If you want to know how to become a minimalist, you’ll love this article.
What is Minimalism? You have probably encountered the term minimalism in studies of art: this is a style that makes use of formal elements in the simplest way, using decoration and style to a limited extent.
Minimalism is part of the modern aesthetic, as will be explained later. If you have seen a building that looks like a block or geometric and is very trim and neat looking, you have encountered minimalist architecture.
In paintings, if you happened to see a painting that only has basic shapes and colors, you are seeing a minimalist work.
Do you recognize the painting White on White? This is a minimalist work that people sometimes ridicule for being the utmost – if not most exaggerated – form of minimalism.
There are certain cultures that make use of minimalism as a primary aesthetic. As a matter of fact, to them this is not a modern invention, but a part of the classical.
The Japanese, for example, with their almost bare houses with almost plain structure and neutral use of color, employ minimalism.
They even have an endemic term that is almost similar to minimalism – wabi sabi.
This aesthetic appreciates things as being time worn, unpolished, and of course, decorated by the most natural and delicate simplicity.
Where did it all begin?
Minimalism, as a global phenomenon, proliferated during late modern times. Remember your history; this is not a coincidence. In the beginning of the modern, there came industrialization, mass production, and other industries that focused on the production of stuff.
This period made people very busy – so many parties, affiliations, and affairs took the lives of the people.
Imagine cities that never slept at night and business establishments that operated for 24 hours on end. Cities brimmed with lights and the pedestrian traffic never seemed to stop.
This was the modern situation, and as an escape from the clutter and all of the business that have suddenly preoccupied human life, minimalism came in vogue.
Indeed, minimalism is not just limited to art or to paintings like those of Mondrian.
Minimalism is, at its core, a lifestyle and a philosophy, a way of looking at things and designing our lives. Minimalism is more than just a “bare style”. You might find that “bare style” seems like an irony, but it is not.
There is a certain aesthetic in minimalism. There is a style involved in minimalism contrary to the common notion that minimalism is poverty or self-imposed deprivation.
You can be a minimalist and still have a good taste of the slice of life. You can indulge in décor, fashion, and a lifestyle that remains sophisticated – but with the simplicity, austerity, and the comfort of minimalism.
We have described to you what minimalism is – it is a certain style, philosophy, or way of living that keeps things at the minimal level without compromising the quality and the beauty of a work or experience.
Becoming a minimalist wouldn’t require you to become an artist or to become an expert at looking at minimalist buildings and paintings.
Anyone can embrace a minimalist lifestyle – even though you came from a cluttered, busy, full of traffic lifestyle, as we have described on what is modern – and adopt an entirely new lifestyle.
That is the focus of this article. It will help you on how to make the leap and adopt minimalism as a way to escape stress, re-structure your life, and get the most of what you can have by being minimal.
If you still find the irony in this assertion, don’t worry because you will find clarification in the next sections. This post will guide you step by step towards learning by heart what minimalism is and how you can make a significant chance in your life by adopting that lifestyle.
You will learn not just how to have a minimalist home or personal space. This text will also teach you about living life like a minimalist – with minimalism as the guiding philosophy of your mind and spirit.
Lifestyle Benefits of Minimalism
Before you learn how to become a minimalist, you must have a clear view of what minimalist living has to offer. This is not just about showing off the benefits of this lifestyle.
More importantly, it will help you weigh the differences that you would have to endure when you finally jump into the life of a minimalist. You will also learn how to value the things that you have and do not have.
In comparing what a minimalist lifestyle is to your lifestyle, you will get a better realization that you may truly need to start adopting a minimalist point of view.
Minimalist living implies more space
By owning less, you have more space. This is true because everything that you have requires a place to live, and you would have to provide the space or share your space with every other object that you have. Minimalism as a way of life requires you to have a physically minimalist space.
This doesn’t necessarily imply that you are meant to live in a shabby studio apartment; the advice here is to live where you can comfortably fit in. It is understandable if you wish to have a home with two extra bedrooms or a stock room – but do you really need it?
