Minimalism and living with less has found it’s way into our lives and rooted itself into everything we do. From how we shop, organize, cook, and play with our son – minimalism is there. But how do you live with less? How do you get started with minimalism and succeed in creating a life that you love? These six tips on how to live with less will help you begin your minimalist journey and find what you want most out of life.
Perhaps this is the obvious minimalism tip, right? Get rid of the stuff you don’t need. It’s how you start to live with less. Decluttering your entire home is hard work. Getting started can be the hardest part.
To find motivation to declutter, ask yourself “why”. Why do you want to live with less? Why is living a clutter-free life a goal? That is to say, once you find your “why”, it’s easy to start and keep going.
If you’re unsure of where to start, I highly encourage you to read these posts on decluttering. (I love it, so there’s a lot 🙂 )
- 9 Tips to Get Started Decluttering
- 21 Things to Get Rid of with Zero Regret
- The ULTIMATE Decluttering Guide
- Why We Keep Clothes We Don’t Wear and How to Let Go
- How to Declutter Décor
- Decluttering When You’re Overwhelmed
- 5 Decluttering Roadblocks and How to Move Past Them
- Dealing with Decluttering Guilt
Decluttering isn’t just for the physical stuff.
Even though getting rid of thousands of items is really quite wonderful, we need to look beyond what’s in front of us. Check your schedule. Do you have too much to do on your plate? Sure, a fun to-do list can help. But what tasks or meetings can you simply say “no” to going forward? Saying “no” to activities that keep you from your goals and what you really want to do, will give you that time back in your daily life. Time that you can spend enjoying things you actually want to do. You’re able to live with less on your plate.
2. Change your shopping habits (bring in less clutter).
Let’s be honest with ourselves on this… how many times a week do you go shopping? I don’t know about you, but when I sat down and counted the times I walked into a store or shopped online I was shocked! Not only was I wasting time by shopping, but I was wasting money and bringing in clutter that we didn’t need.
To live with less, it goes beyond what you get rid of… it’s about what you bring into your home as well. How do you think that clutter got there in the first place?
Questions to ask yourself before buying something new.
These questions to ask yourself before you buying anything new, really other than necessities, really help to curb impulse purchases or shopping because of a certain emotion. It may seem like a lot to think through at first. But don’t give up on this! Once you form this new habit, you’ll be able to run through these questions without hesitation.
For an in-depth review of these questions, see my post HERE.
1. How am I going to pay for this?
2. Is this item on my 72 hour list?
3. Is this useful to me right now?
4. How long will I actually use this/like this item?
5. Does it have a place in my home?
6. How much is this really costing me?
7. Do I already have something that serves the same purpose or something similar?
8. What am I going to do with this item when I am done with it?
9. Am I shopping out of boredom/anxiety/sadness?
72 Hour List
Think of a 72 hour list as a delayed gratification shopping list. You write down your wants then wait three days. If you still want the item, go and buy it. But, if you’ve realized that the item isn’t what you want or need right now, cross it off the list.
This “pause” in shopping not only delays your gratification from buying something new, but it also enhances your happiness with an item long after you purchase it. This is mostly because it is now a well thought-out purchase.
When you begin to live with less, this “pause” is HUGE! I was so used to shopping and buying whatever I wanted. It hurt my wallet and my closet.
3. Find Contentment.
A big part of living with less is finding contentment with what you already have. Whenever we started our minimalist journey in 2017, I felt so dissatisfied with our stuff. Part of it was because we just had too much. The other part was that I wasn’t striving for contentment, I was always striving for more and more.
More isn’t the answer.
To find contentment with your belongings (and your life), here are some simple things to practice:
- Practice daily gratitude – write down three things that you are grateful for
- Ask your family what their favorite things about the day was while you are eating dinner (thank you Mom and Dad for always doing this!!)
- Think about and write down what your heart wants – not your brain. Often your brain is wired to want more and more until you can disconnect from our overly-consumeristic world.
Being content with what you have takes practice. While it isn’t an instant feeling, the practice of finding contentment is quiet humbling and you’ll find that you need less and less.
4. Find what you love outside of your stuff.
Being stuck inside our own homes more these days has us looking at all of our stuff a whole lot more. Instead of looking for more things that could make you happy, start looking at what you could do to be happy. Having a hobby or family activity that brings you joy is a lot more satisfying than having more stuff.
For me, I love writing. That’s why I have this blog! I love writing about our minimalist journey and how we are being frugal along the way. It brings me great joy to share my “wisdom” on the internet. Even if few people read this, I still got great satisfaction writing this.
Hobbies don’t have to be expensive. They can be completely free! Like checking a book out from the library, walking in your park, hiking a new trail, geocaching (there’s an app for that!), cooking or baking… you get the idea. Think of what you might enjoy and try it. If you need special equipment, see if you can borrow from a friend or family before you buy it.
5. Stop comparing.
Comparison is a quick way to think less of yourself. We all see these “Instagram worthy” homes and lives flick across our screens. While these “lives” seem ideal to us, they don’t show the whole picture of the people posting those photos. What we see on social media is the pretty part of people’s lives that they are happy to share.
The messy parts of life often aren’t seen on social media. Not seeing the mess in the lives of others can make us feel like we aren’t enough. Like our lives are less perfect and too messy.
Take a break from social media. All of it. Maybe for a day, maybe for a week or month. But no matter the amount of time you leave social media turned off, I promise you’ll find your mood improve.
6. Be Present.
Distractions are a huge part of our lives. What would happen if we slowed down and enjoyed the life in front of us and not in the screen or shopping without intention?
Putting a limit to how much time we spend in front of a screen helps us be present. You aren’t comparing your life to another. You can actually focus on what’s in front of you. Being present allows us to have deeper emotions and mentally process things better. We aren’t distracted! How ’bout that.
But also being present allows us to really see our stuff. We aren’t just walking past the mess or clutter on the counter. Ignoring the over-stuffed closet or drawer gets harder. Living with less is being present and evaluating our things, item by item, to see what we actually need and not purchase any more.
Less is actually more.
Living with less gives us the space, mentally and physically, to live a fuller life. A life with more joy, more family time, more time spent doing the things we love.
If there is one thing I love most about minimalism, it would be that it has given me the space to appreciate the life that I have – being a mom, being a wife, being a writing, being a crafter. I’m worried less and less about getting more things for our home and more focused on creating a life that I love.