Minimalism is an intriguing subject these days. Whether it’s Netflix documentaries, Youtube channels, or design-focused content, the term “minimalist” appears everywhere. But how do we utilize the benefits of minimalism in practice? In other words, how do we begin our minimalist journey? Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply minimalism today.
Minimalism begins with a two-faced recognition.
First, you realize that you have too much stuff and that the clutter in your home hurts your productivity, mindfulness, and serenity.
Secondly, you want to boost your decision-making processes, both in the field of consumption and life in general.
In short, you realize that your priorities need a makeover.
Now that the mental side is covered, it’s time to get to minimalism in practice.
So, where do we start our minimalist journey in the real world?
4 steps to starting your minimalist journey today
You won’t become a minimalist overnight. As with most endeavors, it will take time and effort to make minimalism work. Nevertheless, there are practical steps you can take today to commence your minimalist journey.
The following are four primary steps to begin your minimalist lifestyle. These are the catalysts for change, the big habits.
Once adopted, you can break these habits down into smaller actions that will guide your daily routine as a minimalist.
The first pillar of a minimalist lifestyle is mindfulness.
What does it mean to be mindful in concrete terms?
The American Psychological Association defines mindfulness as a “moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.”
As such, mindfulness is about connecting to the present. You become aware of your actions instead of performing them on autopilot.
I mentioned the first minimalist recognition before – the realization that too much clutter negatively impacts our lives. This realization creates awareness. And this awareness is essential to start your minimalist journey today.
Pause for a moment and think about what clutter does to your life.
Do all of these clothes contribute to my happiness? Or did I buy them to follow trends? Do all of these fancy tech gadgets support or hamper my productivity at work? And finally, why do I purchase luxury items like jewelry? And what are the consequences on my wallet and credit card bills?
Once you’ve become mindful of your consumption habits, the first step toward a minimalist lifestyle is complete. Better still, pausing to reflect on consumer decisions will extend to other areas of life.
Now that you know how mindfulness works in terms of consumption, you can apply the “breathe – pause – question” technique to your relationships, work-related choices, and other decisions.
After learning how to connect to the present, it’s time for step two: writing down your priorities and values.
In the words of entrepreneur and philanthropist Garrett Gravesen, “the simple act of writing activates neurotransmitters in the brain that provide fresh and strong motivation to take action.”
In simple terms, writing down your reflections will inspire action.
Take out a journal and write down your priorities.
What are my goals in life? Where does my energy go? And what kind of lifestyle do I want?
Once you’ve written down your priorities, it’s time to assess your relationship with material possessions.
How do I align my consumption habits with my newly-found priorities?
Analyzing your general priorities and consumption habits is the second step on the journey to becoming a minimalist.
You’ll gain a clear vision of what you want and how you currently act. And this vision will help you adopt new habits and provide a road map for your ideal lifestyle.
Once you’ve become aware of your current lifestyle and identified necessary changes, it’s time to act.
Clean your rooms and organize your clutter. Start with your most-used areas like the living room and office before working your way up to the bedroom. The bedroom usually contains sentimental items, which is why you should organize it last.
Adding a visual dimension to your mental awareness is crucial. You know that you have too much, but you also have to see it.
Put all the clutter in your line of sight and organize your items according to three categories: necessary, doubtful, and expendable.
As an example, “necessary” items are things you use daily, like your laptop. “Doubtful” items are objects you sometimes use but don’t need, such as extravagant fashion. And finally, “expendable” items are clutter that you don’t need, like kitchen gadgets you never use.
After cleaning your rooms and sorting your possessions into groups, it’s time to declutter.
The purging process is the fourth and final step to start your minimalist journey today. Keep the items that you define as “necessary” according to your priorities. Purge the ones that are “expendable.” And finally, re-evaluate “doubtful” items. Depending on your degree of minimalism, you’ll keep or purge them later.
- When I first completed these four steps, it resulted in getting rid of 70% of my possessions. I was planning a full-time travel lifestyle, leading to more decluttering.
- How these steps work in your life depends on many factors, but they will point you in the right direction.
- Finally, these four steps will lead to the outset of your minimalist journey. They are the foundation that you can use today, but the journey will take much longer.
Useful links on How to Start Your Minimalist Journey Today
- more in the section “Life”
- read 6 Mindful Ways to Slow Your Life Down
- more under the topic “Mindfulness”
- read more under the topic “Decluttering”
- read How to Adopt a Minimalist Mindset in 10 Practical Steps
Don’t miss a beat!
Jack Krier is a writer, photographer, and full-time globetrotter. Thanks to minimalism, he built his ideal lifestyle around travel and online entrepreneurship, becoming a digital nomad in the process. On Minimalist Focus, he shares his ideas on minimalism and lifestyle design, helping thousands of readers improve their lives by focusing on the essentials.