A person cannot have a minimalist lifestyle while living in a house of clutter or hoarded stuff. When you become a minimalist, one of the benefits that you should pursue is that by owning less, you have more.
You will have more space. Think about the place or home in which you live right now. Is it too big? Is it too small? Or does your place seem small because the objects and the clutter have taken up so much space?
As time passes, the value of space and location increases. Rental prices go higher and higher every year, and the cost of living becomes more expensive. Minimalism makes you spend less on space and real property.
If you are thinking about settling down or moving out, one of the first things that you should think about is location. And more often than not, we compromise our ideal location because the cost of living is too high, especially the price of property.
But do you factor in the size of the space that you intend to buy or have? What if we told you that you
can live in a one-bedroom apartment in your ideal location, instead of choosing a three-storey house in a less comfortable venue, for the same price?
You will achieve more by doing less
Think of your weekly schedule. How much time is allotted to going to parties, hanging out with friends, or checking out the department store for the latest trendy gadgets and clothes?
There is nothing wrong with doing these activities. Once in a while we do need to indulge and go out. But have you ever asked yourself the question: Do I really need to do this?
Peer pressure is not just a teenage phenomenon. If we look at the bigger picture, all of humanity is our peer, and their lifestyles are pressuring us to follow the status quo. Why else would be the reason or the root of the lifestyle that we are following? The status quo as of now is the modern lifestyle – work weekdays, party weeknights, party weekends.
This coincides with the advent of commercialism and capitalism wherein you have to pay for everything, and sellers make you want to pay for everything and spend on everything.
Do we really need this lifestyle? A minimalist lifestyle does involve an amount of partying – but in a different way.
Minimalism teaches you to eliminate the activities that you don’t need, so that (maybe for the first time in your life) you may experience the luxury of time.
You will never have to worry, never be in a rush, because of an appointment that your friends have put into your schedule. Answer this question honestly – how many things do you actually do for the sake of doing it?
Getting Rid of the Clutter
Look around you and count the objects that are in your possession. If you possibly cannot count them – if they are as abundant as the stars – chances are you truly are living in a cluttered space.
Don’t even describe it now; nobody wants to hear about a hoarder’s place. Yes, you may like and want everything that you have.
You may even have spent a great amount of money on an object that you like because you simply like it. But what has become the consequence?
What does having a dozen shoes make your place look like? Do you find any problems about owning five smartphones? Does your table full of small, cute stuff, ever make you think that it doesn’t look cute?
It is definitely time to purge and de-clutter.
Get rid of the duplicates
This is the basic tenet of minimalism. You do not need to have another copy of an object that you already have.
By copy, we mean the actual type of the object. How many running shoes do you have?
Do you need as much? Don’t you realize that you have only one pair of feet?
Minimalism encourages you to get rid of objects that perform the exact same things as their duplicate.
You do not need two objects for something that you can achieve with only one. Get rid of the duplicate items!
When making a purchase, emphasize the quality so you would not have any reason to buy a duplicate. This is where the class and the elegance of the minimalist come in.
Minimalism does not imply poverty; it can mean luxury at its simplest form. If you have money to spend, and you would like to brag about it, do not buy a lot of items.
You can buy one expensive item and realize that it truly is the equivalent of the countless cheap versions.
Throw away; do not organize
Clutter and the possession of too much stuff eventually lead to a cramped space. Sooner or later you would have to clean up and tidy up lest your neighbors come over and accuse you of being a hoarder.
When you get into the act of tidying up, make sure that you also throw stuff away. If you see something that you can possibly live without – something that you haven’t used for thirty days and you do not see using in the future – throw it away.
Learn how to say “no”
This is the most difficult part to follow. If you are a young adult, your ultimate mission in life might be to experience the world at its fullest or to live life for as long as you can. And by “long”, we mean long hours of staying awake without doing anything truly productive.
