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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
The Subtle Art Of Downshifting Life (5 Surprising Benefits)
In this post we are going to explain what it means to downshift life, and the subtle ways you can begin doing so.
Here we’ll explore several reasons one may opt to downshift, and 5 surprising benefits that come as a result.Read More
Want To Achieve Work-life Balance? Try This Proven Approach
In this post we are going to cover the definition of work-life balance, as well as what it sets out to address.
Here you will learn not only the benefits that work-life balance has to offer, but also what this concept misses.Read More
3 Simple Ways To Embrace Minimalism And Find Contentment
In this post we are going to explain what minimalism is, and some ways you can incorporate it into your life.
We will cover the benefits of minimalism, along with tips for adopting a minimalist mindset.Read More
Living In A Simple Life: Our 4 Stage Journey To Freedom
In this post, we’re going to detail our journey from clutter and chaos to a life of simplicity.
We also provide the 4 stage framework that moved us towards living in a simple life.Read More
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…
Unplug Technology: Learn How To Disconnect & Restore Your Life
In this post we are going to explain what it means to unplug from technology and why it’s important.
Here you will learn practical tips for disconnecting, as well as ways to reset your mind and bring more purpose & joy to your life.Read More
The Ultimate Guide To An Organized Life (40+ Tools & Tips)
If you’re looking for a complete guide to organizing your home & life, you’re in the right place.
We’ve curated more than 40 resources to help you organize each area of your life.Read More
5 Things To Let Go Of Now: Focus On What Really Matters
In this post we are going to cover 5 things to let go of in order to create space for what truly matters in life.
Here you will learn not only the benefits of letting go, but also how each of these things holds you back.Read More
40+ Ways To Finally Declutter Your Life [The Ultimate Guide]
If you’re looking for a complete guide to decluttering, you’re in the right place.
We’ve curated more than 40 resources to help you declutter each area of your life.Read More
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…
These 4 Fundamentals Are Key To Living Your Best Life
In this post we’re going to cover the 4 Foundational Principles for living your best life.
Using these principles, you’ll be able to flourish throughout all of life’s seasons.Read More
How To Gain Both Comfort & Luxury Being A Conscious Consumer
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.
Here you will learn the basic habits of a conscious consumer, as well as how this concept relates to minimalism and consumerism.Read More
5 Signs You’re Escaping From Life (And A Reliable Solution)
When daily stresses add up, life can start to feel out of balance and chaotic. We may notice we lose our sense of peace, presence and contentment.
In this post we are also going to shed some light on the causes of this – and share a few helpful tips to shift this mindset.Read More
Restore The 7 Key Elements You Need For Living a Simple Life
In this post, we’re going to explain what it means to live a simple life and how to achieve it.
We’ve found that there are 7 key areas that, when brought into balance, simplify life overall.Read More
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!