Becoming Minimalist: 3 Steps to Starting
To become a minimalist you need to start somewhere, and sometimes starting is the toughest part! For me it was important to define what minimalism meant, and then to further define what it meant for me. Looking up the official dictionary definition won't be of any help. Don't believe me? See for yourself. The best definition I found was on The Minimalists blog where they share their elevator pitch on minimalism. Something that stood out to me was:
"a 20-year-old single guy’s minimalist lifestyle looks different from a 45-year-old mother’s minimalist lifestyle" - The Minimalists.
...meaning minimalism is different for everyone, and there is no wrong way to do it. For me it means living with enough - not too much, not too little - and consciously considering the way I consume; Do I need this? Will I use it? What value will it bring to me or my life? What am I willing to give up in order to have this? It is important to define your minimalism.
Step 1: Define your Minimalism
Next I asked myself why. Why am I doing this?
I am doing this because I want to have a happier, lighter, freer life that allows me to focus on the things that matter the most, and be more conscious of what and how I consume. Understanding why I was wanting to embark on this journey has continued to serve as a good motivator when I've reached the inevitable difficult moments along the way. Knowing the purpose of this journey reminds me that the rewards far outweigh any negatives I may briefly experience.
Step 2: Why am I doing this?
Now that I was clear on what and why it was time to take action. Whether you take small baby steps, do a 30 day minimalism challenge, or decide to get rid of 90% of your belongings in a single evening what is important is that you do what feels right in your gut. My initial actions were slow and precise - I didn't want to accidentally discard anything that I would later regret letting go of, so I took my time. I purposefully considered items in my space, and decided for each individual item if it was worth keeping or donating. Next to nothing went in the trash. Actions speak louder than words, and if all you're doing is talking about it instead of doing it then it remains a dream instead of a tangible goal.
Step 3: Actions speak louder than words
I am little more than 8 months into this journey, and I am surprised by where it has led me. The number one difference I have noticed is how much less I consume because I have created a habit of questioning whether it is necessary, and what value will it bring to me. My house is less cluttered and when I walk into a room I am surrounded by things I use and/or love, instead of just stuff. Minimalism may not be for everyone, but it certainly is for me.