Starting to “minimize” seems like it is more than downsizing or decluttering, it sounds like a mindset.
What I mean is, I see it as a way of life that I want to know more about!
I discovered an approach to minimalism that really “rang my bell”.
A minimalist can mean “deciding what is important in your life and recognizing happiness.” – That’s for me.
I can’t speak for all of you, but I kind of like the idea of being a minimalist. We have way too much stuff! Frankly, I am afraid many of us have spent more time valuing materials possessions than we’d like to admit.
I was really encouraged when I read that minimalism can mean different things for different people.
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Why Should You Consider Simplifying Your Life?
I found another definition of what it means to be a minimalist that really sang to me:
Being a minimalist means you value yourself more than material things. It means making decisions based on what you need instead of getting everything you want.
It does not mean the things you buy are cheap. … A person can decide how much of a minimalist lifestyle they want to lead.
They can do it in stages as well.”
Would you like more:
- Time, time, time
Seems like some really bold claims here, and it sounds a bit crazy I know.
But, honestly, I would like those things so what do I have to lose by giving it a try?
Let’s Get Started
Keep in mind this is about simplifying your life and focusing on what is important to you! There are many ways to simplify your life, and you can make this your own journey.
We all know more belongings don’t make us happy in the long run. In fact, if you are like me, you may be looking at some of the stuff you have accumulated and asking yourself “what was I thinking when I bought that?”
Decluttering seems to be the place to start for anyone wanting to minimize, and this is especially true for “empty nesters’, or baby boomers.
If you happen to be part of both of those groups, as I am, you probably have some work to do.
The rumor is decluttering results in fewer things to clean up and less “projects” to complete, like cleaning the garage or basement.
In the end, this will leave you more time to personally decide how you want to spend it.
2. Decide What You Really Need or Want?
Our children see the value of living with less, spending less and living a minimalist lifestyle. They don’t want all the things we accumulated over the years with expectations to pass them on to the next generation.
Making your kids take your stuff is NOT decluttering.
We couldn’t buy enough stuff back in our day!
Many of us have Christmas dishes, decorations for every holiday, several sets of regular dishes, china, crystal, silver, Department 56 decorations, rooms of furniture, and the list goes on.
When you stop to think about it, saving things for your children was not a smart idea in the first place.
Unless you are an antique collector, you didn’t want your mother’s things, you wanted your own things, right?
What made us think that all of the things we “collected” would be valuable to our children?
We don’t want the kids to feel guilty for not taking our treasures.
That still leaves the problem of getting rid of some pretty nice stuff.
Consequently, you are left with two choices, donate it or throw it.
Have you heard of Marie Kondo and her amazing advice on how to live more simply by decluttering your life?
I recently saw her on TV and she is adorable. I know she has a Netflix show but her book is really what you need. Get it from Amazon here.
3. Take More Time
“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” ~ Steve Jobs
We also know that “if you don’t plan your time, someone else will!” At my age, I can tell you that is all true!
Time is so important. We take it for granted, we all want more, but we all just get 24 hours each day.
I love being with family & friends, but I also value time alone and have become very protective of that time.
What commitments do you have that you do not want to spend your time on? This includes committees, clubs, parent organizations, etc.
Focus on who & what is most important to you. Schedule those things instead.
Even though some people are persistent & don’t easily take no for an answer, make planning your own time a priority.
I find it easier to say no to the people who try to make me feel guilty for not saying yes. They eventually stop.
4. Digital Declutter
- Be aware that taking your time also comes in the form of email and social media.
- Turn off notifications for messages and especially social media updates.
- I find notifications disrupting and difficult to ignore. Set time aside for when you choose to read and answer emails.
- Clean out your inbox and only keep the messages you want. Unsubscribe. Unsubscribe.
Do you know you can put your devices on Do Not Disturb and your chosen favorites can still get through in case of an emergency.?
Try cutting out the news on TV for a week and see what you think. – That is freedom!
You may be interested in finding out more about How to Live a Healthy Digital Lifestyle.
5. Minimize Spending & Shopping
Still, spend, but spend wisely.
Remember minimalism doesn’t mean buying cheap things, it means you are intentionally buying what you really want.
We all spend money on things we really don’t use or need.
When you open a kitchen drawer do you see 12 spatulas and 5 sets of oven mitts?
Minimalizing to me does NOT mean I am going to stop shopping online! However, it is just so easy and I believe a bit addicting.
It means I am going to try to only buy what I really must have, need, or give as a gift.
Ask, Do I LOVE IT? Does my family member love it and need it?
Remember, it isn’t going to do any good to start donating your belongings and then turn around and buy the things you just gave away!
6. Stop Stockpiling Groceries
Yikes. Here is an interesting way to minimize.
Buying groceries could be included in the Control Spending category, but I totally think this is an important “simplifying” topic on its own.
I already shop with a list – no surprise.
We still throw away too much produce and things we let become outdated in the cupboards, but the biggest area for me to face is LEFTOVERS!
I like to cook and have lots of great recipes. Mentally, I know I am not cooking for a crowd all the time, so I should make less. I have this mindset that I can freeze the leftovers and save a night of cooking.
When we do entertain guests or a crowd, I stress about the horror of possibly running out of something! I have never run short of anything!
A minimalist move here is to make a menu list for the week, then make your grocery list. Only buy the ingredients on your list and start using re-useable bags. Then, remember to bring them into the store!
Another tip is to never throw food into your cart because it’s on sale, especially meat and produce.
Your bill will quickly double or triple and now you have food without a plan. I have experienced this so many times. Just saying.
Minimalism is about keeping & using only what you truly want & need.
In the end, what I am getting from this is that we can all live simpler lives and make a plan to minimalize- Right?
The real point is to make it YOUR journey, but it won’t happen without a plan.
P.S. Don’t forget to download your Free Checklist or Cheat Sheet on minimalist living.
Leave a comment on how you have simplified your life!