Thinking about becoming a minimalist? Knowing which area of your life to start with can be tricky, which is why Ashely Hornberger of Modernly You says a good way to get started is by removing duplicates throughout your home.
“I would start by eliminating duplicate items,” Hornberger shared. “If you have an overwhelming number of multiples in a given space, it’s time to downsize.”
From cooking and gardening to fashion and travel, there are a lot of areas in your life where you can adopt minimalism. Find ideas for adjusting your lifestyle from minimalist bloggers and influencers below!
Remove Duplicate Items Throughout Your Home
“The kitchen is a great place to start because it’s a common area where multiples of things add up without even realizing it,” Hornberger explained. “Pots and pans, glassware, travel mugs, and cooking utensils come to mind in the kitchen.”
Hornberger understands that there are instances where owning multiple items is practical. For example, having various lounge chairs, dining chairs, or nightstands is reasonable. It’s possible to embrace minimalism while ensuring there’s ample seating or space for essentials. The key is to be deliberate about the items you retain in your home.
“I mentioned the kitchen, but don’t forget the less obvious areas,” Hornberger said. “Items like books, wall art, electronic chargers, clothes, and shoes. We tend to go overboard with things. Only keep what you truly use and need in a room and let the rest go.”
Set Boundaries to Gain Work-Life Balance
You don’t have to quit your job to find meaning, passion, or balance in your career. In fact, there are many ways you can introduce minimalism into your work without drastically changing your life. For author, speaker, and media consultant Paula Rizzo, the solution to working full-time is establishing clear-cut rules.
“I don’t like to say no to people, so I often end up signing up for loads of networking events or agreeing to proofread someone’s book when I already have too much on my plate,” Rizzo said. “So I limit the number of things I agree to. Think about where your problem areas lie and start putting some boundaries into place. You might feel some initial guilt for this, but it’s important to remember that over-working yourself helps no one.”
In addition to recognizing when you need a break, Rizzo now finds managing her busy schedule to be much easier after her friend introduced her to “just enough” lists.
“You write down only the things you absolutely have to get done that day,” Rizzo said. “Look at your list and think ‘What would be just enough?’ These lists can be really helpful in times of stress or when you feel overworked.”
Learn to Eat, Cook, & Meal Prep Sustainably
Nicole Folgate, an experience designer, food photographer, and creator of Midweek Minimalist, believes starting with your pantry is a helpful way to embrace minimalist habits and create quick, healthy meals!
“I keep a pantry stocked with basic ingredients that I use on a regular basis that are purchased in bulk once a month,” Folgate stated. “It might sound counterintuitive to buy more when you’re trying to practice minimalism, but what this is allowing you to do is cut down your time at the grocery store, prevent you from buying unnecessary specialty ingredients, and be more efficient.”
Rather than buying multiple ingredients, Folgate encourages finding cooking supplies that can be utilized in many recipes. One example she recommends is diced roasted tomatoes, which you can use as they are or blend them for pizza or pasta sauces.
“The thing to keep in mind is to be realistic about your lifestyle as it relates to food, and start looking for little efficiencies you can make here and there to save time and space.”
Don’t Add Unnecessary Items in Your Home Design
Intention is the most crucial aspect of minimalist home design, according to Dina Ottoni, entrepreneur and blogger at Move.Play.Mom. Without it, you could end up spending money on home decor that doesn’t add value to your living space or bring you any joy.
“Take your time and don’t rush out to fill your home with a bunch of knick-knacks and stuff,” Ottoni suggested. “As you design your home, take a minute to think about natural light, beautiful lines, open spaces, the functionality of rooms, clutter-free environment, and the simplicity of your actual needs for comfort.”
Whether you’re renovating a room in your home or simply decorating a space, Ottoni recommends considering the importance of every single piece of decor, furniture, or trinket you use. Choose thoughtful pieces that truly represent who you are to make your house feel like home without over-decorating.
Build a Capsule Wardrobe with Quality Pieces
Does getting dressed each day stress you out? When Renée Ricci realized her chaotic wardrobe was making her unhappy, she knew she had to find a better way.
“I started by removing everything from my wardrobe that didn’t make me feel happy,” Ricci, who writes about her fashion experiences on Goblin Shark, said. “If it made me feel guilty or uncomfortable or like there was something wrong with my body, I stuffed it into a bin that I stored under my bed for three months. During those months, I didn’t reach for the bin one single time, and so I donated all of it cold turkey.”
Decluttering is one of the first steps to achieving a minimalist wardrobe. But once you’re done purging items and need something new again, it can be hard to find ethical clothes that fit your budget.
“The key to ethical shopping without overbuying is mindfulness. Really think about whether or not you need something and if it deserves a place in your life. Our money, space, and emotional energy are all precious resources, and we should treat them that way when shopping for clothing.”
Introducing a capsule wardrobe is often where quality over quantity really comes into play. Ricci recommends saving up to buy jeans, jackets, shoes, and other items that will last. Your style, wallet, and the environment will thank you!
