Hey! This blog is part of a series. If you haven’t read part 1 yet, you might want to check it out first.
As we covered in Part 1, minimalism is entirely amazing and can improve your life in various ways: reducing stress, saving time and money, boosting mental health, and inspiring you to see value outside of material possessions.
One of the best aspects of minimalism is that it’s totally free (you may even make a few bucks by selling belongings you decide to part with) and you can start right now (well, as soon as you finish reading this blog post, obvi).
Without further ado, here are four simple habits you can start implementing right now to further your journey toward a more minimalist lifestyle. Legggggo.
1. Purge all of the things
Minimalism is all about living with less. This one seems pretty straightforward, but can be surprisingly exhausting. You’ll want to be pragmatic about your process to keep from burning out: determine how much time you can dedicate to decluttering, then segment your purge by area: closet, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, car, laptop and phone (yep, digital decluttering is important, too!), etc. Make a plan based on the time you have, the areas you want to tackle, and how much clutter you are starting with.
The general rule of thumb is to toss anything you haven’t used in the last year. If you have gone through all four seasons without an item, it’s unlikely you’ll start using or wearing it anytime soon (goodbye, skinny-jeans-that-make-my-butt-look-like-magic-but-will-def-never-fit-me-again, sigh).
If you’re struggling to part with certain items, you can box them up and date the box six months out. After six months, if you haven’t needed to open the box to retrieve something, donate the box (without opening it!).
If you have gently used clothing to part with that’s still worth money, you can sell it through an app or at a consignment shop. I list branded items on the Poshmark app and take everything else that’s in great condition to local shops. If you want to check out Poshmark, you can use my code TAYKLEEKS for a $5 shopping credit.
2. Keep a list of wants
Impulse purchases can be so hard to resist and keep track of. Whenever you have the urge to make a purchase above a certain price (this is a personal threshold, just choose what makes sense for you), write a note (I keep mine in the notes app on my phone) with the item and the date you decided you wanted to buy it. After a week or two, if you still want the item, buy it. Put a check mark beside it on the list, but don’t delete it. Being able to visualize all the things you’ve bought for yourself recently will help you feel more grateful and less driven to buy more. It’s like when I’m starving and about to eat my own limbs and then Adam is like, “you just ate a snack twenty minutes ago,” and suddenly I’m fine again. It’s not always about the item itself, but rather the act of buying, that we get addicted to.
This tip has been huuuge for me. Keeping a list helps me stay focused when I step into a store or find myself distracted by promotional emails. If it’s not on the list, I need to have a very compelling reason to buy it. If I don’t, I’m not allowed to buy it that day, but add it to the list to purchase in the future. I often lose interest in the item and delete it from the list, which is both super satisfying and great for saving money.
3. Have a no-spend or experiences-only holiday season
Becoming more minimalist around the holiday season can be a little tricky. Give your loved ones a heads up in advance of gift exchanges so you don’t end up with a ton of extra items right after you’ve worked so hard to purge.
Ask family and friends to pass on giving you material gifts for the holidays and instead join you for coffee or a meal. This quality time together will likely be more valuable and memorable than a gift (and is anything better than coffee and food? Not that I’m aware of). If you’re self-conscious about telling everyone that you’re now a goddess of peace with no use for earthly knick knacks, just say “let’s both save money this year and cook a meal together instead of exchanging gifts.” Totes casual.
Alternatively, you can ask for intangible gifts, like a cooking class, city pass, movie tickets, fitness classes, etc. This option is also more memorable than a material gift, allows the gifter the opportunity to still give you something (gift giving is some people’s love language), and you’ll get to try something new.
4. Do a digital declutter and detox
The concept of decluttering what’s in your space applies to your mental space, too. Constantly consuming the messages that other people and businesses put in front of you is mentally taxing, so you need to be deliberate about whose messages you subscribe to and how much of your time and mental capacity you allow them to take.
Here are several options for optimizing and reducing your screen time:
- Unfollow or mute accounts that aren’t bringing you joy or educating you
- Use unroll.me to unsubscribe from email lists
- Turn your phone off for a few hours
- Turn off notifications for your apps
- Delete your social media apps entirely
Start with whatever feels comfortable, but practice one or more of these each month. Take the opportunity to unplug, get back in touch with yourself and your values, and ensure you are spending your time consuming content that truly interests or betters you in some way.
Now that you know what minimalism is, how it can benefit you, and some quick and easy tips, you can begin living more intentionally!
Minimalism is like fitness or health in that there’s no finish line, but rather continuous self-improvement over time. Every individual has their own benchmarks for success. Since living in a more minimalist way requires discipline and practice, I recommend following minimalists on social media and bookmarking resources (like this post, ayyy) to come back to for guidance. You’ll find that each time you practice the tips above, they will become easier and more natural to you.
If you try any of these tips, snap a pic or make an Instagram story and tag me! I would love to see how you implement these ideas and help keep you accountable.
Thanks for reading!