We all have an innate desire to minimize, to pare down to the essentials, but we aren’t always sure of the steps to take.
Truth be told, our consumptuous society and easy-to-please mindset, coupled with credit cards and extra income, is making it more and more difficult to live a simple life. Where there is money, there is the opportunity to buy, and we do, though most of us aren’t any happier for it.
For those who are looking for a way out of the glut and glamour of “too much stuff”, there are easy solutions. Of course, if you are seeking to make lasting change, then some extended level of work and determination is required. Your success, or lack of it, is dependent on your ability to adapt and absorb a cultural paradigm shift.
So, let’s get started with 8 easy steps to minimize your life!
One. Adopt a morning routine. Get in the habit of waking up early enough so there is no need to rush out the door, never. The catch is, that to accomplish this, you will need to get to bed on time! With enough sleep, you will wake up refreshed and be ready to physically and mentally start the day. Coffee is optional.
Two. Get rid of all clothes that do not fit. Sounds easy, right? So, why haven’t you gotten around to it yet? Procrastination and getting too comfortable with any situation (good or bad) are two reasons that we resist change. We know that change is inevitable, so focus on the positive experience and spend a day tackling your closet.
Take everything out, empty it on the bed, let it spill onto the floor and just take a visual count of the abundant clothes you have. Are there uncomfortable shoes being kept for no good reason? If so, toss them, they cannot be recycled, so gift them or bin them responsibly. Have you gone up or down a size recently? Someone else might be going through a similar period of weight change and in need of proper fitting clothing. Find them and offer your old clothes for free.
Be happy with all that you have left! If you are finding it difficult to live with little, why not start a gratitude journal to help you on your way to loving life with less?
Three. Simplify mealtimes. Practice makes perfect, when you have some go-to meals in your cooking repertoire, then you are off to a great start. If you need inspiration for simple meals, look here and here. If, by lucky circumstances, you have been cooking for ages, then use that to your advantage and forget about recipes – go unprocessed and use what is readily available at the local market. Simple food is real, good food. No sugar, no additives, no preservatives, no E numbers. Whether it takes meal planning or not, is simply up to you, it works well for some, not so great for others. Let spontaneity loose in the kitchen and you may just be happy for gluten-free pancakes at dinner.
Four. Unclutter. Start with the basics and pick a room, any room. Find a box or an oversize bag and put in it everything that you have not used, or set eyes upon, in the past three months. You will be surprised at the amount of stuff, perhaps even perplexed at how quickly it was all acquired. And how much money was spent? Set the monetary value aside and instead ponder how to get rid of it all. Donate to charity, gift to friends and family that may need what you don’t. Learn to focus on needs rather than wants both in gathering and getting rid of. Don’t burden someone else’s space with items that would be better off in a landfill.
Five. Take a digital sabbatical. When the pressure of fitting in online has gotten you feeling blue and insufficient, and the scrolling is becoming mind-numbing, just take a break. Announce it publicly that you need some time alone with reality or simply drop out for a while, chances are good that few will even take notice. We are all inundated with excess information in the digital sphere and it is impossible to process it all. Take a break when you need it, your health and sanity comes first before responding to the next Facebook message.
Six. Get outside. Fresh air works wonders for your vital energy and well-being. Being outdoors, no matter what the temperature, restores your creativity and focus in life. Make time to go for a long walk, it doesn’t matter where your feet take you, or how slowly you go, as long as you are able to go somewhere. When you spend time in nature, you are able to cultivate your love and understanding of the environment, you can begin to sense how we are all connected. If nothing else, getting and spending time outside, will give you full body exercise that is lacking behind the computer screen.
Seven. Reduce plastic in the home. There are several reasons to eliminate plastic entirely, especially in the pursuit of zero-waste, but we all need an easier, gentle place to start. Plastics are everywhere, you don’t need to look far to see the first piece, so the moment you recognize it, ask yourself if you really need it. What are the alternatives to whatever is plastic in your home? Can you reduce plastic bags as a starting point? Can plastic plates, cutlery and bowls be replaced by stainless steel or ceramic? Plastic may be cheap, but it is by no means the only material to make things with. When you opt for beauty and longevity, other materials will enter your humble home as a result.
Eight. Wash the dishes after every meal. A restaurant could not thrive without someone washing the pots, pans and dishes, a minimalist home cannot afford it either. When you own less, you honor what you have more. Washing the dishes after every meal is a simple act of practicality, at the same time it prepares you with everything you need to cook the next meal, so you are never lagging behind. Just like when you begin your day refreshed after a good night’s sleep, meal preparation will be more enjoyable when you start with a clean bowl.
Keep ahead of the stress and find simple ways to be less busy.
Own less, live more.
Follow these steps to minimize your life and rediscover the joys that maximize your happiness, one easy step at a time.
What steps have you found the easiest to take?
Where is your minimalist path heading?
Please share your thoughts in the comments, so we can all learn about simple living together.