5 Steps To Becoming a Minimalist & 3 Reasons to Become One

Today we have a guest post on the blog–our very first!  Written by The Suburban Blonde and inspired by her recent quest to simplify life and live it to the fullest without all the “stuff,” she breaks down how and why to be a minimalist.  {Side note: The Suburban Blonde is my sister.. ;)}

*This post contains affiliate links.  The Rural Redhead may receive a teeny-tiny amount of compensation if you purchase these items.

Minimalist

 

5 Steps To Becoming a Minimalist and 3 Reasons to Become One

Very recently, I began identifying myself as a minimalist.  And now that I have learned so much about what it means to be a minimalist, I realize that I have actually been one all my life. Today I want to share with you the five steps that I took recently to really dive into the lifestyle, as well as my three reasons I choose to live this way.

5 Steps toward Becoming a Minimalist:

1. De-clutter.

Throw away and donate things you don’t use. This part was the most fun for me. I hate throwing things out and contributing to landfills but 1.) It’s a necessary step in this process; 2.) A lot of materials can be recycled; and 3.) Most items can be donated anyway.

There are a lot of different methods out there on how to get through your entire house, but what worked for us was tackling one space at a time. We started with the closets in the spare bedrooms and the basement because those were areas where we knew stuff went to die. Then I moved onto my closet and dresser. (And I repeated this step about 3 months later once I discovered even more clothes I wasn’t wearing- keeping seasonal wardrobe in mind, of course). Then I tackled the kitchen. I found three rolls of plastic wrap in our pantry. And two of them were opened- one of my biggest pet peeves. (I was actually able to get rid of a roll by giving it to my cousin when she was over on New Year’s Eve. Literally every person left my house with something that night!). The last areas I cleaned out were our bathroom cabinets.  I found a lot of empty bottles. Once again, this stuff felt amazing to throw out.  And this doesn’t have to stop in your home.  If you work in an office, think about your cubicle or work space. Or your garage, shed, car, etc…

2. Organize what you have.

Cabinets. Make everything visible and put your dishes in places that make sense for the natural flow of their use.  It may seem strange to move items that have been stored in a certain place for years, but your life will be so much easier if your coffee is in the cabinet directly above the coffee maker.

Closets. Color coordinate. This will save you so much time in the morning.

Drawers. There are strategies to store clothing so that every item can be seen.  This is still on my list of things to do because I know darn well I am not wearing everything in my drawers, for that very reason.

Storage. Obviously some items will only be used seasonally- holiday decor and even clothing. So what works best for us is to group our holiday decor together on shelves in the basement. My husband took the time to build three storage shelves against the walls of our basement to help organize and get things off the ground.  This was an enormous help. And someday I might get some clear containers for easier visibility of everything. We keep our heavy winter coats in a spare bedroom closet, but if our bedrooms get filled with kids someday, those could easily be moved to a rack in the basement.

3. Stop making impulse purchases.

I now think about every purchase that I make.  I don’t window shop and I make a list of what I need before I go. (I do this partly because I also hate shopping, so I suppose this step is easy for me). But I also try not to settle.  If I have my heart set on something and I can’t find quite what I am looking for, I don’t just buy the next closest thing.

Lastly, a great piece of advice I once read is to ask yourself “does this item have a purpose in my life?”

4. Purchase higher- quality, classic items, even if it means spending more.

I am now willing to spend more money on a durable item that I know will last instead of buying cheap items that will just need replaced. I have finally learned this over the years, specifically with shoes and clothing.  I have a pair of boots that I spent maybe $70 on four or five years ago. They are still in great condition and I get compliments on them to this day.  Well worth the investment. I used to spend $20-25 on a pair of shoes that would fall apart within a year or two and just need replaced. And it was a cycle. I also try to purchase basic clothing pieces in a classic style. This way, in a year or two, I won’t get tired of their outdated, trendy style, and stop wearing them.  I do this with jeans, blazers, coats, jackets, shoes and boots. I really wanted a ripped up pair of jeans with holes all down the front, but I’m so glad I purchased a pair that I love with no holes. This way, I can get more use out of them by wearing them to work when allowed, and I won’t “outgrow”them in a couple of years.

5. Take care of your belongings.

Lastly, it is so important to keep all of your possessions clean and maintained so that they will last longer. It would have been pointless for us to get new carpet a few years ago if we didn’t vacuum it once or twice a week and shampoo it at least once a year. And I have to give my husband credit on this one with regards to our vehicles and our boat.  He goes above and beyond to keep them clean and maintained so they will last us for years. He even polishes his shoes, which I really need to make a habit of doing myself.

I should note that I am by no means perfect with my adherence to the above steps that I listed.  I always say that, yes, on occasion, I will be a total hypocrite.  But I have a good foundation of the lifestyle, which allows me to feel justified and have less guilt when I stray from the path.

3 Reasons to Become a Minimalist:

1. You will save time.

I don’t have to spend time searching for stuff because everything has its own place and is not hidden behind unused clutter. I also don’t have to spend as much time cleaning my home because I basically keep it in a clutter- free state.

In addition to this, it also allows me to be more efficient in getting things done because I can think so much more clearly and am so much more productive when I am in a clean space.

2. You will save money.

I stopped buying useless items I don’t really need. And by spending more upfront on higher quality items, they will last longer and my money will go farther.

I truly don’t think people understand how brainwashed society has us into thinking we need more stuff- even the latest, greatest model of everything that we already have.

And for me, learning about the minimalism lifestyle has really opened my eyes to this and has been one of the biggest benefits. I have never really conformed to society in this way- never cared about designer labels and material items- but now my beliefs are really solidified and I consider them to be a part of my identity. I could go on and on about this, but I will spare you.

3. You will feel more joy.

Because I am spending so much less time shopping and cleaning and searching for things, it allows me more time to focus on things that I really enjoy.  And during this time of year, that can be as simple as cuddling on the couch with my husband and dogs watching TV.

But to prove my point to those really trying to improve their lives, I also spend time cooking healthy, whole-food meals with my husband, walking and playing with my dogs, making improvements to our house, and having fun adventures with my husband and family.

The above details are just my take on minimalism.  There was plenty left unsaid.  And I also threw in details that have more to do with cleanliness than minimalism, but it all kind of ties together with my lifestyle.

Ultimately, the purpose of a minimalist lifestyle is to enrich your life by focusing on the things that truly matter- love, relationships, health, passion, purpose, fun and laughter.

Because no amount of money or material goods can replace those things.

If you’re interested in learning more about minimalism, this documentary is what inspired me to really explore and adopt the minimalist lifestyle.  The documentary makers also wrote several books on the lifestyle that you can purchase on Amazon.

Have you adopted minimalism as part of your lifestyle?  I’d love to hear how it has changed your life, and what motivated you to become a minimalist!

You can also check out @thesuburbanblonde on Instagram for more inspiration!