Minimalism sometimes gets a bad reputation as being cold, stark or too extreme. But minimalism as a lifestyle doesn’t have to be any of those things! In today’s post, I’m sharing 11 simple minimalist lifestyle tips to help you explore minimalism and start creating a version of a minimalist lifestyle that feels right for you!
These minimalist lifestyle tips give you some suggestions of ways to begin exploring minimalism. They let you ease into a minimalist lifestyle by trying out a few ways to simplify your home and your life.
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Minimalism is not about “stuff”
Minimalism is about so much more than just decluttering your stuff. It’s about a lot more than just the physical stuff you own in general!
At its core, minimalism is about designing a life centred around whatever you value most. Then removing anything that distracts you from living that life.
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”
~ Joshua Becker
A minimalist lifestyle is about making intentional choices
The kind of minimalism I’m taking about is a lifestyle, not a design style. It’s about creating an intentional life and making thoughtful choices about what fills your time and space.
“Minimalism is not about having less. It’s about making room for more of what matters.”
Minimalism doesn’t have to be extreme
Minimalism doesn’t have to be extreme or an “all or nothing” way of living. You can design your own version of minimalism that works for you, your lifestyle and your preferences. You don’t have to get rid of everything you own, live out of a backpack or paint your entire house white.
(Although you can if that’s the version of minimalism you want to live!)
Instead, minimalism is about getting rid of the clutter, the excess, the distractions and the unimportant from your home and your life. So you have more time, energy and attention for what is important to you.
“Minimalism isn’t about removing the things you love. It’s about removing the things that distract you from the things you love.”
~ Joshua Becker
Ease into minimalism with these minimalist lifestyle tips
You don’t have to dive into minimalism all at once if you don’t want to. There are simple ways to ease into and test out a minimalist lifestyle to see what works, what doesn’t and how it makes you feel.
In today’s post, I’m sharing 11 simple minimalist lifestyle tips to help you do just that.
These minimalist lifestyle tips are some of my favourite ways to add more minimalism to your life. But in an easy-going, stress-free kind of way.
You don’t have to do all 11 minimalist lifestyle tips at once, or even try all 11 at all! Pick whichever tips speak to you, and give them a try. Use them to explore a minimalist lifestyle and see how it feels to simplify your life!
11 Minimalist lifestyle tips to begin exploring minimalism
1. Identify your priorities
If the concept of minimalism is about removing the clutter and distractions so you can focus on what matters most to you, the key is knowing exactly what it is you value most.
This may seem obvious, but sometimes we don’t see the forest through the trees in our lives. We are so focused on the day to day things that we need to do every day, that it can be easy to lose sight of our goals and priorities. Or maybe it’s just a matter of not always keeping our priorities at the forefront of our life….because sometimes life gets busy or distracting!
Get really clear about what your priorities and goals are in your life, both short-term and long-term. Then, once you are really clear about your priorities, you can make decisions and lifestyle choices that keep your priorities prioritized!
These priorities become your WHY that drives your simplifying journey.
For example, maybe spending time with your family is your priority. Or it could be advancing in your career or building a business. It could be achieving financial freedom or getting out of debt. Taking better care of yourself could be your priority. Or maybe it’s having the ability to travel more.
Your priorities will be personal and unique to you. There is no right or wrong answer. It’s about getting clear about what matters most to you.
None of us can prioritize all the things, all the time. It’s about making choices about what your short-term and long-term priorities are for you, right now.
2. Do a life audit – identify what’s getting in the way of your priorities
Now that you are clear about what your priorities are, the next minimalist lifestyle tip to help you explore minimalism is to do a life audit.
This means taking a look at what is currently filling your life – both your time and space – and identifying what is getting in the way of you prioritizing your priorities.
This step isn’t necessarily about taking action and changing the things that aren’t working to support your priorities at this time. Instead, it’s about identifying and becoming more aware of the things that aren’t working that you may want to change in the future.
Even though you may not be able to change these things right away, you can start paying attention. It’s a practice of starting to notice what is adding value to your life, and what’s not adding value because it’s adding clutter, stress, distraction, etc. to your life.
