First Steps Towards Minimalism

Originally seen on my other website, www.smilewithless.com

*I am by no means a minimalist. I'm on the journey just as you are. These are simply a few of my thoughts and strategies regarding minimalism.*

Minimalism is a word you've probably seen a lot lately. Books on minimalism are more popular than ever, we're seeing it more in product design, office spaces are adopting minimalist layouts - it's everywhere. Which is great, but now your wheels are turning, and you're beginning to wonder, "Hey - maybe I should try this minimalism thing. I've got things I need to get rid of". And that's great! It's an exciting endeavor. But, before you start, there are a few things you truly need to think about before you take the leap into minimalism.

  • Need vs. Want
    • Growing up, I'm sure your parents said, "You don't need that, "You don't want that." And maybe you've come to terms with what you need as opposed to what you want. I, for one, never had. That is until I found minimalism and the idea of simplicity. Since starting my journey in January of 2015, I've continued to chip away at what I need vs. what I want. It's something I feel I'll continue to struggle with, honestly. I've slipped up. I go back and forth with over-consumption. One day I want to get rid of everything, the next day I feel like I need to redo my wardrobe. These are natural feelings, but all go back to the root of the problem - need vs. want. Once you - and I - have a handle on what it is we need and what it is we can live without, we'll be that much better off.
  • Your Ultimate Goal
    • As with anything, it's best to figure out your end-game before you start or during the beginning stages. Why do you want to get into minimalism? What in your life do you need to simplify? Where in your life do you need to minimize? For me, it was clothes, shoes, tangible items. I've grown up in a culture of material things. Being a child of wealthy suburbs, you're almost forced to keep up with everyone else. That mixed with generous parents, materialism is going to stick with you. Deep down I always knew I didn't need the things I had. But I wanted them. I wanted to "look cool". Being a young kid, you believe the idea that your possessions define you. And I was a sucker for that idea. So my journey into minimizing and simplifying is deeply rooted in my secular upbringing. Because of this, my ultimate goal is only to possess items I truly need. Only buying things of value and quality. To buy, for instance, one sweatshirt from American Giant versus three sweatshirts from H&M. The higher the quality, the more you'll cherish the possession, and the longer it'll last. So I suggest that while beginning your minimalism journey you seriously think about if this is something you want to adopt. Once you have your goal in mind - and always on your mind - it'll be something for which you'll continue to strive.

My advice as an ever-struggling minimalist? Start with these three ideas. Once you have a good idea of how you want to approach this new lifestyle, the easier it will be to accomplish your goals