10 Tips For Living A Minimalist Lifestyle and Enjoying Life More
I believe that there are hidden costs in not Living The Minimalist Lifestyle, to owning more stuff and doing more things. In controlling what you are forced to manage coming in and out of your life will lead to a more purposeful, less stressful, happier existence. If you are looking to live a happier life, with less anxiety, stress, and fear only allowing the essential and important to occupy your time this is a GREAT first step.
There are a finite amount of hours in the day, why waste any of it? Be mindful and purposeful of what and who you allow entering your space and the things you spend your time managing. Minimalists find a balance between keeping too many things and too few things.
Minimalist Lifestyle will focus on caring for fewer relationships because 5 friends are a better family and less time consuming than 500 acquaintances. A Minimalist, in my opinion, lives with mostly things that are necessary. Everything in a minimalist lifestyle will have a purpose and add value.
There will be minimal excess, redundancy or clutter. A Minimalist is more concerned with enjoying life and not spending the excess time to accumulate possessions. These are my 10 Tips For Living A Minimalist Lifestyle.
1. Pay attention to what makes you anxious
In the hustle and bustle of the self-imposed hectic lifestyle, we can learn to block many negative feelings. Blocking negative feelings does nothing to reduce the negative physical effects they can cause. Fear, stress, and anxiety can wreak havoc on the mind, body, and relationships.
What is causing you to feel tense, to procrastinate, to be impatient? Can you reduce or eliminate those kinds of situations? You can massively reduce your fear, stress, and anxiety by taking care of these things as soon as the come up. Also, by tackling what causes these feelings first instead of procrastinating and ignoring them will help eliminate those feelings. This principle is discussed it the book Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.
2. Where are you constantly spending your time & money?
Are you spending money every day on that expensive cup of coffee or on eating lunch out? Are you wasting time at useless meetings and on worthless conference calls? Stop it! The minimalist lifestyle approach can help here. Only attend the ones that you one can really contribute to and avoid the rest. No one will miss you and you can get the one or two important details from one of your co-workers.
Do you really need that second car or a car at all? Can you walk, take the train, bike or bus to work. Do you have great public transportation where you live? Can you use it to get around? Maybe just buying an older car and getting rid of the stress of monthly payments on a new can may be an option for the few times during the week you may need one.
Having a second car can be nice but the time and money spent to pay for storing and managing it can be better spent. Don’t spend time shopping for clothes and other items you don’t need. Try spending a whole year buying nothing. That is right. . . NOTHING! You already have everything you need and all the clothing to last you a few years.
If something breaks that you think you really need, try borrowing it from someone to see if you truly need to purchase or if you can avoid buying. Trust me, you will survive and you will regain a lot of time back. You will not be wasting time going shopping, window shopping or preparing mentally to shop.
Growing a new appreciation for the things you do have and you will realize you may have some things that perform a redundant purpose. This is another benefit of living the minimalist lifestyle. You will even find that you have things that perform dual purposes. Ask yourself “is there a way I can sidestep or eliminate these expenses/commitments altogether?” 10 ways to curb financial anxiety when you’re stressed about money.
3. Have a preference for Minimalist Lifestyle items that are versatile
A Minimalist would prefer to have 3 items that perform 10 task than ten items that perform 10 task. When I was de-cluttering my kitchen I realized that I had a few items that performed a redundant task. Eliminating those items contributed greatly to the new clutter free counters and crisp clean Minimalist look of my kitchen.
Clothing is where you have the greatest opportunity to save, multitask and be versatile. In my post Simplify Your Life With a Minimalist Uniform Wardrobe I devised a simple shirt and pants combination that I could wear every day like a uniform. It made life easier for me in many ways. Shopping for clothing was simpler because my uniform consisted of a blue or gray top and black pants. That is all I had to look for when shopping.
If I found a quality combo that fit well I could buy multiple pairs and be done clothing shopping for the year. I am sure that is what Steve Jobs did as he wore a black turtleneck and blue jeans as his uniform. It saved me time and money. It also cut down on decision fatigue as I did not have to waste time trying to decide on multiple styles and colors of clothing.
If you are more fashion conscious or need a more corporate attire you can try the Capsule Wardrobe method. This is where you purchase a number of tops and bottoms that work well together. You then mix and match them to give the appearance of a much larger fashionable wardrobe.
4. Declutter, declutter and declutter
Minimalist believe that less is more. The less useless junk that you don’t need will lead to less time needed to acquire the money to purchase that stuff and less time spent storing and managing it. Less junk leads to more time for good friends and family. De-cluttering can take many forms.
