Downsizing. Minimalist living. Simplifying your life.
Whatever you call it, taking steps to live a minimalist life can help you to streamline not only the stuff you own, but your finances, your diet, and your daily routine. You can learn how to simplify your life, and experience the rewards that come with it.
Simplifying your home and life can help you live much happier and with less stress, all thanks to the easy principles of a simple, minimalist lifestyle.
When we arrive in this world, it is via one of the most simple and beautiful processes that exists. At the moment of birth, we are completely free of stress and responsibility.
As we grow as children, we live in the moment, and we know how to be carefree and content. We run, we jump, we play, we make believe. We don't need stuff to have a good time.
Something happens as we get older, however. Our lives get more complicated. Some of these complications are just due to the realities of living in modern society. But, most of it is our own doing.
You have the power to downsize and simplify your life to get back to basics. Today we're going to give you minimalist living tips on how to simplify your home, streamline your finances, and get down to a simple lifestyle resulting in less stress, less clutter, and more enjoyment of life every day.
But why bother? Are there reasons to drop everything and learn how to live a minimalist life? It seems like a sacrifice. Is it worth it?
We say yes! Here are some of the top reasons for learning how to live minimally, starting with how to downsize your life. Many of these concepts are basic, but the real magic comes when you sit down and apply them to your specific situation. Lets look at the basic benefits of downsizing:
These are pretty strong reasons. In addition, living a simple, minimalist life is not too difficult. There are some things you can do right now to begin the process of downsizing your life.
As a first step in learning how to downsize your life, remember these four questions and make them your strategy for everything. This will help you to simplify any area of your life and reduce the tasks that eat up your time and induce stress.
When you find yourself taking extra steps that frustrate you and take up time, design a new system of doing that task which will make it easier. The goal should be a streamlined, optimized system for anything currently taking up your time and causing you stress or frustration.
For example, you could build a system for managing all the paperwork in your life. This includes managing mail, important documents, and so on. Create a paperwork center in your home.
This could be as simple as a couple of paper trays on a table. Use one for incoming paperwork, and one for outgoing. A hanging file folder with labeled tabs can help you to organize the completed outgoing tasks and ensure paperwork that needs to be organized stays safe, and easy to find. No more missed bills, no more lost documents, and no more days buried in chaos of paperwork.
Can you think of other areas of your life that could benefit from a system? We're guessing the answer is "yes."
There is an old, Latin, medieval saying that goes, "Memento Mori." It means "remember your death." Not to be a downer, but remembering our time here on earth is temporary can help you place a higher priority on the things which are really important to you.
By constantly reminding yourself how short and precious your life truly is, you may begin to automatically get rid of distractions which complicate your daily life and eat up your time.
In order to really enjoy everything the world offers you in an assured and confident way, it is important for you to have a physical sanctum. This is a safe space for you, your home base, your retreat. It should be a physical space you've carved out of the world that belongs to just you.
It could be a specific room of your home, an area on your property, or even a small space in a room if your home is too small to dedicate a whole room to your sanctuary. This should be a space where you can feel tranquil and relaxed.
Whatever happens outside your sanctum, when you're back inside, focus only on recharging your batteries and relaxing. Maybe you have one already.
A physical space you can go to relax is all well and good, but it won't do much to help you if your mind is constantly reeling. Find a hidden place in your mind where you can retreat, to re-center yourself. You may call this your "happy place."
It may be an imagined location, or just a tranquil, peaceful state of mind you can slip into where nothing from the outside world can get in. Your emotional sanctuary will help you to keep your thoughts on what is truly important, a vital part of simplifying your life.
When you are looking at how to simplify your life, focusing on you and your emotions isn't always the most natural place to start, but it is essential to simplification.
For most of us, this is where the process of living minimally begins to get difficult. Train yourself to purchase only things you need, not things you want. Obviously, this will help you save money. It will also help you simplify your life by reducing the "stuff" you have.
Owning stuff may be fun. But, that stuff always comes at a cost beyond its own price tag. The more you own, the more stress you will have due to management, maintenance, and so on. Most things lose their value the moment they are purchased, both financially and emotionally.
In the choice of materialism vs. minimalism, choose minimalism. We live in a consumer-driven society. Breaking free from the slavery of consumer culture to invest in life experiences is a challenging. But, this is a vital part of downsizing and simplifying your life.
