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Tips For Becoming a Minimalist

Updated on November 21, 2014
Minimalism
Minimalism | Source

Why Minimalism?

Over-consumption, materialism and greed are out and minimalism is in. Minimalism is a design and lifestyle movement towards simplicity and focusing on taking away everything that does not serve an all consuming purpose. It is function over fashion and quality over quantity.

The general benefits of adopting a minimalist lifestyle are less cluttered work and living spaces, more mental clarity, more time doing what you absolutley love, a smaller environmental footprint, and a healthy relationship with your possessions. It is a choice to not go through the endless cycle of desiring more, consuming more, and wasting more.

If you make money only to consume disposable products, if your 4000 square foot house is bursting to the brim with junk, your car no longer fits in the garage because of your trinkets, and you're constantly searching for your missing spatula, then let me offer you a few tips on becoming a minimalist.

Clutter causes stress.
Clutter causes stress.
Cut down on visual noise for a mentally peaceful space.
Cut down on visual noise for a mentally peaceful space.
Using a shoe organizer will help you find items easier as well as create a cap on the number of items possessed.
Using a shoe organizer will help you find items easier as well as create a cap on the number of items possessed.
I couldn't part with the map I used in Paris so I chopped it up into a smaller decoration, with my hostel being at the center.  A piece of junk has turned into my greatest treasure.
I couldn't part with the map I used in Paris so I chopped it up into a smaller decoration, with my hostel being at the center. A piece of junk has turned into my greatest treasure.

Tips For Starting Your Minimalist Journey

Wardrobe

  1. Go through your closet and give away everything you haven't worn in one year.
  2. Give away any clothes that don't fit.
  3. Sell designer clothes on Ebay.
  4. Give away anything you wouldn't take on vacation during each of the 4 seasons.
  5. Take all remaining clothes out of your closet, select the number of hangers you wish to remain and throw away the rest. Hang up the items you can't bare to live without until all hangers are full. Now you can't buy more clothes unless you get rid of an equal number of items.
  6. Throw out every sock that has a hole or is missing it's mate.
  7. Select no more than a week's worth of socks and undergarments and chuck the rest.
  8. Pair down your shoes until you have only one or two pairs for each category: dress shoes, boots, sandals, sports, hiking, and workout.
  9. Buy a shoe organizer and give away anything that doesn't fit.
  10. Pair down your wardrobe so that it only takes one to three loads of laundry to clean.

Bedroom

  1. Unclutter your surfaces. Clean lines are refreshing.
  2. Don't EVER throw dirty laundry on the ground. Put it in a hamper!
  3. Choose three or four most prized possessions to highlight.
  4. If you haven't participated in a hobby or sport in the last three years, sell those affiliated items.
  5. Create a filing system for important papers. I have found that a box with well labeled folders is sufficient.
  6. Choose up to four furniture pieces and sell the rest. Fewer items make the room look bigger and feel like a clean hotel room.
  7. Take pictures of sentimental items or turn them into something new.

Bathroom

  1. Throw out all cosmetics, lotions, and shampoos older than a year.
  2. Dwindle down items by category: Shampoos, shaving creams, lotions, lipsticks, polishes, ect. Try to only keep as few of each as possible.
  3. Toss anything that is no your absolute favorite item.
  4. Create a daily hygiene routine and keep all of those items together.
  5. Keep items rarely used (for special occasions) separate from daily items.

Kitchen

  1. Give away duplicates.
  2. Give away seldom used appliances that have limited uses: Waffle makers, snow cone makers, popcorn machines,ect.
  3. Most recipes can be made with one large pot and a cast iron pan. Give away unused portions of pot and pan sets.
  4. Select your ten (or fewer) favorite mugs and give away the rest.
  5. Throw out old sauces, condiments, and expired packages
  6. Organize your fridge so that all items are visible This will decrease the stress of finding items, spending money on duplicates, and will remind you to consume them before they expire.

