” to perfectionism, try saying “yes” to self-love and care.
Master this mindset and I can almost guarantee that minimalist life feels like a natural choice.
2. PRACTICE SELF CARE
You probably already know that self-care is important – but did you know that it is absolute? essential for minimalist life?
Consider the following: If I feel insecure, exhausted, or overwhelmed, I get into survival mode. This means that I am not deliberately thinking about my decisions. Instead, I look for quick and easy ways to feel better and end up doing things like:
- Snack on junk food
- get snappy with my loved ones
- or the good old “buy things to cheer me up”
In other words, I make bad decisions. If I don’t take care of myself at first, I don’t care about anything else – especially minimalism. I don’t focus on the big picture or think about what’s most important because I’m just trying to get through the day.
The solution? Prevention.
Regardless of your feelings about minimalism, I firmly believe that we all have to practice self-care: drinking water, eating healthy food, taking time to read, or doing activities that nourish, stretch, and move your soul, keep a diary – what is that you feel grounded and good.
3. EXPENSES FOR EXPERIENCE
One of my biggest minimalist lifestyle tips is not to be too economical – especially at the beginning!
I know that this might sound like strange advice as a lot of people turn to minimalism to improve their financial situation, but stick to it.
If you want to stop finding joy in “things”, you have to train your brain to see the joy in other things … like experiences!
Of course, I know that there are a lot of fun things you can do for free (like walking or museums), but at the same time, I am aware that minimalism is usually difficult at first. The transition to “experiences about things” could initially be a challenge. So do everything you can to stack the odds in your favor.
Plan trips, evenings with friends or unique adventures such as wine tours or art courses. Work your way through your bucket list and get to know the joy of again do things vs owning things.
Finally, you can save and live more economically (if you want – keep in mind that minimalist life doesn’t automatically mean economical life), but I strongly recommend giving yourself a little more fun at the start!
4. Practical attention
Have you ever thought:
“All I need is _______ and I will be happy?”
If so, you are definitely not alone. This mindset was one of the biggest challenges on my path to minimalism.
I knew I wanted to own less – but I kept telling myself that I only need one few more things first. A new winter coat, a new pair of shoes … there was always something else I needed before I was ready to start with minimalism.
(You can recognize this as the “Last meal before starting the diet” syndrome!)
But of course, as you can guess, there was always ONE MORE without which I couldn’t live. I felt trapped in an endless cycle.
And why was that? Because I didn’t live in the present.
Instead of paying attention to my behavior and thanking for everything that I already owned and loved, my attention lived in an imaginary future. A fantasy country … where a new dress or a different purchase would magically solve all my problems.
I had to learn to live for today, and my mindfulness practice was a big part of that process. I started meditating, recording gratitude, and doing activities that I love, such as painting and yoga.
I was beginning to feel satisfied with what I already had and I stopped feeling that I needed more and more to be happy.
5. Don’t expect anything to change overnight
If you’ve read this far, it’s probably because you are serious about changing your life. And I understand – you were ready for change yesterday– not tomorrow or next week or next month. You want your life to look and feel different, and it is hard to be patient.
But let me tell you a story.
When I was 22, I packed everything I owned into a backpack rather impulsively and traveled the world for two years.
Although I did not consider myself a minimalist (I had never heard of the term at the time!), I embodied many of the characteristics. I had very few possessions and my life was free and easy.
What do you think happened when I finally settled on the street after two years?
I moved into a gigantic three-bedroom apartment, drove to Ikea in a moving van, and turned a room into a huge walk-in closet (which I immediately filled to the brim).
The moral of this story is that real change takes time. Even if you somehow managed to disappoint your entire life overnight, the next day you would mostly be the same person.
The truth is that minimalism is a journey and it takes time to unlearn a life full of habits. Everyone’s timeline is different. So be patient and kind to yourself.
6. Reflect on your success
Finally, if patience is not your forte (certainly not mine), learn to reflect and enjoy your success.
Celebrate your little victories:
- if you oppose searching the clearing frame
- if you donate your unused ski equipment to charity
- if you set clear and healthy boundaries
Concentrate on how far you have come instead of how far you have to go.
This attitude is important because frankly there is no finish line. Minimalism is about making room in your life for what’s most important, and I don’t think that’s a task that will ever be removed from your to-do list.
Instead, I think it’s a constant cycle to review your values, evaluate your life, and adjust accordingly. It is a new way of thinking and living – there will always be work, but there will always be things to celebrate!
More tips on how to become a minimalist
If you liked this blog post, here are some more tips and resources that you may find helpful.
First of all, I invite you to download Mindful interference suppression using the form below. In this free guide and workbook, I will teach you more about minimalist thinking and you will also learn my step-by-step troubleshooting process.
(As an additional bonus, you will receive my regular newsletter with further tips, inspiration and personal stories!)
If this blog post appeals to your heart, you will love my signature course Clear up your clutter, I’ll teach you how to think like a minimalist so that you can finally get rid of your gooey mess and live with the freedom and ease you deserve. Click here to get started today!
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