If you want to live minimally, it's time to tell "stuff" to stuff it. How to simplify your life starts with not adding any more to it.
How often do you have a conversation while browsing the internet, peeling an orange, writing an email, and making a grocery list? Doing so many things at once means you're not paying close enough attention to the important tasks. Instead of multitasking, prioritize.
Every day, choose the two most vital tasks you can take on to deliver maximum value to your life. Then, give them your focus. Work at them until they're done.
Simplify your to-do list by doing one thing at a time. The added focus will produce better results on every task.
One of the biggest long-term goals for living minimally is eating clean. By doing this now, you will avoid health troubles down the line. Nothing makes life harder than health problems.
Eliminate processed foods and dedicate yourself to eating simple, clean, natural foods. If you have space to grow some of your own food, do it! By eating clean, you can save yourself a great deal of trouble down the line.
The root of all evil is a primary source of complications in life. Review your regular monthly payments and get rid of as many of them as you can. Once these stop eating up your check every month, you will be able to save more cash easily and work less.
Once you've identified and removed the unnecessary ongoing monthly bills, automate the rest. Set up automatic payments so you'll never need to manually pay a bill again.
Eliminate visits to the bank by using online banking. Switching to paperless billing can help you simplify that pile of paperwork, too. You’ll have the added bonus of benefiting the environment. What's not to love?
Think about the tasks you do at home and find ways to batch them together. Make a list and try to get chores done in a single session rather than completing them piecemeal over several days. Give yourself a morning for chores and an afternoon for errands.
Related: The Ultimate Spring Cleaning List
Tick off all those boxes in one fell swoop. After that, you'll have the other days of the week chore-free to dedicate to other, more enjoyable tasks.
What is your morning routine like? Do you have one? What's your bedtime? Often, we can find ourselves living complicated, or even random, systems just because we haven't put much thought into them.
Identify areas of your life where you can simplify and make it as minimalist as it can be. This includes your paperwork system, your meal prep and eating, your chores and errands, and even your email system.
Related: 11 Tips for Tidy Homes
Pick one, design a simple system, and stick to it. Once you have a new system in place for one area of your life, move on and tackle the next.
How much easier would your life be if you had an assistant handling daily tasks for you? Websites like Upwork, Odesk, and similar sites allow you to hire a virtual assistant very reasonably.
This is a freelance worker who can help you take on plenty of tasks which would otherwise drain your energy and time. Your virtual assistant can handle typing, researching, filing, responding to emails, managing your calendar, or any number of other items of "busy work" that eat up your time.
The downside, of course, is the cost of hiring a virtual assistant, and the time you'll need to put in training your assistant in what you need help with. The upside, however, is that the experience you gain in delegating tasks and the time you recover by outsourcing some of those time-sinks. This makes it all worth it.
We all knew this was coming. Go through your home, your closets, your storage spaces, and clear out the clutter you don't need or want. When you go through your closet, anything that hasn't been worn in a year should go.
Donate your clothes to a local thrift store or shelter, so you can help others as well as yourself. The same goes for gadgets, items, and trinkets you haven't used in over a year. Sell them on Ebay, list them on Craigslist, recycle, donate, or trash them. Part of learning how to downsize and simplify your life is learning how to live without "stuff."
Whoa. Did we just say that? Yeah, we did.
This one is a biggie, for sure. But, think about how expensive it is to own a car. Beyond insurance, financing payments, you have ongoing maintenance and unexpected repairs to worry about.
Plus, how much time do you spend sitting in traffic. How much does your car add to your carbon footprint?
This is a biggie, and it's definitely a stretch goal for minimizing your life. Think of other ways you can get around. Bicycle, walking, and public transportation may be able to take the place of your vehicle for you.
Don't sell your car tomorrow. First, make it a goal to drive less and less. If you can eliminate your need to drive, you can eliminate your need for a car.
Many of us have at least one favorite family activity. A pastime that helps us get lost in the moment, forgetting everything else around us. Psychologists refer to this as "flow" and it is very good for you.
Maybe it's fishing, or doing crossword puzzles. Maybe it's building model ships, painting, crafting, or even writing. Whatever helps you to "flow," do more of it. If you don't know what it is, make it a goal to find out.
What can you do today to simplify your life? Get to it and get to minimalist living.
Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.