For example, maybe you want more time to spend with your family, but notice a big chunk of your time is spent cleaning and picking up your house. Decluttering your house, or even downsizing to a smaller home may be ways to help prioritize time with your family in the future.
3. Continue your life audit and identify what is currently working to support your priorities
Doing a life audit isn’t just about what isn’t working. It’s equally important to identify the aspects of your life that are working and helping you focus on your priorities. This helps you identify the things that are worth continuing because they help support your priorities.
For example, if one of your priorities is taking good care of yourself, and you’re currently making it a priority to exercise multiple times a week, that’s a great thing! And definitely something to continue because it supports your priorities.
Focusing on the positive aspects of your life can help keep your spirits up and your momentum going as you move towards designing a life focused on what you value most.
4. Start removing the physical clutter from your home
Of all the minimalist lifestyle tips in this post, this is probably the one you were expecting the most.
Clearing the physical clutter from your home is an important part of a minimalist lifestyle. And while decluttering your home is simple in theory (keep the things you use or love, get rid of what you don’t) it’s not always so easy in practice.
The things we own hold emotional value to us. We may feel sentimental about things. Or feel guilty getting rid of them because they were gifts or expensive to buy. And sometimes the sheer amount of work to clear the clutter from your home may feel overwhelming.
The key to remember is that every time you remove a piece of clutter from your home, you’re making progress towards decluttering and simplifying your home.
You can declutter your home quickly if that works for you. Or declutter at a slow and steady pace.
My favourite way to start decluttering is by starting with some smaller, easier decluttering projects to help build your momentum, confidence and decluttering skills as you go.
Another great way to start decluttering is by removing duplicate items from your home. Removing duplicates often feels easier and safer because you’re not really giving anything up. You’ll still have the item, just not duplicates of the same item!
The key is making an effort to remove some of the clutter, the excess and the distractions from your home to help simplify your physical space.
5. Slow the inflow of “stuff” coming in
Removing the clutter from your home is important. But you’ll never make lasting change clearing the clutter from your home and your life if you keep bringing in more and more stuff.
Start practicing making more thoughtful and intentional purchases to help slow the inflow of stuff coming into your space. Making more intentional purchases helps you buy fewer things overall. And hopefully helps you buy things that will add lasting value to your life, not just end up as clutter!
It’s also important to act as a gatekeeper of your home to keep clutter from entering in the first place! It’s a lot easier to keep clutter from ever entering your home, to begin with, than having to declutter and remove it later.
Even something as simple as sorting and dealing with mail as soon as it comes in can be an easy way to cut down on clutter in your home.
6. Start identifying and removing the mental clutter from your life
Equally as important as removing the physical clutter from your home, is removing the mental clutter from your life.
Mental clutter is anything that adds stress or distraction to your life, or doesn’t align with the priorities you’ve set.
“Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor – it’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living.”
~ Peter Walsh
For example, mental clutter could be a to-do list that feels never-ending. Maybe it’s commitments on your calendar you dread or relationships that don’t make you feel good. It could even be an underlying need to be busy to make yourself feel important and worthy.
Just spending some time reflecting on what is adding mental clutter to your life is a great place to start.
You can’t change what you don’t see. So, identifying what is adding stress or distraction to your life, without adding any value, is important.
Then, see if there are ways to start limiting and removing some of this mental clutter.
7. Be intentional with where your time is going
Now that you’re identifying the sources of mental clutter in your life, you can make efforts to limit the mental clutter by being intentional with where your time is going.
Remind yourself that it’s ok to say no or set boundaries to protect your time. You already know what your priorities are. Now you can make choices to help keep your focus on them so you are actually prioritizing your priorities.
“I will not say yes when my heart says no”
~ Courtney Carver
In her book, Soulful Simplicity, Courtney Carver speaks at length about listening to your heart and setting loving boundaries with your time to protect your own well-being.
8. Shift your focus to gratitude and contentment
Another important minimalist lifestyle tip is shifting your focus to noticing and appreciating all the things (both tangible and intangible) that already fill your life.
When you live from a place of gratitude and contentment, it helps stop the cycle of always wanting more, newer, better, etc. And instead, helps you notice all the good things that already fill your life.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.”
