There's no doubt that our lives appear more cluttered and chaotic than ever before. Whether that's true or not, many of us suffer from stress caused by a busy modern lifestyle.
As a result, many people turn to minimalism. It's a total approach to simplifying life across all areas – home, work, travel, relationships, money, health and even what you wear.
Best of all, it doesn't require a total overhaul of your entire life. It's about taking small steps and making gradual changes. To rid yourself of unnecessary clutter and commitment and embracing the spaces in your day.
Here are 4 simple things you can do to start a minimalist life:
1. Think about what you really need
Do we really need 40 pairs of shoes, 100 Tupperware containers, 3 digital devices or a new sofa when the old one is still going strong? This is what the minimalist life has us consider; what do we really need, and what can we let go of without if affecting our existence or happiness?
Have a think about your life, your home, your job, your relationships, your purchases, and pinpoint what are the essentials – and what's slowing you down or holding you back. What feels like a burden? Can you get rid of it, or at least outsource it to someone else?
2. Set your intention
Why do you want to live in a minimalist way? It's important to get really clear on your intention. Write down your reasons for wanting to strip back your life. Then, write a plan for how you'll get there – the small actions you need to take to de-clutter your space and your life. Remember to give yourself a deadline, so you know it will get done!
For instance, one item could be "de-clutter my wardrobe". Break this down into smaller steps like "get bin bag"', "go through top drawer", "sell unworn winter gear". Try to make each step something that will only take up to an hour to do. Otherwise, the job may seem too overwhelming!
3. Get rid of duplicate items
If you have any double-ups in your home, get rid of them. For instance, many of us hold onto an old broken TV even when we know we'll never drag it back out of storage. So why hang onto it? Release it, recycle it, sell it, just be sure to remove it from your life! It's amazingly freeing to strip back to the essentials.
4. Start to reduce your use
A key part of minimalism is being more aware of what you use and why. Often we go through plastic bags, Tupperware, clothes and cheap trinkets and toys for the kids without really considering their impact on the world, our wallet or our sense of freedom. So start taking little steps to reduce your use. Things like re-using shopping bags. Storing food in jars. Painting or fixing up an old piece of furniture so you'll wan t to use it again. You could even re-think your luxury expenses. Let's say you get take-away three nights a week. What if you reduce it to twice or once a week? See how it feels. You might find that living with less isn't as hard as you first thought. Play around with reducing items and creature comforts and see what space it creates in your life. But don't worry, minimalism isn't about denying yourself of fun. It's about reframing your idea of fun – creating shared experiences over thoughtlessly buying things to combat boredom.
There are many online resources with more tips and techniques to try out minimalism. Give it a go!Originally published on Feb 13, 2017