Are minimalist techniques practical? Can a family of four really tidy up and decrease their stuff? During the first 2 years of marriage, my family has been on a journey to minimizing our amount of clutter. During the course of that time we have learned how to live simply by incorporating several minimalist lifestyle tips. This post will share some of the most impactful.
Last year, my husband and I decided after watching a few episodes of the Marie Kondo Show on Netflix, that we would try out a minimalist lifestyle. We gathered as much information as we could about the techniques of the tidying up guru and set off to become like the minimalist masters. Our goal: to simplify our life and not focus on stuff so much. My goal was to have a Pinterest worthy home. We failed at both!
Initially, we tidied, organized, and minimized the things we had. It became a game to figure out how little we could get down to, and it was sort of thrilling to see the bags of stuff piling up to give away. The doing wasn’t the problem. Our problem was that we attempted to adopt the minimalist lifestyle without incorporating minimalist values. We were using the techniques of Minimalism to simplify our life, but not getting to the true core of the lifestyle. So, a few months later we started seeing an accumulation of things.
Minimalist techniques by themselves, without the hard work of changing our hearts, became an idol. It was something we were trying to achieve without first having a thorough heart check. Without knowing why we were doing what we were doing, we couldn’t fully see the lasting results of simplifying our amount of things. Once we completed a self-evaluation and adopted these minimalist techniques in a way that worked for our family, we’ve been able to live life more intentionally simplified.
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What is the minimalism lifestyle?
A minimalist lifestyle means learning how to live simply and enjoying the moments in your life more than the things in your life. It involves elimination of the clutter in your life to make room for the things that matter. This could be mental clutter, physical clutter, or time clutter.
Minimalist living might be for you if:
- You have items that you rarely use
- You have excessive debt
- You often see what others have and feel discontent
- Your busy, but unfulfilled
Is minimalism practical?
While there are some extreme minimalists, living minimalism to the extreme wasn’t practical for us. I mean can you imagine my life with 23 items in a backpack and a 10-month-old? Understanding Minimalism was just the beginning of our journey. We believed there were some good values to the minimalist lifestyle, but the extreme decrease in the number of things we owned without an understanding of the reason we were getting rid of them, left us back were we started months later.
To make the techniques of minimalism work for our family, we had to understand the principles that were core to the lifestyle. We had to understand how the values of minimalism fit into our values. A big part of that was realizing how much God actually spoke about simplicity. When we started living a life of intentional simplicity, based on these principles, living like a minimalist became very practical.
Minimalist lifestyle tips that taught me how to live simply
Minimalism is more than just living with less stuff and decluttering. One of the biggest things that we learned about living simply was that we had to shift our mindset about things in our life. Maintaining minimalism is less about the decluttering process and more about embracing a lifestyle of less stuff and more joy.
If the idea of living a minimalist lifestyle is something that you are excited about but you are overwhelmed with where to start, understanding the following minimalist techniques will help get you on the road to intentional simplicity.
Minimalist Lifestyle Tip 1: Understand your values
It may make you happy to own 120+ pairs of shoes or twelve different cars. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labors, the truth is these items are just temporary.
If you want to have a standard to guide your journey to intentional simplicity, you have to understand what you value? Perhaps its spending time with family. Maybe it’s a comfortable home or having a kitchen large enough to host all of your friends for the holidays. You must be able to understand what it is you value so as you begin living a minimalist lifestyle and reduce your things; both tangible and non-tangible, you can weigh it against your values.
Minimalist Lifestyle Tip 2: Prioritize needs over wants
Simple living and minimalism require you to understand the difference between your needs and your wants. If we are sticking with the shoe example, there are times when you need a new pair of shoes, and that’s okay, but if you have a good functional (and pretty) pair of black pumps, then getting a new pair is probably a want.
Minimalist Lifestyle Tip 3: Quality over Quantity
When I was in my younger years, I used to LOVE the buy one get one sale at Charlotte Russe. The shoes were always super cute and on-trend. I had a Closet full of them that I loved looking at. The problem with these shoes, however, always reared its ugly head around hour 1.5 of me wearing them. The quality was terrible. Living simply means choosing wisely when you buy. When I do have to purchase items, I seek out the quality items over the quantity.
Minimalist Lifestyle Tip 4: Embrace simple living
Simplicity in living involves intentionally finding ways to simplify your life. Whether it is in possessions, commitments, or relationships, minimalists attempt to find a way to be satisfied with what they have and to decrease their consumption.
Minimalist Lifestyle 5: Choose to own less
When some people first hear of the idea of minimalism, they think in terms of “less”. They think they’ll have less joy, less stuff, less confidence, and less energy.
In truth, the opposite exists. When you choose to decrease the importance of things in your life, you’ll find that you have more fulfilling relationships, more intentionality, more time to pursue passions, and more room to grow your faith in exciting ways!
This comes with really embracing the minimalist technique of owning less.
Minimalist Lifestyle Tip 6: Value experiences over things
Visualize the perfect vacation. Fill in all the details. Are you on a beach somewhere relaxing? Cozying up to a fire in a mountaintop chalet? Whatever that dream vacation is, imagine having the ability to simply pick up and go? When you begin placing more value on the experiences you make in life you allow more room for fulfilling activities and experiences.
Minimalist Lifestyle Tip 7: Silence background noise
This technique of minimalism is one that we could all embrace more. Our society is busy. We are pushed to do more, and accept that we will have less time for ourselves. We are told to multitask, to always be on the go, and to get used to being pulled in a million different directions. We aren’t called to live a life of busyness!
How do I get started with these tips on becoming a minimalist?
Starting to live life a minimalist can be easy if you take the right steps. It all starts with introspection and determining what you want out of life. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I considering a minimalist lifestyle? What are my Values?
- What things are important to me? What will I keep?
- What is the Holy Spirit telling me in regards to my lifestyle and my possessions?
- What is my plan for the items I get rid of? Where will I donate?
- What is my time limit?
As you begin minimizing your possessions and choosing a lifestyle of intentional simplicity, keep in mind that it is a journey, not a destination. You’ll always be finding new things that you can organize, declutter, and simplify. You can get a checklist to get you started here in our resource library!
Don’t be afraid to experiment as you go. You might find a technique that works wonderfully for your friend doesn’t work so great in your home. But that’s the beauty of intentional simplicity and minimalism. If you incorporate the minimalist techniques above into your daily life, you will find that the lifestyle may be more in reach than you imagined!