~ Melody Beattie
Contentment doesn’t mean you can’t continue to strive to improve your life. Having goals and aspirations is important for your own personal growth and well-being. Instead, it’s about learning to appreciate what you already have instead of only focusing on what’s next or what’s missing from your life.
9. Use what you already have
And speaking of noticing and appreciating what you already have, another great way to explore minimalism is making an effort to use what you already have instead of buying new or more.
This is a great way to avoid adding more stuff to your home, especially when it’s not always necessary.
Before buying something new, take some time to see if you can use something you already have. You may be surprised how often you can find ways to use what you already have instead of buying something new!
10. Create one minimalist spot in your home
One of my favourite minimalist lifestyle tips to help you explore and test out minimalism is by creating one minimalist spot in your home. It doesn’t have to be big, just one area of your home that you keep simplified and clutter-free to test drive minimalism.
It could be a clutter-free section of your kitchen counter or clearing off your kitchen table. Maybe you create a small minimalist reading nook in your living room, a clutter-free nightstand or keep your bathroom drawers simple and clutter-free.
The key is intentionally creating a minimalist spot in your home to allow you to see how living with less makes you feel. Pay attention to how you feel when using that space and how it impacts your life or makes your life easier.
Having some real-life experience living with less is a great way to spur on a minimalist lifestyle.
11. Clean out your closet!
Decluttering my closet and creating a small, simplified capsule wardrobe is hands down my favourite simplifying project to date. I honestly didn’t know how much stress and burden a closet full of clothes added to my life…until I got rid of most of them!
You don’t have to go as far as creating a capsule wardrobe to begin experiencing the benefits of simplifying your wardrobe. Simply getting rid of the clothes you don’t like, don’t fit or never wear will let you begin exploring how minimalism can make life easier.
Decluttering your closet doesn’t have to be scary, stressful or overwhelming. Try these simple tips to begin clearing the clothes you don’t wear or love and see how it makes you feel.
A wardrobe that only contains clothes you love and feel great in makes getting dressed and starting your day faster and easier. And simply starting your day without stressing about what to wear can have a positive impact on your whole day.
Minimalist lifestyle tips to simplify your life!
I hope these minimalist lifestyle tips give you some actionable ideas of ways you can begin exploring minimalism in your life.
Remember, minimalism isn’t about deprivation or living an extreme lifestyle. Instead, it’s about deciding what matters most to you, then removing anything that gets in the way of living a life focused on what matters most.
Which of these minimalist lifestyle tips are you going to try? Leave a comment and let me know!
Friday 29th of July 2022
This is a great post on exploring minimalism. I particularly liked the thought that we need to find the version of minimalism that works for us. I have currently been taking steps to eliminate unnecessary items or pressures in my life as well as being super intentional with purchases. Thanks for sharing.
Simple Lionheart Life
Sunday 31st of July 2022
That's great! Good for you! I agree that finding a lifestyle that works for you is so important. Thanks for reading :)
Sunday 26th of January 2020
I have been working at this for sometime. I am in a neat, finished apartment that I love. I just completed a long distance move by myself at 69. I have returned to my home state and continue to think of ways to declutter my life and enjoy the people and things I care about most. This is such an awesome adventure, innovative and exciting. Thank You!!
Simple Lionheart Life
Sunday 26th of January 2020
You're welcome, Roberta! Good for you - I love that you are working to simplify your life so you can keep your priorities prioritized! That's great! Thanks for reading :)
Sunday 22nd of December 2019
Not waiting for the new year... I'm beginning today! I'm starting over after 20-something years with a hoarder. He left, and I got stuck with his piles and bags inside of bags inside of boxes. Keeping useless junk for its potential use. I'm finally free to put my life in order, one step at a time, as I transition from a big cluttered house to a smaller place that's just the right size for me to rediscover myself as a woman after many years of caring for husband, children, grandchildren and my mother. I'm on my own to rediscover who I am beyond the aforementioned roles. This Minimalist approach and steps will ease me into my new lifestyle.
Simple Lionheart Life
Thursday 26th of December 2019
Good for you. It sounds like you have a great mindset to go into this new stage of your life! I hope you enjoy your new home and simplified life. Thanks for reading :)