You’ve probably heard of minimalism, but maybe you’re convinced it’s not for you. Today, I’m going to show you how you can make minimalism work for you, no matter who you are or what your life looks like.
If you’ve followed my summer series on how minimalism has changed people’s lives, you already know many of the ways that minimalism can help you. But, did you know that you can apply minimalism to only the areas of your life that need it?
I firmly believe that minimalism is for everyone, despite that not being a very popular view. That’s because I don’t think you have to follow any “minimalist rules” to call yourself a minimalist.
Minimalism is a mindset, and it is a tool. It’s a mindset in which you decide how much is enough and learn to be content with that. And, it’s a tool in that you use it to simplify your life so that you can live a life that is meaningful for you.
Not only that, all of us “minimalists” out there are on unique journeys. Our lives look different, our personalities are different, and our level of “enough” is different. I think that’s okay…and beautiful.
Minimalism Is For You
There’s a good chance that you still think minimalism is definitely not for you. You might say this because:
- you don’t want to get rid of all your things
- minimalist design bores you
- you feel more accomplished when you’re busy, OR
- you have no desire to quit your job and live more simply
Don’t put minimalism in a box! This may be what minimalism ends up looking like for a select few, but it doesn’t have to look that way in your life. It ends up looking this way for some because that fits their personality and goals in life. It’s okay if that doesn’t fit yours.
Here’s what you need to do: take the principles of minimalism that you need, and leave the rules at the door.
What Are The Principles Of Minimalism?
In order to determine which principles of minimalism you need in your life, you need to know what they are and what they can do for you. There are two main principles of minimalism.
Remove Anything From Your Life That’s Holding You Back Or Stealing Your Joy.
You will want to apply this principle to your life if you spend more time than you would like picking up after your life, cleaning, and maintaining your possessions. If you have too much in your home, it causes you to be overwhelmed by all that needs to be done.
Also, if you have people in your life or things on your schedule that are stealing your joy, it’s time to minimize them or eliminate them all together. Putting others first is all fine and dandy, but if you’re harming yourself in the process, it’s time for a change.
Here’s what applying this principle of minimalism can do for you:
- less time and energy wasted on unimportant things
- more time and energy for what matters to you
- less frequent feelings of stress and overwhelm
- more peace and calm in your everyday life
- freedom from whatever is holding you back in life
Prioritize What Matters To You.
If you feel like you never have enough time in your day, this principle is for you. Maybe you never have enough time to take care of yourself, or maybe you keep putting quality time with your family off until tomorrow. But tomorrow has its own responsibilities and long to-do list so you keep pushing it off.
You’ve possibly had a hobby you’ve wanted to try or something you’ve always wanted to learn, but the time is never right. If you’re starting to wonder if it will ever be the right time to enjoy your life, the answer is yes. And the time is now.
Here’s what applying this principle of minimalism can do for you:
- less money wasted on unimportant things
- more meaningful days, weeks, months, and years
- a sense of purpose and fulfillment
- more control over your time, space, and energy
- better overall health
- more meaningful relationships
- more excitement and joy from trying new things
How Can I Make Minimalism Work For Me?
If you are starting to see the value in these minimalist principles, let’s figure out how to make them work for you. Follow these steps in order to make minimalism work for you and start reaping the benefits.
1. Find Your Vision
You have to begin by finding your vision if you want to make minimalism work for you. If you don’t know what you want out of life, it’s hard to know which way to go. Without a sense of direction, your days will start to feel meaningless.
Get clear on your vision for your life. What do you want most out of life? What will you regret not doing when you look back on your life? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, or 20 years? Asking yourself these types of questions is healthy and super important in order to find a unique purpose for your life.
Your vision may change over time as you get to know yourself better and experience more. That’s okay. If your vision changes, just make sure that you make the necessary changes to the way you live to get you to your new vision.
2. Establish Your Priorities
Now that you know your vision, you need to establish your priorities in order to make minimalism work for you. Think about your vision for each area of your life, and write down your priorities based on those.
For instance, if it’s important that someday you are surrounded by kids and grandkids and great-grandkids who you adore, you need to prioritize family starting today. If someday you want to be a professional singer, you need to prioritize singing today.
3. Discover The Excess
Now, if you really want to make minimalism work for you, it’s time to discover the excess in your life.
What is holding you back from your vision and your priorities? Who or what is causing you unnecessary stress? What is harming your health? What is wasting your time and energy?
These are the things that you need to plan to eliminate, or at the very least, minimize.
4. Minimize The Clutter
Once you know what is holding you back, you need to start to minimize those things. This is where you can really make minimalism work for you because you have identified what is uniquely clutter to you.
So often we copy what others are doing when it comes to minimalism. We get rid of most of our dishes because someone told us to. We throw out our favorite clothes because they didn’t fit the rules of a capsule wardrobe.
If you want to make minimalism work for you, you have to look at your own life, not someone else’s. Only you can know what brings you joy and what doesn’t. And only you can know what is holding you back in life.
5. Continually Edit Your Life
Finally, to make minimalism work for you, you have to continually edit your life. That’s because circumstances change, your mindset changes, heck, YOU change.
It’s ridiculous to think that you can apply minimalist principles to your life once and be done. It takes continuous intentionality. It takes constant editing. And, it takes frequent evaluation.
By continually editing your life, you will ensure that the life you are living today lines up with the vision you have for tomorrow!
You can make minimalism work for you by applying the two basic minimalist principles that you need and leaving the rules at the door. Minimalism is an amazing tool and a mindset shift that will uniquely manifest itself in your life.
Theresa Bedford is a syndicated freelance home and travel writer with regular contributions to the Associated Press wire and MSN. She helps everyday people love the life they have through simplicity, organization, and prioritization.