Maintaining Minimalism

  1. Follow a one item in, one item out rule. If you purchase something, pass something along.
  2. Deal with clutter as it comes, don't let it pile up.
  3. Read minimalist blogs for constant inspiration.
  4. Focus on finding just one item you can part with. Repeat.
  5. Deal with anything that comes into the house right away.
  6. Find creative ways to display the items most used and important to you. Pinterest can be your friend.
  7. Break down large projects into small pieces. See every item out the door as an incredible accomplishment.
  8. Try living for a month without buying anything except the absolute necessities (food, medication, ect.)
  9. If you were to vacation in Europe for three months, what would you take with you? Consider the importance of every item left behind. If you can do without it for three months, can you live without it now?
  10. Don't buy anything on a whim or an emotional high or low. Plan out purchases in advance.
  11. Move towards paperless and automated bill payments and banking.
  12. Clean everyday. Don't let dishes, cat hair, or dirty towels crash your minimalist state of mind.

Minimalist Resources

Here are some of my favorite sources of minimalist inspiration. Each one of them has contributed immensely towards my adopting a simple, joyful, and minimalistic lifestyle.

The Four Hour Work Week is a must read for all aspiring minimalists. Timothy Ferris will teach you top to bottom how to automate and simplify your lifestyle so can set your goals in motion. He's an Einstein for this generation and will make you think differently about the way you live.

Tumbleweed Tiny Houses builds living spaces and offers floor plans for minimalists wanting to build their own custom tiny house. As home prices and energy cost rise, living in a 200 square foot home is becoming an increasingly better choice. If you only own 100 things, a studio apartment sized house shouldn't be an issue.

The Minimalists do an incredible job of discussing Minimalism as a philosophy as well as offering tips for becoming a minimalist.

Here is a primer I wrote on how to emotionally detach from your objects and create a healthy view of your possessions.

How Minimalist Are You?

All of my possession would fit......

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© 2013 Jennifer Arnett

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    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      A very useful hub, I'm almost there but not just yet! :). Thank you for this information congratulation on making a start. well done.

    • Born2care2001 profile image

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 3 years ago from Asheville NC

      Hey Availiasvision,

      An interesting hub about a burgeoning movement. Don't know that I'll every be a minimalist but I have friends who are and they are happy.

      I enjoy your many valuable tips for getting on the band wagon. I will say as a constructive point, I hope when you say throw out you mean environmentally friendly re-use in some way, be it giving it to someone who can use it and wants to or finding an alternative use that makes sense for you or a friend or someone else who needs it.

      I'm definitely with you on taking care of what we have, consuming less and being more aware of our living and our planet!

      Thank you so much!

      Bruce

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 3 years ago from California

      Bruce,

      Thank you so much for taking interest in this hub and thoughtfully commenting. I also thank you for pointing out that our unwanted possessions could serve better purposes. Whenever possible, it is very important to recycle or create another use for our possessions. For instance, I mentioned that you can turn a piece of garbage (a travel map) into a treasure or give away unwanted clothing.

      At it's core, minimalism is not a one time event, but a process of consuming less. My hope is that people will see the benefit of living with less and then choose to refrain from acquiring more possessions. I want to save the end product from the garbage dump, but I also am concerned about how much pollution and petroleum it takes to manufacture and transport an unnecessary item in the first place.

    • Born2care2001 profile image

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 3 years ago from Asheville NC

      Great thoughts Availiasvision!

      Then perhaps we can turn our personal energies to more constructive, necessary social issues. I'm with you on these fronts and am on my way of living consciously. After all, my generation is part of the problem, we should also be part of the solution!

      Thanks again and keep on writing!

      Bruce

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are speaking my language.

      I have written many hubs about Living Simple. You and I are on the same page my new friend.

      My wife and I have been living this lifestyle for some time now, and in two years we will get very serious and whittle things down more....then we will move to a small farm in the country and become self-sufficient....so yes, I liked this hub. :)

      bill

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      So, is this your passion? Is camping your passion? Is the environment your passion? What really lights your bulb????

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 3 years ago from California

      I'll have to poke around for all of your writings on simple living. I'm so glad that we've connected on that level. What a fantastic goal! Here's a quote I love about the simple country life.

      “A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.” Leo Tolstoy, Family Happiness

      Adventure is what really knocks my socks off. Lifestyle design/simple living would be a firm second place. I want to go on adventures and then write about them. Eventually, I'd like to get into adventure fiction. I have this driving desire to explore and inspire.

      It's like watching a Polaroid develop.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Then it seems to me that you know what your niche will be/should be. :) If a writer doesn't have passion about the subject matter it just ends up being so much regurgitated nonsense that anyone could write.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 3 years ago from California

      Thank you for your kind words, Bill. You can definitely spot the not when it comes to the passion of writers. Only the brilliant are read when they're dead, right? Let's hope we don't have to wait that long.