Practice Minimalism with Parenting
Whether you’re raising a baby in a one-bedroom apartment or simply trying to live with less, children have to be factored into your decisions.
“As someone with a toddler (and a baby on the way), I know what it feels like to think your kids can change your relationship—or potential relationship—to minimalism,” reflected Jennifer Coyle, minimalist mom, web developer, and creator of Hello Brio.
Rather than drastically changing your child’s lifestyle, Coyle recommends personally making the shift first. This could mean starting with your closet, kitchen, or bathroom. While you have options, she suggests beginning in the areas that are solely your domain.
“The beautiful thing about children is they tend to follow suit. As you pare down your belongings and make conscious decisions about what items enter your home, include your kids in your thought processes and in discussions. You don’t need to force minimalism on them—but talking about it with them and telling them why you’re doing what you’re doing may pique their interest.”
Keep Parties Simple to Avoid Needless Waste
It’s not just in daily routines with parenting where Coyle has implemented minimalism. Her party planning has also been affected by her “Nearo Waste” environmentally-conscious lifestyle.
“Nearo Waste means nearly zero waste, which benefits the earth because practicing it can create less trash, but it also can positively impact your wallet,” Coyle explained. “With a Nearo Waste event, you will be buying much less.”
Paper plates and plastic cups might seem like an easy option, but the costs and trash add up! Plus, Coyle promises that doing dishes post-party doesn’t take as long as you think! Just like disposable dishes, she suggests skipping the one-time-use decorations.
“If you want to create a memorable decorative area, put your money toward a photo booth backdrop and props—both of which you can use again!”
Not only is this a more sustainable way to throw a party, but Coyle says less stuff lets you focus on the people and interactions that make a party worthwhile as well.
Pursue Your Creative Passions with Less
You don’t need a lot to make great art! More supplies, equipment, or materials might seem like the solution to your creative needs, but there are many ways to do more with less!
“In music and the tech world, it’s really easy to get wrapped up in new gear,” said Amanda Harper, a musician, mother, and minimalist. “By keeping my gear down to a minimum, I can focus on creating more imaginatively—which is more fulfilling creatively anyway.”
Painters, musicians, craftspeople, and other artists can reuse materials and try to maximize what they already have. Limiting resources might seem like an added challenge, but minimalist artists will be surprised by the new directions they discover when they try to create more consciously.
Bring Mindfulness into Your Garden
The best advice for integrating minimalism into gardening is to just slow down, urges Jessica Marcy, an engineer and creator of Sweet Love & Ginger.
“Time in the kitchen or garden shouldn’t just be about completing tasks as quickly as possible and moving on,” Marcy suggested. “Take a moment to connect with each action and think about the steps that you are about to take to complete each task.”
Whether you’re bringing mindfulness to the garden or into fresh recipes in the kitchen, Marcy believes minimalist gardening doesn’t have to be about upholding strict rules and standards.
“I truly think that being mindful in the small tasks of our daily lives is the first step to achieving minimalism overall.”
Avoid Impulse Buys When It Comes to Your Pets
Minimalism can be especially tricky for pet owners who love spoiling their furry friends. But Kristen Ziegler, creator of Minima, says learning to let go of those desires is important.
“People tend to go overboard with pet toys when they just tear them up,” Ziegler said. “There are a lot of great durable and sustainable toys available. For instance, I only buy hay or twig-based toys for my pet rabbit. Once she’s done tearing them up, they break down naturally instead of in the landfill.”
While Ziegler’s experience is primarily with her rabbit, similar toys and treats exist for dogs, cats, birds, and more. Making sustainable choices with your pets is a great way to practice minimalism that will both save you money and keep your house tidy.
Focus on the Experience by Traveling Light
From the best rolling carry-on luggage to tips on how to pack light, there are many ways to implement minimalist travel practices. Wellness writer Leah Thomas believes that cleaning out your closet frequently will make leaving simple.
“Living minimally makes travel a lot easier and allows for more space in your luggage just in case you make purchases abroad,” Thomas advised. “If I’m not traveling for too long, I can get away with bringing one backpack and fitting everything in there.”
Not only will packing light leave room to bring back a couple of treasures, but traveling without heavy luggage will make it easier to enjoy spontaneous adventures as well. Plus, being able to move easily with your bags means you’ll never have to wait for check-in to drop off luggage at your hotel or hostel again.
Approach Minimalist Lifestyle Changes Slowly
Getting inspired by minimalist living tips is the easy part. Incorporating them into your everyday life is another thing. That’s why many minimalists, both new and established, recommend taking it easy and making small changes so that you can turn minimalist habits into a full-on lifestyle down the road.
Take it from Jon Thompson, a full-time software engineer who recently embraced the minimalist lifestyle. “Starting small like this may feel frustrating at first, especially when you’re feeling inspired and excited about minimalism,” he said. “Like all habits, the ones that stick are the ones you build slowly over time and starting small lets you get started without making any major life changes.”
Ready to get started with minimalism? Check out this minimalist guide and learn how to stress less, clean less, and experience more in life!
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