This implies sleep deprivation just to be able to fill one’s schedule for a week. Needless to say, this is a dangerous lifestyle and harmful to one’s health. By learning to say “no”, you would probably have more time to engage in the things that you truly want to do for yourself.
A minimalist lifestyle is not basically all about eating and sleeping. This intends to keep things simple, especially for recreational activities.
You can experience the beauty of the world without compromising too much of your time. It isn’t necessary to spend long hours outdoors and doing nothing but drinking or partying.
If you truly want to party, you should learn how to do so in the least stressful manner.
The best thing to do is not to party at all, unless a party involves a development and cultivation of your individuality as a human being.
This is all about making the right choices in life. Should I accept this invitation? Should I buy this object? Should I do this job? The reason should be based on whether it will give you a comfortable, stress-free life.
Nobody would say no to a life that is comfortable and very easy to live! Don’t be so hard on yourself. Do not try to fill any holes, if there are no holes in your life to begin with.
Achieving Your Minimalist Space
If you already have a home that is full of clutter and you would like to start anew, there is still hope for you.
You would just have to follow certain steps to achieve your goal, and you might have to take some time while doing it – never rush for radical changes.
If you are planning to move out and start your space for the first time, you have a better success for adopting a minimalist space.
Prevention is indeed better than cure. It is easy not to buy an item than to buy an item and trash it.
That is exactly our first advice for those who already have their space: start trashing.
What should I get rid of?
Previously, we taught you the basics of getting rid of clutter. First off, you start with getting rid of duplicates. Look at your storage cabinets – what do you see? Do you really need sets of curtains or bed sheets?
A minimalist only possesses one object of any kind. If it is something that you can replenish – or if it is not disposable – there is no need to have an extra.
Live in a smaller space
Bigger and wider isn’t always better. As a matter of fact, the only advantage to having a wide space is that you can put more stuff in it. Unless you have a large family, there is no reason for buying or renting an area with ample space. If you can run around the house or need to take too many steps before you reach your “destination” around the house, you should opt for a smaller home.
Living in a smaller home also implies that you spend less, especially on rent, electricity, and your own energy for walking around, cleaning, and maintaining the stability or the pristine condition of the place.
Know your essentials
This is related to your lifestyle, as we will be discussing in the following paragraphs . People have their own can’t-live-without objects, and they tend to hoard and keep multiple examples of the same object.
If you are a book geek, there’s nothing wrong about having a shelf of books. But if you have a paper back, an international edition, and a hardcover of the same title – you are violating rule number 1: no duplicates.
If you live alone, for example, you need a very small number of appliances to live in relative comfort. This means that you do not need to have a double-door refrigerator if a personal refrigerator can hold everything that you need to eat for the week.
Have a totally uncluttered space
A minimalist brags about his or her achievement by keeping countertops and tables clean.
This is often how you can identify a minimalist home – when you can see empty tables and clean countertops.
The minimalist has a location where he or she can put little things, and this usually comes in the form of the small cabinet, which you may not even notice.
This cabinet is small because it is filled only with the essentials for living.
The Minimalist Lifestyle
De-cluttering your space and designing a minimalist home is already the first step towards achieving a minimalist lifestyle.
If you find it easy to design a minimalist space (1) but have trouble incorporating this minimalist attitude into your lifestyle and personal schedule, we will help you. Here we will teach you the basic tents of minimalism in terms of lifestyle.
How much time do you spend thinking of what to eat? Do you drive around town for hours until you find the perfect spot to dine in? Food is a basic need which has become a commodity, thanks to modernity and urbanization.
Minimalism wouldn’t require you to become vegetarian or to follow a specific eating regime, but it does have one advice: keep it simple.
We are telling you that there is nothing wrong with eating the same breakfast and lunch for an entire week.
This is actually healthy, especially if you can design a meal that gives you all of your caloric and nutritious needs. The best part about this is the convenience.
You wouldn’t have to shop for a wide variety of ingredients that may end up not being used in the future. If you eat out, you can manage your food expenses even better.
