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5 tips for a more minimalist lifestyle

Life_House_John_Pawson

Minimalism has become trendy in the last few years, with lots of books, articles and websites about becoming minimalist, simple living and decluttering.

I heartily recommend it, but it's not for everyone.

Minimalism isn't necessarily better, or more stylish, it's just a matter of preference. I personally love it, whereas others think it's stark and unappealing.

So this is purely from my point of view, without me trying to sell anything or impart any great wisdom.

I like my house, and lifestyle, to be free of clutter, and here's why:


Why minimalism?

Some of the reasons I love minimalism include:

Aesthetics

I personally love pared down, simple design.

Efficiency and peace

I prefer things that combine uses so I can cut down on clutter. Less clutter helps me focus and relax. It also makes it a lot easier to find things, which saves time.

Cost

Buying less stuff means spending money. But be careful, as some minimalist design goods can be pretty expensive.

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Think that minimalism is for you? Then let's get to the point...


5 tips for a more minimalist lifestyle

 

1) Choose an area to declutter

This could be a physical space, like a room or even a shelf, or something more personal like spending less money.

The key is to distinguish between needs and wants.

Sure, I want another bike, but do I need one? Will it get used? Do I have space for it? Do I really need to go to Starbucks in the morning, or could I make your own coffee and take it in a flask? (That's a rhetorical question, by the way. I don't buy coffee out. Making my own saves loads of money, cuts down on waste, is easier to transport in a flask, stays warmer for longer, and often tastes better.)

You can go the emotional attachment route if you like when choosing what to get rid of, but I tend to use a simpler approach: if I haven't used it for up to a year, it can probably go.

A common place to start is your wardrobe. Go through your clothes and either donate, give away or sell the things you no longer wear. Throw them away if necessary. Be honest and realistic.

 

2) Know when to let go

We tend to hold on to things for sentimental reasons, or because they were expensive purchases. But if they're just taking up space, you're better rid of them.

If you've got a few things gathering dust in your drawers and closets, you can probably let them go.

 

3) Make it a habit

Cleaning out your wardrobe and saving some money might feel great at first, but consistency is key.

This is where you're likely to find out whether or not you're comfortable with a more minimalist lifestyle. For example, I like not having to spend too much time choosing clothes because a) I've greatly reduced the amount of clothing I have, and b) I tend to wear the same kind of thing.

This also includes keeping things tidy. Following the old adage "a place for everything, and everything in its place" is a pretty good rule of thumb.

 

4) Stop buying stuff

Select purchases with much more care and thought. Choose quality over quantity.

When considering a purchase, for example, I'll give myself a "cooling down period" of at least a week to think about whether or not I really need it. More often than not, I don't, and I've saved loads of money and space.

 

5) Beware of storage

This might sound counterintuitive given how many people into decluttering recommend storage options, but having too many storage options runs the risk of filling them with stuff you don't need.

I prefer to space over storage.

 

Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.
~ Lao Tzu

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