So you’re thinking of going minimalist. Great! Or maybe you’re already minimalist and are wondering what the new year will bring. That’s great too. We came up with this post to give a kickstart to those wanting to make this new years a minimalist year and included some tips for those who’ve already embarked on a minimalist lifestyle.
Let’s start with the newcomers. So you think you want to be a minimalist…
Starting Your Minimalist Lifestyle In The New Year
The coming year seems like a good time to make a fresh start, a clean break with having and buying too much stuff. January 1st has a nice ring to it. It’ll be the perfect day to break your attachment to things and start living a fuller, more intentional life. Make this year a new start, the time to turn the focus away from your possessions and refocus on being happier with less.
The Only Problem?
The New Year, unfortunately, is the wrong time to make a resolution to become a minimalist. Why?
Because You Won’t Do It
If you make becoming a minimalist your New Year’s Resolution — even if you do everything life coaches tell you: write down your resolutions, tape them to your wall, write out a story about how your resolutions are going to make you feel — that resolution will fail.
Fact is, 50% of people make resolutions. About 9% report success. There are a number of theories as to why. But the real reason is: the time to start your minimalist lifestyle is now. Today. About 5 minutes after you finish reading this post.
We’re not saying tear around your house like a tornado and make 50 runs to the Salvation Army tonight. We’re saying: just go ahead and start.
Well, you’ve come to a good place. Take a look through our posts on minimalist closets, minimalist living rooms, minimalist bedrooms. Check out how to grocery shop like a minimalist, how to use meditation to hone your minimalist lifestyle.
How About Right Now?
But what can you do right now? Maybe you’re at work, in front of the computer, and already have a list of things to get done when you get home tonight. Maybe today just doesn’t have room in it for a purge of your excess kitchen appliances.
That’s fine. Let’s try something small.
Goodbye Receipt From October
Why not start with your wallet? Do you really need to carry that discount card for the sub sandwich shop you visit twice a year? Probably not.
Minimalism is about letting go of what weighs you down. Many people keep things for “what if” and “maybe someday”. More than likely, if you haven’t used something in half a year, it’s not adding anything to your life by keeping it.
So toss, purge, consolidate that wallet (or purse, or desk drawer) until all that’s left are the things that you need and use regularly.
Yes. It may seem like a silly exercise. Sure. It’s trivial. But action leads to action. One step naturally begets another step. Next time you open that wallet, you’ll probably like the ease and simplicity in there. And you’ll want to apply it other places in your life. Today the wallet, tomorrow, the world! (Or, maybe the fridge.)
After you’ve taken that first step, you’ll have done something pretty great. You’ll be a minimalist.
There is no endgame for minimalism. There isn’t a point at which you stop, look around and say, “This is it! I have arrived at true minimalism!”
Minimalism is a path, a way of looking at the world. It’s about living with intention. Thinking about your furniture, your clothes, your routines. Assessing what you bring into your life. Noticing the objects and possessions around you. Being mindful of the value they add to — or subtract from — your happiness.
If you’ve gone through that wallet with awareness, thoughtfulness, intention, you just adopted the minimalist mindset.
And you didn’t have to wait until the new year to do it.
Maintaining Your Minimalist Lifestyle All Year
This part is for the people who are already there. You’ve done the work, cleared out physical clutter from your house. You’ve pared down the clothes you own, the stuff in your bathroom. You just own one tea kettle instead of three.
All that’s left is to keep going.
To be honest, maintaining minimalism usually isn’t that hard. It tends to gain its own momentum. The more you do, the further you want to go. Cleaning out a closet tends to lead to cleaning out a garage. Getting rid of clutter becomes a habit. And acquiring new stuff doesn’t have the same appeal that it once did.
One of the best ways to stay the minimalist course is taking time (each day, each week, whenever you can) to notice and appreciate the ways minimalism affects your life. Notice how cleared off surfaces puts your eyes at ease. Enjoy how a pared down closet makes you feel good about your clothes. Appreciate the way you no longer have to push aside pots and pans you don’t need to get to the pan you do need.
Noticing and being mindful of your minimalist surroundings will build a positive association. It will make minimalism more of a fact than a goal with each passing day.
That said, If you ever feel yourself moving away from minimalism, if you start to find the old ways slipping in, all you need is a little reset.
How to Reset
The first step is to stop. Breathe. Take 5 minutes to reevaluate. Take a step back and notice what’s going on. Ask yourself why clutter, acquisition, accumulation, or whatever is creeping in. Is it a new job? A bit more stress? A change in a relationship? It’s totally normal to turn to products and overconsumption in times of stress. That’s what we’ve been taught our whole lives: “Have a problem? Buy this and fix it!”
Once you realize it’s happening and look at why, you’ll be able to either address the issue and get back on track, or at least separate the issue from your minimalist journey. Always keep in mind what you knew before you became minimalist: spending more money or buying new things generally won’t fix anything.
Once you’ve taken a moment to stop and reflect, you’ll probably start feel that old familiar appeal of living a life of intention. Soon you’ll feel ready to get back to your minimalist lifestyle.
Slip Ups Don’t Mean a Thing
Remember there’s no “all or nothing” when it comes to minimalism. There is no endgame, there is no “goal.” If you slip up and go on a spree, if you step away from minimalism for a while, there’s no need to abandon it.
Some people think, if they’ve made one step in the wrong direction, they may as well walk the whole road. If they cheat on the diet one day, they may as well abandon it all together. Minimalism is always available, no matter where you are. Slip up, turn around, come back, it’s all part of the process.
Remember minimalism isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. A way of looking at the world, evaluating, considering, being mindful of the choices you make. Living with intention to focus on what matters. No slip up can change that.
Happy New Year
Whether you’ve been minimalist for a while or you’re just starting out (or even just reading this out of curiosity), we want to wish you a happy New Year. Here’s to a year with less clutter and more awareness. A year filled with less mindless acquisition and more mindful appreciation. Whatever brought you to this post today, we’re glad you’re here and we look forward to seeing you more next year.