9 Decluttering Secrets From Professional Organizers can be a guide for many. Others respond to challenges and Get Organized With the 30-Day Declutter Challenge may work for them. Whatever works for you is fine. Give it all a try. Anything that does not add value to your life or make you happy. If it doses not invoke a positive emotion or if you would not immediately replace it if lost it probably should be sold, donated or discarded. Get rid of EVERYTHING that does not serve you well.
5. Give things away to people who need them more than you
After de-cluttering and looking at the piles of junk you have accumulated over the years, selling it may not be the best option. Think about giving it away or donating it to those in need. That stuff may not add any value or invoke positive emotion for you but may add value to others.
Giving your useless junk away or donating it may help you avoid the time spent holding a garage sale or putting it up on E-Bay or Craigs List for little profit. Spend that saved time enjoying family and friends. Now for those of you who’s junk is actually worth some serious cash, by all means, sell it.
Sell it all and spend even more time creating memories with family and friends. Just think, now you don’t have to clean that stuff or move that stuff around as you clean. Just enjoy your new found clutter free extra space.
6. Boil your job down to a few simple objectives
What are the true responsibilities of your profession? When you align your efforts solely towards things that will lead to results, you can reduce your workload by half. Try, to be honest with yourself and identify things that you do during the day that could be classified as busy work. Busy work is a task that you continually do that yield little results.
This should be avoided. As I try to Live The Freedom Lifestyle every day I have found that some task I once did yield little results and learned to avoid them. Some social media task that I developed stop yielding results but I spent hours a day doing them. I just did them because I always did them and that was a great waste of time. Remember one of the Minimalist goals are to spend as mush quality time doing the things that they REALLY love.
Spending time doing useless task runs counter to that. In Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less he creates a whole culture devoted to getting things done and maximizing time spent. I am sure there are things you can ditch in your work day that will save you time without negatively affecting productivity. Things that will give you more free time to do more. These may include some meetings, some reports or some processes that are done solely because they were ALWAYS done. Change that.
7. Get comfortable saying “I don’t care
You don’t need to waste brain power to have an opinion on everything and you don’t need to “optimize” every damn thing in your life. Relax, minimalist lifestyle should add value to your life and not be a burden. Don’t get in the weeds over planning every second of your professional and private life to Minimalist principles.
Minimalist lifestyle principals are different for everyone and all self-improvement takes time. Enjoy it. If you miss something it’s ok. You will get it next time. Saying “NO” is ok. “No.” Is A Complete Sentence: How to Use & Stick to It is a goal. If you don’t feel something is a “Hell Yes” then it should be an NO.
Don’t stress over it. Think about it and if things change you can change your response to yes. It’s better to error on an “NO” response than to lock yourself in a “YES” and be obligated to that poor choice to extended periods of time. This should be a trained response. You should be able to calculate and make that decision in seconds. The minimalist lifestyle advantage is the “NO” response should be stress-free and you should be able to completely move on to the next task without thinking about it. NEXT!
8. Eliminate toxic relationships
I always believed that 10% of your relationships (professional, personal, romantic, etc) yield 90% of your drama. Identify this 10 % and avoid them. You may not be able to do this with all of them but any progress would be helpful.
With the fast pace life that many of us lead combined with our advanced communication technology, dealing with even the people you like can be time-consuming and a little bit stressful. Why not consciously avoid the people you don’t care for that much whenever possible?
I am not saying be a dude or make it known to the world that you don’t care to be in the company of someone. Just consciously limit time with toxic people when you can. Be polite at all times and just not engage with them. Less is more and Minimalist work to spend quality time with friends and family rather than working to acquire stuff. Learn to make less space for negative people for more happiness.
10. Be frugal until you’re free
I believe there is a big difference between the minimalist lifestyle and being frugal. Minimalism is a philosophy and frugality is a series acts but they can work hand in hand with Minimalism. Saving time and money is a core Minimalist principal and being frugal is a path.
If you are not a Minimalist being frugal every day over time can yield similar results. You will spend less and acquire less stuff you save. Less stuff to manage with fewer hours having to work to acquire that stuff should also lead to less stress and more time. As I explained in my post-Living Simple Being Frugal Until You Are Free being frugal can have an effect counter to Minimalism.
You can also have a frugal consumerist that shops everyday catching sales and using coupons believing they are being frugal saving money. I deeply believe that even if you don’t choose to become a Minimalist just the act of being frugal over time can be freeing.
Being frugal in the most case should relieve you from the stress of managing massive debt. Not having to work two jobs and beg for overtime at work to keep up with massive debt will add to the quality time you can spend with family and friends. Football Player Marshawn Lynch being frugal until you are free was the end result. Newly Retired Marshawn Lynch Hasn’t Spent Any of the $50 Million He’s Made in His NFL Career.