How Minimalism Can Change Your Life for the Better (+ 8 Minimalism Hacks)
Minimalism is all about living intentionally with the things you need and removing as many distractions as you can.
It can be about de-cluttering your home and organising your wardrobe, but it’s also about more than that - it’s simplifying your life so there’s more room for the things you value.
For me, living in a more minimalist way has meant deleting some apps off my phone so that I don’t waste too much time on social media and feel overwhelmed by all the apps I have.
It’s meant focusing on which relationships I really want to grow and develop and letting go of relationships that weren’t working.
When we moved to a smaller space earlier this year, it did mean getting rid of a lot of things, from clothing to books to DVDs. We have less stuff and we’re just as happy, if not happier than we were before.
I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a minimalist, but I do implement minimal concepts into my life and it’s created various benefits that I’m really excited to share with you.
So, let’s dive into some of the benefits of living more minimally.
VALUING THINGS OTHER THAN “STUFF”
I read a book last year called Lost Connections by Johann Hari and he described some research by American psychologist Tim Kasser. The research showed that people who valued material things higher were more likely to be depressed and anxious.
As consumerism continues to grow, we feel pressured to keep up with others and to accumulate stuff. We might need to work harder and longer hours to earn enough money to buy better things.
Minimalism teaches us to think more carefully about purchases and to value the things we already have. We can then remember that there are so many important things to value more than material “stuff”, like meaningful time with our loved ones, self-care and working in a way that fulfils us. There is so much more we can value in our lives than just gaining material things and I love that minimalism can help us re-discover that.
I used to spend so much time on eBay, waiting to place a last minute bid on a dress and scrolling through things I didn’t really need and feeling more and more compelled to buy them.
Online shopping is not only an easy way to accidentally overspend or buy things you don’t really need, but it can also take a whole lot of time that you could have spent on other things, like a mindfulness practice, or going outside and spending time in nature, or exercising. There are so many fulfilling things we can do instead of accumulating more things.
MORE FINANCIAL FREEDOM
Not only does living more minimally help you create more time, it can also help you save money.
When you only purchase things you really need and you think more carefully about re-using items you already have, you’re likely to spend less money on superfluous things. This allows you to save money and spend it in more fulfilling ways. You might choose to travel, or buy a home, or pay off debts. Rather than living from pay-check to pay-check and buying lots of little things you don’t really need, you can have more financial freedom and choice.
CLEANING AND ORGANISING IS SOOO MUCH EASIER
At the moment, my partner, our two dogs and I are living in a studio-style space. It’s basically one big room with our work desks, the lounge room, the bedroom, a kitchenette and an external bathroom. It’s not a lot of space and when we moved here earlier this year, we donated or sold a lot of things. Clothes, furniture, books, DVDs, our washing machine. Most of our kitchen appliances and dishes are away in storage for the future when we might have more space. And while it hasn’t all been easy and it can be frustrating at times, having less stuff has definitely meant less cleaning and organising - which has been really awesome!
LESS CLUTTER MEANS LESS OVERWHELM
I find it so much easier to relax and feel calm when I don’t have clutter around me. I like things to be organised and neat and I just feel happier when my space is mostly clutter-free. Especially because I work from home most days, less overwhelm is definitely important. I can concentrate better and feel less distracted and I generally feel more calm.
There’s something peaceful in knowing that the things in my home are here because they’re important and I thought carefully about whether they were necessary.
8 Minimalism Hacks
Now that we’ve explored some of the reasons why minimalism is important,
let’s dive into simple and meaningful ways you can implement minimalism into your life!
1: Get rid of duplicate items
Do you have 5 “favourite” coffee cups?
8 pairs of jeans (most of which you never wear)?
20 cookbooks, but you find nearly all your recipes on Google?
Many of us keep duplicate items, when we really only need a few of them. Have a look through your “collections” and sort them into your most favourite to least favourite. Then, you can consider selling or passing on (or even gifting, if the item is still in good condition!) your least favourite items.
2: Sort mail
I’ll be honest – snail mail isn’t usually my friend. I open up envelopes, glance over the contents, put the paper back in the envelope and leave it on a bench in my home. Over the next few days, my partner usually finds it, asks me what I want to do about it and then takes action for me!
I’m trying to change that.
I now have a folder for mail that I need to keep or take action on – otherwise, I try to recycle it straight away.
3: Meal prep
This is probably my favourite tip! Not only does preparing and planning meals help save money, it can also save time and reduce food waste.
Each week, I plan out three meals for my partner and I, then I go grocery shopping, come home and spend a few hours cooking everything. During the week, we just get a meal out of the fridge and heat it up for dinner.
I make bircher muesli each night before bed so it’s ready the next day and I eat chopped, raw vegetables (capsicum, celery, carrot, cucumber and snow peas) for lunch with guacamole and wafer biscuits.
Having a solid meal plan seriously saves so much time, reduces decision fatigue, hugely minimises food waste, saves money, reduces the number of shopping trips and cuts down the number of dishes we need to wash.
4: Delete apps
Is your phone a huge time-waster? Try deleting unnecessary apps.
It can be easy to get into the habit of picking up your phone and opening apps when you don’t need to. A simple way to combat this is to delete any apps you don’t really need.
Make your phone as minimal and organised as you can to reduce overwhelm and time-wasting.
5: Donate items you don’t need
This is a simple tip, but it can be really effective when you actually do it!
Try de-cluttering groups of items at a time (Marie Kondo style!), like clothing, books, kitchen items and DVDs.
6: Spend on experiences
Rather than spending any extra money you might have on “things”, try saving up for experiences. You could go to the movies with your partner, visit a winery with friends, go bungee-jumping, sign up for a workshop or class, book in for a massage, or go on a road trip.
Sometimes, we don’t have enough money for experiences because we’ve overspent on material things, but the experiences are often the more fulfilling choice!
7: Unsubscribe from emails that promote things
Promotional emails are often designed specifically to persuade you to purchase (and purchase quickly!).
LIMITED TIME SALE!
HURRY – NEW STOCK WON’T LAST LONG!
YOU’RE GOING TO MISS OUT!
These tactics are super effective and sometimes, you’ll be purchasing something you don’t really need before you know it.
A simple way to avoid this is to just unsubscribe from promotional emails.
8: Don’t keep clothes you feel uncomfortable in
Do you have a few items of clothing that you really like, but you never wear them because they just aren’t comfortable? Give yourself permission to donate or sell clothes so you can prioritise things you wear often and feel great in.
Not only does this create space in your wardrobe, there can be an emotional catharsis which comes with letting go of uncomfortable clothing.