Minimalism For Beginners: A Practical Guide To A Simple Life

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In this post we are going to cover the overall concept around minimalist living, and the benefits that accompany it.

Within this minimalism for beginners guide we will share the core principles that make up this lifestyle, as well as a practical 3 step process to help you along the simple living path.

If you’re ready to experience more freedom, peace and simplicity in your life, then this post is for you!

Let’s get started..

Minimalism For Beginners

So, what does it take to be a minimalist? Where is a good place to start? And how long does it take to become a minimalist?

The short answer, it’s more than likely going to look a bit different for everyone. 

While many ‘minimalism for beginners' articles focus heavily on the decluttering aspect, we have found that to be only a small portion of this lifestyle.

Minimalism is not just about living with less, but living with what matters.

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Over the years I have learned minimalism is more about the way you approach, view, and choose to live your life. For me it was a shift in perspective, and a complete reordering of my priorities.

Minimalism helped me uncover & eliminate several mindless and destructive habits I had within my life. It also revealed a path to the freedom, clarity and contentment I was seeking. 

What are the rules of minimalism?

While there are no official ‘rules’ when it comes to minimalism, there are a few guiding principles that influence the way this lifestyle is practiced, which we will cover later. 

The official definition of minimalism according to Webster is; a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.

However, when defined as a lifestyle, it can encompass many variations and adaptations. 

For a list of minimalist living examples, refer to our Minimalist Handbook where we provide a compilation of the many ways minimalism is practiced.

Overall, a basic understanding of how minimalism is lived can be refined to three core principles: Moderation, Efficiency,and Intention

minimalist living examples

Minimalist Principles

The way minimalism is practiced has a lot to do with how we prioritize and view what actually matters in life. It’s about getting to the root cause of why we feel scattered, distracted, stressed and unsatisfied. 

When we do get to the root, we soon realize the ‘things’ we were previously engaging in (and accumulating) were simply not filling the void in our life as we had hoped.

With this insight, we can begin to make the changes needed to pursue a simple and more fulfilling life. 

Minimalists typically use 3 guiding principles to achieve this: Moderation, Efficiency, and Intention.

Moderation 

Moderation is about avoiding excess and extremes. It’s a practice by which we can create balance, simplicity and discipline in life.

When we practice moderation, we become aware of the waste and unnecessary excess around us. We also gain a newfound appreciation for all that we do have.

Practicing moderation is not about living with the bare minimum, but instead being reasonable about what you truly need and what things are just 'extras'. 

Living life with moderation in mind helps us see through the clutter, get clear on what really matters, and focus more on the things that hold true value in life. 

Efficiency

Efficiency is the process of limiting, or avoiding, waste and excess. It is also a means to achieving the maximum output from the minimum amount of effort.

This concept is occasionally referred to as the ‘minimum effective dose’, or the idea of working ‘smarter not harder’. 

When we put a focus on efficiency, we find ways to streamline, systematize, and/or simplify the habits and routines in our life. In addition, we begin to be more effective with our living and storage space as well.

The main objective here is to free up as much of our precious time, mental energy, focus, and even physical space as possible, in order to create room for more life.

Intention 

Living with intention means living life with direction, clarity and purpose. It’s about focusing yourself towards a worthy goal or objective, defining your values, and living by them. 

Living this principle is also about making an effort to be more intentional not just with our time, focus, energy, but also with the items we bring into, and keep, in our lives. 

When we live with intention, we stop allowing ourselves to get swept away by whatever seems pressing and urgent at the moment. We instead have a clear set of values, create a plan of action, and stick to it.

Overall, we have found these 3 principles to be foundational. These are meant to act as a guide in how you practice minimalism, as well as how you approach your habits.  

So understanding this, how do you take these principles, put them into action, and actually start living a simple minimalist lifestyle?

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How do I start a minimalist life?

Living a minimalist life starts with having a basic understanding of the principles listed above, and then building them into your life. 

This is a 3 step process that will help set you on the path towards simplicity.

The 3 Steps covered below are: Shifting Your Mindset, Learning To Let Go, and Curating Your Life.

1. Shifting Your Mindset

Shifting your mindset is going to be the first step.

When you start to think more like a minimalist, you will naturally begin to declutter, clean up, and eliminate the things that no longer hold value or meaning to you.

This is also where you can truly begin to embody the concept of moderation, and start to view life with the ‘less is more’ mentality. 

To assist you in your mindset shift, we have a few resources listed below for you to explore.

While they don’t necessarily provide a ‘becoming a minimalist checklist’ they will get you pointed in the right direction.

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2. Learning To Let Go

The next step in the process is learning to let go. 

Letting go is not just limited to physical items, but anything in life that holds you back. 

Things such as negative thought patterns, consumer culture, overextending yourself, fruitless habits, or even the overuse of tech/social media.

Consider the minimalist practice of efficiency in this step. 

As you let go of the excess, cluttered schedules, time wasters and energy drainers, you can begin to streamline & optimize what’s most important.

To further understand the process of letting go, as well as explore some minimalist tips for decluttering, we have selected a few resources to get you started…

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3. Curating Your Life

The final step is to actually curate your life, and all the things within it. Applying the minimalist principle of intention is going to be key to making this happen.

Creating a simple and meaningful life won’t happen by accident. It happens when you decide what is important and start moving towards it.

It is when you become clear and aware of your values, as well as your mindless habits, and resolve to live as the most authentic version of you.

To help you along the process of curating life, here are some additional resources to get you started…

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In this post we are going to define what it means to be a conscious consumer, as well as the benefits gained from becoming one.

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Final Thoughts

Although this was written as a minimalism for beginners guide, it can apply to anyone looking for inspiration and direction.

When pursuing a minimalist lifestyle it’s less about the specific number of items you have, but more so the mindset, awareness and intention you bring to the practice itself.

While living more ‘minimalistic’ will look slightly different for each person, in the end it’s about the peace, freedom and control you gain over your life in the process. 

What about you?

Which minimalist principle do you need to put more focus on? 

Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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