Minimalism is a lifestyle that puts you in charge of your life and the objects within it. By focusing on what is useful to you and eliminating the clutter, minimalism strives to bring balance and harmony to the lives of its practitioners. Maybe you've heard of it, or even tried minimalism out, but either you couldn't get started or failed along the way. These five hints for practicing minimalism will put you on the path to succeeding and help keep you there.
1. Declare Your Intention
The best way to ensure your success with practicing minimalism is to declare your intention to your friends and family. If you know that you are being held accountable for your commitment, you are more likely to keep at it until completion. If you keep your minimalism goals to yourself, you are more likely to fail as the only person who is keeping you accountable is you. With many individuals there to support (and check up on you), you'll be shocked at how easily minimalism blends into your day-to-day life. Share your goals loud and proudly, and you might be surprised at how many of your friends and family are willing to help you out on your journey.
2. Get the Family Involved
The best way to ensure that you stick with minimalism is to get your family involved. Whether you live with a partner or have kids, minimalism is a lifestyle change that can benefit the whole family. If you want your family involved, start small and highlight the benefits of minimalism instead of focusing on the challenges. Is your partner a bit of a hoarder? Talk about the underlying issues that are keeping your partner from letting go of items around the house.
Often, when people grow up in poor economic conditions during childhood, they're more likely to hold onto items they've bought "just in case they need it." Deep inside is a willingness to hold on to the objects that they've worked hard for, and this isn't a bad thing. Appreciating what you have is an integral part of minimalism, but it becomes a problem when you are unable to let go.
Sit down and talk to your family about how happiness comes from being with friends and family, and shouldn't be reliant on how many objects you are able to collect. For kids, explain that in order to have space for new things or the things that are most important to them, they should be willing to let go of the old things they no longer cherish or use.
3. Follow Through
As with most lifestyle changes, minimalism can take some getting used to, but for many people, the challenge will be with following through to the end. Everyone has the best intentions when it comes to making beneficial changes in their life, but when life gets busy, it's easy to abandon a project before it becomes a habit. Give yourself measurable goals that you can recognize, so that you can see how minimalism affects your life.
Often, the best course is to minimize in an area where you will notice an immediate impact. Do you collect clothing, even though you hardly ever wear any of it? Start with your closets and drawers. Keep what you use and get rid of the rest. Why are you holding onto excess when there are many others who could benefit from your generosity if you decided to donate what you don't need? If you don't collect clothing, start with something that's taking up a lot of valuable real estate in your home, such as books, knickknacks, and things that you're holding onto just in case. When you can see an immediate improvement on your living space, you are more likely to stick with your changes.
4. Celebrate Your Successes
Taking the time to recognize and celebrate your achievements is an integral part of ensuring success. Each point along the way add up to a big lifestyle change overall. In this instance, it's helpful to write down and recognize the ways you've managed to make minimalism a part of your life. Keeping a notebook, or making notes for yourself and putting them where you can see them, will help you to remember just how much you've accomplished and how well you're doing.
When you're out with friends and family, share your successes and how they've had a positive impact on your life overall. Perhaps someone you know has been wondering about minimalism, and like you, just needed a nudge in the right direction. You can bring about a profound change in your life, and in the lives of others, so celebrate and be proud of all you've done.
5. Recognize That Change Takes Time
It's important to recognize that sometimes, despite our best interests, we all fall short of our goals. Don't let this tear you down or keep you from committing to minimalism. If you realize you've been remiss in your practices, remember that you are fully able to start again and keep at it. Change takes time, and sometimes even multiple starts, and this is fine. Keep working towards your goals, and eventually, you will be living the minimalist lifestyle you've been striving for.
Minimalism is a lifestyle that requires change, and as with any change, there will be challenges. Don't get discouraged; you have within yourself the power to succeed at minimalism. These five hints for practicing minimalism will help you to achieve your goals.