How to Start Minimalism, 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. Depending on where you’re at in life and how much stuff you have with you, it can be tough to know how to start minimalism. Where do you begin? This post has practical tips that anyone can do to begin their minimalist journey without feeling overwhelmed.

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Minimalism doesn’t have a 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 right away.

The fact is that anything in life take’s time. You will not be able to completely change your ways overnight. Be more generous with yourself and understand that minimalism is a journey and not a destination.

How to start minimalism is by just taking things one step at a time. If you have been feeling the urge to declutter or downsize for a while, then just pick one room and begin working your way through the clutter. 

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Have you wondered how to start minimalism? Life with less can seem crazy overwhelming. Don't let it trick you. Start minimalism today with these 5 tips.

There is no right way to start minimalism.

My minimalist journey began when I staged my first house to sell. I loved the crisp, clean look without clutter. It was wonderful.

I slowly began incorporating minimalism into my life.

Then I began reading books about tiny house living and I felt like I wasn’t doing it right. 

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

Can you call yourself a minimalist if you aren’t living in a tiny house? What about if you have a closet filled with clothes? Are you just a total fraud? 

No.

Here are some simple truths about minimalism:

  • You can be a minimalist in a mansion
  • Minimalism doesn’t mean you can’t love clothes
  • No one is doing minimalism better than you
  • Individual minimalism means keeping only what matters most to you

Spark joy

One of the best ways to start going through your items and deciding what stuff you like the best is to try the KonMari method. I highly recommend checking out Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or check out her new Netflix special.

Marie Kondo will walk you through a step by step process to declutter your stuff and tidy up your house.

Another great method is by simply asking yourself this question: “If I lost this item, would I purchase it again?

I’m honestly afraid of how much stuff I wouldn’t have if I asked that question! But it is truly a great place to start.

Joshua Becker, the minimalist expert behind the blog Becoming Minimalist also has a great method he calls The Becker Method.

KonMari Posts You’ll Love:

Have you wondered how to start minimalism? Life with less can seem crazy overwhelming. Don't let it trick you. Start minimalism today with these 5 tips.

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. If there was a fire in my house, I would save the frog lamp. 

“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 you are connecting it to a person?

Getting clear about your reasons for hanging onto something is the first step in learning more about yourself and your minimalist journey.

Maybe you’re not ready to get rid of all your grandparents belongings. That’s ok. Maybe someday you’ll be ready to part with that stuff, but today doesn’t have to be that day.

Have you wondered how to start minimalism? Life with less can seem crazy overwhelming. Don't let it trick you. Start minimalism today with these 5 tips.

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.

People will judge you for choosing the minimalist lifestyle.

They will think you are a judging them for not choosing it. Don’t judge them.

Everyone will choose a different way of living and that’s ok. Keep living a life that you feel is aligned with your purpose and your values. Spread knowledge and encouragement about minimalism where you can and keep your eyes focused on the journey ahead.

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Have you wondered how to start minimalism? Life with less can seem crazy overwhelming. Don't let it trick you. Start minimalism today with these 5 tips.