I’ve outlined all of the reasons you should embrace minimalism in my earlier post. Which is all fine and dandy, but when it comes to practicing minimalism it can be difficult to know where to start.
So, I’ve come up with some minimalism baby steps, small things you can do which will set you up for starting your journey towards a more minimal life. Minimalism is something I’ve only recently started developing a passion for, so these are things I’ve done recently.
Even if you’re not sure about minimalism (which I highly doubt else you wouldn’t be reading this post amirite?!) there is no harm in doing any of these three things. They are simple and small and very very easy. No excuses.
1. Have a clear out.
Now, we’re not talking about parting with your most precious items here. I’m talking about getting rid of those old clothes at the back of the wardrobe, or the old shoes you haven’t worn in years but can’t bear to part with.
Collect together some of your unwanted goods and either throw them away, recycle them, donate to charity or donate to friends and family.
This will clear the decks slightly, making it easy for you to see the difference having less stuff will make. It’s like a weight off your shoulders. And this will only be from getting rid of things you actually don’t want, so it won’t be difficult work to do.
Once you’ve removed the items you know you definitely don’t want you can start considering which items you do want to keep but that you don’t need. But don’t push yourself to part with family heirlooms straight away. Work your way up to it.
Or don’t work your way up to it. Minimalism is personal, make it work for you. If you’re like me there may be some items you will never want to part with, and that’s okay. Minimalism is more about curbing your compulsive consumerism and breaking the emotional attachment you have to things, focusing more on the moment and being more mindful in your behaviour.
In other words, if you own something which genuinely brings you joy, don’t part with it. But don’t keep it for the wrong reasons, like fearing wasting money or thinking the item holds your emotions for you.
2. Don’t spend any unnecessary money for a week.
Disclaimer: This does not include money on food, bills or travel costs. These are things which are essential and can’t really be avoided, especially not to begin with.
But, you can cut down on any unnecessary spending. By this I mean buying clothes, trinkets, spending money on socializing like going to the cinema or something. Spending money which you don’t need to spend but that you want to spend.
You’ll be surprised how easy it is. You can find tonnes of free events to attend locally just through a simple google search or checking out events near you on Facebook. You could also have some friends over for a meal, just use the food you already have in the house to cook with.
It will also open your eyes to a more “make do and mend” mentality. Those jeans you love have a small tear in? No problem. Learn how to fix them rather than going out and buying a new pair. Pinterest and google have tonnes of resources for fixing rather than replacing things. And it is pretty much anything you can think of.
At the end of the week you’ll be more aware of how much money you have been spending unnecessarily, which is not only good for saving you money but also for giving you a different outlook. You don’t need tonnes of money to live the best life.
3. Write down all the reasons you spend money.
Write yourself an extensive list of all the different reasons you spend money. This can include things like rent, bills, food and clothes shopping. And also any frivolous purchases and spending money on socializing. Write down every penny spent, don’t miss a thing.
And then for each one, write the reason why you have spent it. For your bills this is going to be obvious, you’ve spent it because you need to. But where this becomes more interesting are those frivolous spends. Like new clothes. Why did you buy those new clothes? Is it because you needed them, or just because you were feeling down and needed a boost? Or because you just plain old wanted them?
Think deeper about your shopping habits and it’ll become much clearer why you are spending money on things or occasions. By knowing the problem you have more chance of fixing it. If you find you use shopping as a way of making yourself feeling better then you know you need to find something else to get that boost.
Do this for as long as you need to before you get to the heart of where you’re consumerism comes from. I know that when I’m feeling down I’ll maybe treat myself to a lunch rather than making it at home, or I’ll buy a new DVD from my Amazon wish list just because.
It can be really eye opening this exercise.
Give these a try and let me know in the comments how you get on!