Adopting a minimalist lifestyle has become increasingly trendy, and it’s clear to see why. Being a minimalist is now associated with a nicer home, a clearer schedule, and a more efficient routine. But it is quite challenging to suddenly go from owning everything in excess to getting rid of everything except for the very bare essentials. But there are some ways to make the transition easier. The biggest piece of advice that can be given is to not try to do everything at once, without which you will likely abandon the whole thing. Instead, try doing one thing at a time and letting yourself adapt completely before moving on to the next step.
The first thing you can do as a new-found minimalist is to get rid of old boxes. If, for instance, a box of clothing has been sitting at the top of your closet for more than six months, it’s time to get rid of it. “But,” you think, “those are my skiing clothes.” Sure, but how often do you go skiing? It is more than feasible to rent the clothes you need for winter sports when you onsite rather than storing them in your closet where they take up the space that could be used for meaningful items. Similarly, storing clothes you no longer fit in is not the solution. Maybe keep one pair of “skinny jeans” as a reminder, but you don’t need an entire wardrobe of clothes that you simply no longer fit in. This is especially valid for maternity clothes, which you should donate to the next expecting mother. Even if you’re planning for more children, clothes will come around to you too.
Now that you’ve gotten rid of the obvious excesses, it’s time to get rid of surface clutter. This is a little more complex because it entails tossing things that you’ve given meaning to over the years. This goes as far as nice rocks you picked up on the beach with your partner to a birthday card from your now deceased grandmother. Sure, keep the birthday card because it cannot be replaced, but you’ll have many other beach days in the future, so toss the rocks or give them to your child to paint on as a sustainable art project. Use this mentality when you’re getting rid of things.
A huge and often underestimated part of minimalism has to do with managing your time. Instead of spending time with that friend who drains your energy but that you feel guilty ignoring, or attending your reading club that selects the fluffiest novels, manage your time by filling it with activities and people that are fulfilling on every level. Find a new hobby that you can really get behind and prioritize your relationships that bring you more than just toxic companionship.
Similarly, true minimalism also means managing your time effectively. For example, if you have a huge family who loves to spend time in the kitchen, invest in a large dishwasher so you aren’t wasting time washing dishes when you could be spending quality time playing games with the kids. You should also be investing some time in creating systems that work to simplify your life. For example, choosing your clothes in the morning can be a huge hassle, until you come up with a rotation that works for you. Selecting said clothes will also be easier because you have already gone through your closet and gotten rid of fifty percent of your clothes at least. Also, being a minimalist means maximizing the efficiency of your commute. Choose a bike when you can, and if you must take the train, take a book with you.