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What is a minimalist lifestyle really?

During the peak months of lockdown, people started to see how much they actually have in their homes. With that revelation came a few changes. Some people began a decluttering journey that may or may not have led them to minimalism. But minimalism is more than just living with less. It’s about intentionally. It’s about focusing more on relationships and experiences than things. Minimalism has received more coverage lately thanks to Netflix documentaries and books. If you're interested in trying, I'm sharing some minimalist lifestyle tips today.

Minimalism is based on three simple principles:

- Owning less

   - Removing distractions

   - Embracing intentionally

But don’t think you need to throw all your stuff out the window. Minimalism is about finding how much stuff you're comfortable with. In fact, there are several different types of minimalists, and they all practice it in their own way. A practical minimalist might have a large collection of books. An extreme minimalist keeps everything digitized. Green minimalists focus on the impact they're leaving on the planet. Frugal minimalists focus on spending less and being intentional with their finances. Minimalism is not a “one size fits all." It’s important to know that if you want to start a minimalist lifestyle, you can make it your own. 6 minimalist lifestyle tips to get you started

So what are the best minimalist lifestyle tips? Beginning with these six will definitely prepare you for the journey ahead.

1. Shift your mindset

The first thing any successful minimalist does is shift their mindset. You do this by focusing on what you have rather than what you don’t. Every day we’re told by ads and social media that we’re nothing if we don’t have the latest gadget or fashion trend.This is when we start spending money on things we don’t need and oftentimes can’t afford. I’m not going to lie, this is one of the hardest parts of minimalism. But once you shift your mindset and learn to spend intentionally, you’re going to feel the benefits immediately. For one, you’ll save more money. And two, you’ll only bring stuff into your home that you’ll use and love.

2. Start decluttering

One way you can help shift your mindset is to start decluttering. No, I don’t mean organizing. Organizing means putting things in order. Decluttering is the act of physically removing items from your life. While decluttering sounds easy enough, it can become overwhelming super fast. Especially if you rush through it.

If you've never decluttered before, you should do the 30 Day Minimalism Game. This method was created by The Minimalists and they have a downloadable calendar to help you out. It's a great way to get you comfortable with the act of decluttering.

It works like this: on Day 1, you declutter 1 item. On Day 2, you declutter 2 items. On Day 3, 3 items. By Day 30 you’ll have decluttered almost 500 items! Find the calendar and more resources from The Minimalists here.

3. Try a shopping ban

Another tip to help shift your mindset is to give yourself a shopping ban. Also known as a No Spend Challenge. Create a list of 10 things you won’t buy for the next 30+ days. Obviously, you have to buy essentials. Groceries, gas, utilities; don’t stop spending money on those. But challenge yourself. Say you won’t buy any new clothes. If you’re a reader, don’t buy any new books. Sign out of Amazon. Delete shopping apps from your phone. Do whatever you can to remove temptation. Unsubscribe from emails.

A shopping ban is one of the minimalist lifestyle tips that’ll take some time to adjust to. So many of us are used to impulse buying. Online shopping has made spending money more convenient. If you fall off the wagon and buy a new shirt, it’s ok. No one is expecting you to be perfect.

What you could do next time you want to make a purchase — whether it's a shirt or a bar of chocolate — is to ask yourself:

   - Do I need this?

   - Do I love it?

   - Will I use it?

Taking an extra 10 seconds to ask yourself these questions will impact the way you buy. More often than not, you're going to put the item in question back on the shelf.

4. Keep a donation box

While you’re decluttering, set up a box or two for future donations. You want to refrain from throwing as much away as possible. If you’re decluttering items in good condition, consider selling them first. Poshmark is a great place for clothes. Facebook Marketplace or Let It Go is great for furniture and other knick-knacks. Before you donate, call up local thrift shops and see what they need. Don’t just dump your unwanted stuff on them.

Contact local women’s shelters or pounds. Gift what you can as well or repurpose. Trash should be your last option. Once you’ve decluttered your entire home, keep a donation box handy. This way if you stumble upon anything you no longer want, you can drop it in the donation box for next time.

5. Always be evaluating

One big decluttering won’t be enough to maintain a minimalist lifestyle. If you want to continue, you’ll need to always be evaluating your stuff. Just because you kept something this time doesn’t mean you’ll want to keep it six months from now. Every time you wear something or use something, take a few seconds to ask yourself: Do I still love this? If yes, then hang on to it. If not, add it to your donation box. After you declutter things once you’ll be faster at making that decision. In fact, minimalism and decluttering have been known to sharpen decision-making skills. Another added bonus.

6. Follow the one-in, one-out rule

Of all the minimalist lifestyle tips on this list, this one will be your go-to. It’s also a popular tip many organizers use. Decluttering doesn’t mean you’re making room for new stuff. You should only replace things that are broken or where there are gaps.

If you purchased a shirt you couldn’t resist, the rule of thumb is this: one thing in, one thing out. If you bought a new shirt, you have to remove another one.

This practice works because when you declutter one thing for another, you're keeping the same amount of stuff. You’re not adding more. And you just went through this major decluttering journey. Do you really want to start all over again?

So whenever you bring something new into your home, make sure you declutter something in its place. Remember, your decision-making skills are heightened at this point so what you choose to declutter won’t take you long. These minimalist lifestyle tips are the perfect place to start your minimalism journey. Like all new things, there will be some challenges but if you focus on shifting your mindset you’ll be fine. If you have a bad spending month, don’t beat yourself up. Just tell yourself you’ll do better next month. Increase your shopping ban if you have to.

It's not hard to see the benefits minimalism and intentional living offer. That's why it's growing in popularity. The best part? You don’t have to become an extreme minimalist to enjoy a minimalist lifestyle.

Through my variety of Services, I can teach you more about minimalism. See what I can offer you here and then schedule your free complimentary consultation call. Are you a minimalist? Have you wanted to try living more intentionally? Do you have any minimalist lifestyle tips you want to share? Comment below.

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