      I know of one writer who describes finding a passion as opening hundreds of oysters to find a peal. I'd better get busy opening! I'm going to take the advice of Hawaiian Odysseus and do some "Creative Walking." It worked for the Romantics!

      https://hubpages.com/community/Creative-Walking...

    • breathe2travel profile image

      breathe2travel 3 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      Voted useful, awesome & interesting. I just did this (well not as thoroughly as you instruct) when we moved, and again as I unpacked from the move! With six children, it's easy to accumulate "stuff". Great hub.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 3 years ago from California

      Isn't it lovely living with less? Thanks for reading, voting, and commenting.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 2 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Hello. hmmmmm I am very appreciative for this valuable information. I seem to be going through stages offering less anxiety of culture shock sort to speak. I did a keep, sell, give-away, donate, toss about 6 months ago. I have about 1/2 left. I acquired very, very few new since then. Now, I am ready for second phase as I see I still have too much to be simpler in lifestyle. It is challenging when you have 30 years of stuff to decide. The guidelines you have provided will be of great help. Thank you.

      tim

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Living with less is such a freeing feeling. It's hard to start, but as you start living with less clutter, it gets easier to not be attached to your items. The movement is getting bigger and people are starting to realize that the American Consumer Dream doesn't bring happiness, it enslaves.

      I like selling my items on Ebay, at consignment shops, and used goods stores because it's fun to get money for space in your house. Best of luck with your new lifestyle. It sounds like you have a great start!

    • kerlund74 profile image

      kerlund74 2 years ago from Sweden

      I just love this, it's what I needed to read... I have so much things that have to be cleaned away or given to sharity. But I always prioritize other activities. A groving think that gives me a bit of a stress.

      Thank you for inspiring me and for shring this useful tips!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      I hate clutter and stuff! I hold an "If in doubt, throw it out" mentality. This is a great hub for the New Year. Voted up, useful and sharing!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Vicki L Hodges 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great hub! I do like a lot of stuff, but I have been downsizing and getting rid of the junkier stuff, extras, etc . . . . My goal is not to be a minimalist, but somewhere in between that and a pack rat. I have antiques and collections that I do enjjoy, but there are other things I can part with. Your hub helps me keep moving toward that goal. :-)

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Kerlund, I'm glad this helped you out. I think the key is to start small--clean out one drawer or one shelf. Even one item to charity should be a victory.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Heidi, that's an awesome attitude. Happy de-cluttering.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Victoria, glad you found it useful.

    • profile image

      UlrichGanz 21 months ago

      I agree with these things, these are very helpful to start a minimalism life. Don't buy the unnecessary things is very good way for start a minimalism life. We save our money, time and don't need unnecessary cleaning.

      http://minimalismus.ch/

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 20 months ago from California

      UlrichGanz, Glad to see another minimalist on here.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Vicki L Hodges 19 months ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great tips! I have no desire to be a total minimalist, but I'm downsizing so I can move from my 1800 house to 800 sq ft!My perspective is changing. Great hub!

    • profile image

      Andrew Ah 18 months ago

      Thank you. I 'd like to practice and practice to be minimal.

    • livingelysian profile image

      Elysia Valdivia 17 months ago from Loveland, Colorado

      Thank you for this. I am always looking to minimize. This seems a bit painful but doable. I appreciate the challenge. Namaste.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 17 months ago from California

      Victoria, that's fantastic! I'm not 100% on board for monk-like minimalism, but rejoice that it can help anyone feel more free and less clutter-stressed. If a reader felt the compulsion to clean out their sock drawer, I'd call it a good start.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 17 months ago from California

      Right on Andrew!

    • profile image

      Sonya 15 months ago

      Etc. Not ect.

    • livingelysian profile image

      Elysia Valdivia 14 months ago from Loveland, Colorado

      I love these tips! I have been trying to whittle things down in my home and life. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Krista 14 months ago

      My husband and I just started doing a minimalist life. Thanks!

    • Sam Shepards profile image

      Sam Shepards 5 months ago from Europe

      I don't think minimalism is really about in what kind of space all your stuff fits. It can be a good indicator though. :)

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