How to Start Being a Minimalist and What Not to Do

How to Start Being a Minimalist and What Not to Do

So you’ve seen all the shows, read all the articles and now you’re thinking this minimalist gig might be for you. Maybe your journey started something like mine? We moved into a big, beautiful house and slowly felt suffocated by the space and the clutter it took to fill those spaces. That’s when we downsized and discovered minimalism.

Depending on where you’re at in life and how much stuff you have with you, the idea of becoming a minimalist can be really overwhelming. So where do you even start? What should you not do? Don’t worry, I’ve got all the answers totally based off my own personal minimalist journey. Keep reading and I’ll fill you in on how to start being a minimalist and what not to do!

*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures

There is no deadline.

When we made the official choice to downsize our house, I felt like I had to get it all done right away. I wanted all the wonderful benefits of a clutter-free minimalist life and I wanted them NOW.

The fact that we had lost time, money and energy maintaining this house and all it’s contents probably played a part in my serious urgency to get it all out of my life as soon as possible.

If you know exactly how I feel, let me share with you this big secret of minimalist living: there is no deadline.

Even after we downsized, (which was over 2 years ago now) I have continued to downsize more and more. My journey with minimalism didn’t end the second I stepped foot into a house that was 2,000 square feet smaller. Not even close. In fact, we recently downsized again big time in order to pay off our final debt. When I say downsized, I don’t mean we moved again. We downsized in our own home, without moving.

So let me chat about how you can get started that way.

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Get started right where you are.

The best part about minimalism is that it doesn’t require anything. There are no set rules or limitations to it. Have you been day dreaming about tiny house living? (Because I totally do.) Well, there is actually a way to see beforehand if living in a tiny house is right for you and your family.

In my post Plan a Big Downsize Without Moving I lay out all the different ways that you can start downsizing without moving!

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Don’t compare.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Teddy Roosevelt

When we compare ourselves to anyone else, their life, or their situations we find ourselves feeling empty and unworthy. Even if we compare ourselves to people who appear to have it worse off than ourselves. Doing this has a way of making us feel superior which then makes us feel obligated to live up to that superiority.

When I was at the height of my excitement of becoming a minimalist I found myself watching a lot of documentaries. Tiny House documentaries were a favorite. Then I found myself wondering, “Why don’t I have a tiny house? Should I be building a tiny house? I’m not minimalist enough if I still want my own master suite!” 

Well, that’s just plain not true. There is no right way to live your own life. There are however a lot of wrong ways. If you feel like someone else’s path should be yours, then you’re doing it wrong. All wrong. So do yourself a favor and enjoy other people’s journeys, learn from them, but never expect yours to be the same.

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Stuff is O.K.

There is this idea behind minimalism that we should all be living like Mother Teresa. That woman lived like a saint. (Get it?)

Just because The Minimalists jump started their minimalism journey by living out of a single backpack doesn’t mean you have to go to that extreme too.

In fact, I am a firm believer in keeping your stuff. Just not all of it. For example, I have a white frog lamp that was my grandmother’s. Not only do I love the uniqueness of the lamp itself, but it was hers. It sat right next to me whenever I’d go visit her. It sat just behind me as I sat alone holding her hand as she took her last breath.

It was the only thing I took with me that night on my 2 hour drive home. The frog lamp and her wedding bands because I knew my other aunt would want them.

This lamp will be with me until the day I die if I have any say in the matter. Yet, I can still call myself a minimalist.

Some general “stuff” guidelines:

  • Does it bring you joy?
  • Is it serving a purpose?
  • Would someone else make better use of it?
  • Do I have more than one of these? (Kitchen utensils is a big one here!)
  • Are you holding onto an item because the person is gone?

That last one is my toughest, I won’t deny it. My house is filled with many items that were my grandmother’s. Afghans she knit, paintings she painted, and my frog lamp. I hang onto these things, but I said goodbye to the whole house. In order to help when they moved to the assisted living facility, I offered to arrange their estate sale. I think it was too hard for my aunt and uncle to take on.

No matter what your struggle, no matter what you’re hanging onto, don’t rush the process. When you’re ready to let go, let go. Until then, enjoy each thing that you have chosen to hold onto.

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Not everyone will “get it.”

Again, let’s just chalk this up as another all around life lesson.

It’s your journey. You can’t expect others to get it.

It's your journey. You can't expect others to get it.Click To Tweet

Take each day a step at a time. It’s really all you can do. If you tried to take every step you were ever meant to take in life, you’ll spend most of your time just tripping over your own feet. For now just do you with peace at a pace that works. Minimalism is all about less anyway…so start with less stress!

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About The Author

Renee

Renee is the blogger behind The Fun Sized Life. After downsizing with her family, she also took the time to get serious about he finances. Now she is sharing the wealth with all of her readers.