The ideas that fuel minimalism have been around a lot longer than many people think. Though we tend to imagine that the desire to minimize our world is a relatively new one, humans have been having the same issues with overconsumption and hoarding for a long time. The concept of minimalism can be confusing for some people, especially when society always tells us that we should constantly strive for more, more, more. Changing this ingrained mindset is a challenge that we all can choose to face, but it can be difficult when you don’t fully understand the alternative.
You’re not likely to find a perfectly detailed explanation for how to become a minimalist. You’ll need to find out for yourself what adopting this type of lifestyle means for you. To get you started on the right path, we’ll look into understanding minimalism’s most important principles so that you have a better idea of what you need to do. Some of these will come to you much more easily than others, which isn’t a bad thing. Focus on what you can make work for yourself and your unique situation, and you’ll see much more success.
Determine Your Priorities
One of the biggest parts of adopting more of a minimalist lifestyle involves understanding your own priorities. What is it that you value? What do you believe that you are lacking, and why do you think you currently lack it? What are your reasons for wanting to be a minimalist besides just wanting to clean up a little? When you take the time to lay out what you want to prioritize in your life, the steps you need to take become a little bit clearer. If maintaining good mental health is a priority for you, you can start to take steps to achieve that, such as meditating in the morning or reading before bed. Once you know your priorities, you can use them to guide your journey toward minimalism.
Never Buy Something Without a Reason
Being a minimalist means fighting your urge for overconsumption. That doesn’t mean that you need to be completely basic and give up all your earthly possessions. However, it’s easy to consume more and more things unconsciously until it becomes a problem, so you need to be more aware of what you consume. If you want to be a minimalist, you don’t have to give up ever buying something new again, but you do need to be more intentional with your purchases. Analyze the reason you want to buy a specific item, and match that reasoning against your personal priorities. If the item doesn’t help you reach your goals in some way, you most likely don’t really need it.
Find Value in Other Places Besides Possessions
When we try to understand minimalism’s most important principles, we start to look at all our possessions and how they affect us. For many people, the accumulation of possessions is a huge part of their lives. To understand minimalism, you must learn to put your value in other things. Many find value in relationships with other people, while others find it in self-reflection. Rather than another possession to clutter up your shelves, consider how much more a meaningful experience would impact you. There’s isn’t anything inherently wrong with finding value in possessions, but they shouldn’t be your only source of self-worth.
More Is Not Always Better
Perhaps one of the most important principles—and one of the more difficult ones to adopt—is that you don’t always need to strive for more. Our culture reinforces the idea that more is better, and you should always strive to gain more than you have. However, this kind of thinking can be dangerous if you let it go unchecked. At what point do you have enough? If you never feel like you have enough and always need more, how can you ever enjoy the things you do have? One of the most common things we always think we need more of is money, but money is simply a means to an end. The money itself doesn’t make you happier, but it does give you the opportunity to make yourself happy. But if you have enough money to live a comfortable life, consider your reasoning before you start to strive for more.
Find Balance Between Beauty and Functionality
Minimalism is a concept that many people use to structure different aspects of their lives, whether that means their homes or their spending habits. Again, the purpose of minimalism is not to completely get rid of everything; you need to find a balance between what you want and what you need. In a design aspect, this means finding the balance between what is aesthetically pleasing and what is functional. You can still appreciate something for its aesthetic value and be a minimalist, as long as that thing improves your life in some way. You don’t need to live in stark white, empty rooms to be a minimalist. Find a balance that works for you.
Minimalism Is Different for Everyone
All the core tenets of minimalism are variable, depending on the person trying to adopt them. There is no one perfect way to be a minimalist; you simply need to strive to be happy without overconsuming or overworking yourself. The most basic principle of minimalism is the idea of living with fewer burdens on your shoulders. Whether those burdens are material things or mental clutter is up to the individual, but don’t let anyone tell you that you are doing minimalism wrong. Everyone has a different definition of what it means to be a minimalist. If what you’re doing makes you feel more content with yourself and your place in life, you’re doing it right.
Many people who try to switch to a minimalist way of life find a lot of success by removing unnecessary possessions from their homes. GreenDrop is here to support that way of thinking. Setting up a used clothing donation in Alexandria, VA, can be a simple and quick method for starting a transition toward minimalism. We’ll gladly take your extra possessions off your hands and put them to good use for others.