Less is More: 7 Valuable Lessons From Living a Minimalist Lifestyle
It’s part of our human drive to want to improve our lives. In many ways, that’s a beautiful thing and it helps countless people live their dreams. The problem, though, is that many of us misinterpret what an improved life looks like.
We get swept up in the rat race of counting our net worth and “keeping up with the Joneses.” That’s a recipe for a life that looks better but is actually filled with stress and complication.
In recent years, the minimalist movement has been growing as an answer to this problem. Followers of this movement take a different path to self-improvement. They purge their lives of everything unnecessary, like excess possessions. Keeping their material life minimal allows them to fill their energy, time, and space with the people and activities that make them happy instead.
If you’re considering a minimalist lifestyle, here are some lessons to take with you:
What We Learned from Living a Minimalist Lifestyle
Minimalisms isn’t just about the end result of a de-cluttered life: it’s about what you learn along the way as well. Here’s what we’ve learned from our journey:
1. Starting With the Digital World Can Make the Most Difference
Social media started out as a way to socialize online and to keep in touch with family and friends. Unfortunately, for some people, it’s become an epicenter of stress and materialism.
Digital de-cluttering means uninstalling all those apps you don’t really need and keeping away from any unnecessary sites. While most people think of minimalism as it relates to material items, digital minimalism can be an important first step.
Many people fall prey to scrolling through social media and comparing themselves to every person’s posts. Not only does this take up valuable time and build stress, but it also makes you say, “I want my kitchen to look like that” or “I want that car too.”
Cutting out social media or cutting back on it pack twice the punch when you’re trying to initiate a minimalist lifestyle. It clears that mental clutter and frees up time you waste online, but it also makes a material minimalism easier because you’re no longer comparing yourself to everyone on social media.
2. Sometimes You Need Fewer Tools to Be More Productive
If you have a cluttered home, it’s doubtful that you went on a giant shopping spree all at once. Most of us are on an ongoing track in which we keep looking for tools to make our tasks easier. That’s how you end of with three mops, four computers or similar devices, and seven shelves of books you’ve never read.
Sometimes the key to being more productive is fewer tools, not more. When your surroundings are cluttered, so is your mind. It’s easy to get distracted by all the items in the room. And yet, if you look around, when is the last time you actually used them?
If you’re new to minimalism, try starting with the room where you spend most of your time. Take note of how much more productive and low-stress you are when you’re in this room and think about what life would be like if that were true in every room of your house.
3. You’ll Use the Space Either Way
People are like liquids: we’ll expand to fill whatever space we have. Some people say, “If I have plenty of space, I might as well fill it with stuff I want.”
If you minimize and clear out all those unnecessary items, trust us, you’ll still use the space. You’ll just find different ways to use it, like playing games with your family or practicing yoga at home. The space won’t go to waste; you’ll just use it for your enjoyment rather than for storage.
4. Creativity Breeds Creativity
One of the biggest culprits of clutter is the one-use tool: an item that serves one purpose. Your kitchen may have an avocado peeler, an apple corer, an egg slicer, and more.
With a minimalist lifestyle, you get rid of all these unnecessary tools and instead use a few items to do a variety of tasks. All of those tools above can be replaced with a simple knife.
As an added bonus, when you’re using creativity to complete your tasks rather than buying a new tool for every job, you’ll exercise your creativity. Creativity is one of those skills that grows the more you use it, so you may be surprised how many other tasks you excel at when you’re building your creativity on a daily basis.
5. Your Health Will Thank You
Minimalism isn’t just about saving money and clearing up space. It has real health benefits as well.
On top of less dust and less stress, you’ll have more time to focus on your health. A lack of time is one of the biggest reasons people struggle to lose weight. When you have the time to work out and the space to get active, imagine how much more easily you can hit that goal weight.
6. De-Cluttering Your Schedule is Essential
Remember that minimalism is about more than de-cluttering your physical space. One of the most important parts of a minimalist lifestyle is simplifying your schedule as well.
Take a close look at your schedule and think about how many of those items are more of a stress than an enjoyment. If they’re not truly necessary, cut them out and spend your time with your family instead. As an added bonus, many people find that they can spend less time at work when they aren’t constantly spending money on things they don’t need.
7. Embrace the Simple Joys
Our world is so full of simple pleasures, but most of us miss them when we have our heads buried in our phones. As you minimize, one of the greatest benefits is rediscovering the joys that are already around you.
For instance, let’s say you’re in the need for a mood-booster. Instead of going on a spending spree, smile. The act of smiling has been shown to boost your mood, and it doesn’t take up any space or cost a cent.
Starting Your Minimalist Journey
People spend their entire lives chasing happiness, but sometimes the greatest joys are those we run over without looking. The lessons above are all reasons to give a minimalist lifestyle a try.
Remember, it’s a big change. Start small and simplify your life one piece at a time. If you stumble and go back to your old ways, don’t beat yourself up. Just keep trying and give yourself time to enjoy the benefits.
For more self-improvement tips, check out our personal fulfillment blog.