You may still indulge in a culinary delight, but remember to keep it simple. You can do this by sticking to a simple meal plan that you consider truly appetizing and satisfying.
If you do this, you would eliminate the need to go out and “treat yourself” occasionally.
Your everyday meals become a treat.
Dress sharp and simple.
Again, being minimalistic wouldn’t advise you of certain fashion choices. We wouldn’t mandate you to follow hippy or bohemian fashion.
We would just like to remind you of the clothes that you have bought but have never worn.
There might also be clothes that you wore on only three occasions. Why do you need to keep these things? And why do you keep buying new stuff?
You will find it easier if you keep your fashion choices simple. You wouldn’t have to spend minutes picking on which trousers to wear or which tops to slip on.
If you have a minimal number of clothes and fashion accessories – thirty three items for thirty days is one of the minimalist guidelines – you wouldn’t have to deal with a lot of confusion regarding what to wear for an occasion.
You are more likely to shop for quality instead of quantity. Who would say no to wearing the first dress or shirt that you pull of your closet, because it fits well on your for all occasions?
Plan your activities well
You should know the basic activities or the minimal level of activity required to stay alive. We do not encourage you to go back to the lifestyle of the Stone Age man of eating all day and sleeping all night.
Of course, we still need to live according to our contemporary society. Having a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t mean detaching yourself from the popular and the vogue.
This simply means that you eliminate the stressful and unneeded lifestyle inventions of the modern period.
A minimalist lifestyle is very simple. This involves eating, sleeping, doing one’s job and also some form of recreation.
Make sure that you are focused on doing what is necessary to live – the activities of a minimalist. People with a cluttered lifestyle do so many things and activities but still fail to perform the basic chores needed to sustain a normal, convenient lifestyle.
On the other hand, a person with a minimalist lifestyle accomplishes what needs to be done before indulging in any form of leisure. A minimalist is energetic and is never sleep deprived.
A minimalist is able to enjoy food without hurrying. Most of all, a minimalist never gets a hangover from partying all night. He or she has a satisfying, convenient, and comfortable lifestyle.
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle can be fairly difficult. People often try it gradually and slowly by getting rid of their stuff one by one.
It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or not; there is always the same tendency to want and need stuff regardless of one’s financial capacity.
Some people completely fail to adopt this lifestyle, because it is too simple and easy. People find that they simply cannot “not desire things”. The difficulty lies not in following the basic tenets of minimalism, but in saying goodbye to the good old lifestyle of glamour and pomp.
Of course, in adopting a minimalist lifestyle, we encourage you to realize that the gradual change is always the best.
Once you know about the basic tenets and the general standpoints of minimalism, there should be nothing to discourage you but only yourself and also the people around you.
In this respect, you should feel encouraged to influence the people around you towards achieving simplicity with coupled with abundance and convenience in life. Make people appreciate this lifestyle.
Show them what you can achieve
Brag about having a lot of spare time by learning a new hobby or by learning to play a new instrument.
These are also very good ways to minimize your use of time for recreation because you are being productive while having fun at the same time. Go ahead and show people how a minimalist lifestyle can help you achieve more.
Make the best out of minimalism
Always be a happy person. Remember that minimalism is focused on getting the best out of life by having as few possessions as possible or engaging in as few activities as possible.
Never feel as if you are suffering from poverty. If you do so, you may always purchase minimalist art or furniture worth thousands of dollars and donate your old one – never hoard.
As a minimalist, you should learn about contentment (2). The most important thing to learn in minimalism is that happiness and satisfaction in life are not found in material things.
If you can find ultimate happiness in very simple ways, it is only then that you have fully achieved minimalism in heart and in spirit. As they say, the best things in life are free. These things also do not cause clutter and impose schedules that are difficult to follow.
Minimalism will help you learn the value of human connection, love, adventure, and the unaltered environment that we can experience but never own. There is more to minimalism than having a comfortable life with significantly less stress.
At the core of minimalism is going back to the human basics, where no material wealth and pressures of modernism corrupt what we can feel and achieve basically as human beings.