The 6-Day Plan to Minimalism
You made it this far. That’s good. Just opening and reading this guide means you’ve taken a step towards making minimalism a part of your life. You probably already know the basics of what minimalism is: living with less stuff. Accumulating fewer possessions. Only owning what you need, use and love. Throughout this guide, we’ll definitely talk about minimalism as it relates to stuff.
We’ll talk about how it relates to your time, money and health. Minimalism is an approach to all the parts of your life, all moving towards a goal. And what is that goal? Honestly, it looks a little different for everyone. But here’s one thing that many people find they get from going minimalist: More. You might be saying to yourself:
“Wait… More? I thought minimalism was all about less.”
It is. Buying and accumulating and paying for and cleaning and organizing less stuff means you get more. More time to do the things you love. More money to spend on experiencing the things you love. More focus for paying attention to the people you love. More awareness to spend on enjoying the places you love.
It all starts with figuring out what you want your goal to be, then making all the parts of your life line up with that. Sounds a little hard? A little vague? A little crazy?
That’s ok. We’ll go into exactly how you find your goal on Day 1. But first, let’s answer another question you may have knocking around in your head:
“I’m supposed to totally change my life in just 6 days?!?”
Well. Not exactly. While you can… You could follow this guide and all the steps and on day 7 be very far along the minimalist path. To do that, you’d probably need to take 6 days off of from work — and from everything else — to follow the steps. But that’s not how you have to use this guide.
This guide is designed to be used as it suits you. Maybe you do Day 1 this Saturday, then Day 2 next Saturday. That’s fine. Maybe day 4 sounds a little daunting, so you’d like to get Day 6 under your belt before you tackle it. That works too. You don’t have to do it all at once, you just have to do something. Read the guide and start with what sounds fun. (Though doing Day 1 first is really going to help you out with the other days.)
The most important thing is to start. Every step towards living a more intentional, less encumbered life, is a good step. Like we said, you’ve already made the first move: you’re reading this guide. So keep going. A wiser person than us once said, “The only way to do it, is to do it.”
So now we invite you to start living a calmer, happier, easier life, one day after another. Welcome to minimalism. We’re glad you’re here.
All about you
You could call this the easiest day. You’re honestly not doing much of anything. Today is about what you want out of minimalism. About getting out your magic wand and imagining what you want your house (and life) to look like.
- Get out a clean sheet of paper and a pen.
- Start in a room. Any room. How about the room you’re in? (Assuming you’re at home.)
- Stand in the middle of the room.
- Take out your magic wand. (Ok, fine. Nobody has a magic wand. But pretend you do.)
- Look around the room and point your wand at things you’d like gone. Point it at things you could probably get rid of. Point it at things that are just taking up space. Point it at anything you don’t use often. Or anything you don’t absolutely love.
- Now imagine the wand has zapped away every one of those unnecessary, unloved, unused things. The extra chair in the corner? Gone. The fan over there that barely works. Out of here. The painting that you once thought was cool but don’t really care about any more. Zapped away.
- Now write a few notes on your sheet of paper. How does your ideal room look? How does it make you feel?
- Grab that wand and paper and head to the next room.
We’ll call that sheet of paper with your notes your home plan. It’ll be your inspiration when tomorrow comes and we actually start getting stuff out of here.
There’s one more mental exercise to undertake today. One more plan to make.
Minimalism is, yes, about having less stuff and buying less stuff and repairing our relationship to stuff. But it’s also about the way in which we live our lives.
When your pare down a room to its essentials, it means everything that remains in the room is there because it serves a purpose. It is there because your intend it to be there. It is there intentionally.
Just as minimalism is a way of making what you own intentional, minimalism is also about making what you do intentional. Minimalism means the way you spend your time is in service of a certain goal or aim.
So here’s what you do:
- Get out a clean sheet of paper and a pen.
- Close your eyes (you can finish reading this first)
- Clear your head with a few deep breaths. Then…
- Think about what you want out of your life.
- Write it down.
We don’t always think about this part. We just sort of go, move, do, work and otherwise stay busy but don’t often stop and look at why.
Obviously the answer isn’t going to be “a new car and a new pair of boots.” That may be the answer for some people, but not likely you, since, well, you’re reading this guide. Most people want to better relationships with people. They want to do things. They want to go new places.
Imagine what your life would look like if it could look like anything. Your goal doesn’t have to be the absolute, ultimate goal for your life. It could change tomorrow. But think of something that sounds right to you today. A goal to work towards.
The answer for you may be:
- I want to spend more time with my family.
- I want to hike more. Or just get outside more.
- I want to make art.
- I want to have people over to my house more often.
- I want to learn to play the piano.
- I want to cook for myself instead of eating out.
What you write down is your goal plan. Take your home plan and your goal plan and tack them up somewhere. Or fold them and put them in your wallet. In your bedside table. Somewhere that you can access them easily.
Your goal plan and your home plan are going to inform all the other days in this guide.
Here on out
When you move forward with this guide, you’ll use plans as the test. When you’re considering getting rid of something, but aren’t quite sure, you’ll check in with your plans.
When you’re considering purging something from your life, be it a piece of furniture or a service or an activity you’ll take these 3 steps.
- Assess. Do I use this? Do I need it? Get out your plans. Does it fit with your ideal home plan? Does it help you get closer to your goal plan?
- Sort. Did you answer yes? Keep it. No? Let it go.
- Purge/Place. Everything you don’t need gets purged. Everything you keep gets put in its own specific place.
We’ll come back to these 3 steps and your plans a lot in the next 5 days.
Excellent work today… now for tomorrow
Now that you’ve done the mental work, it’s time to prepare for the physical work you’re going to do tomorrow.
You’ll want to gather boxes for things that are going to be donated and/or sold. You’ll also want to arrange transportation for the larger items that you’ll be paring.