Living like a minimalist | 8 practical tips for implementation

Minimalism means having less, but dealing with it with more awareness. Making do with less and doing so with all the more appreciation. This can shed light onto what really makes us happy. 

However, especially in a time when consumerism reigns supreme, the thought of living a minimalist life is a restriction for many. Questions quickly arise like: Okay, and what do I have to do without? And what is the point? But above all, where and how should I start? Often, when making such decisions to fundamentally change areas of your life, you feel overwhelmed at first. 

Written by Ana K., Dec 15, 2021

Living minimalism with these tips for beginners

 This guide is meant to help you take the first steps towards minimalism. With these tips you will find your focus in everyday life again. It is not about becoming the perfect minimalist. Small, steady changes are always more sustainable than the thought of having to make big cuts. You can already implement the following points with little effort.

1. minimalism as a mindset

It's all about mindset. Learn to associate the separation of things not with loss but with enrichment. I see minimalism as a mindset. It is not about losing things and living at the limit, but rather about creating valuable space. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Which areas or subjects do you want to give more space to in your life?
  • And on the flipside of the coin, what do you want to get rid of?
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The best thing is to put these thoughts down on paper. This alone will help you to get rid of ballast. Ballast through heavy thoughts. Focus your thoughts on those aspects that you want to give more space in your life. Visualise your new everyday life. Maybe you want to create more space for creativity and learn to play an instrument? Or make time for a yoga session? Ask yourself what time-consuming activities can you get rid of to make more time for yourself. Maybe your time in front of the TV will be shorter, and in return you will gain a new hobby and learn to express your skills in a new way.

2. Make a plan

One of the principles of the minimalist lifestyle is reducing to the essentials. The idea is to learn to be mindful with things. Often we are confronted with all kinds of things and clutter every day, this is also reflected in our thoughts and weighs us down. Often this happens subconsciously. Determine which visible areas in your home need to be sorted out most urgently. What is currently bothering you the most? I like to make a list and prioritise the to-dos to gain clarity. This provides structure and security, especially when changes are imminent.

You can start clearing out immediately. Create a sense of achievement by starting small and tackling the drawer or chest of drawers that are already a daily thorn in your side. Reward yourself for this first successful step, creating a positive connection. Remember that you don't have to be perfect, you don't need special utensils or preparation. The mindset of living more minimally starts in the mind alone.

3. Digital Decluttering

Next, think about your mobile phone, laptop and other devices. They are often just as much the source of a build-up of clutter. Even if they don't take up physical space, we are confronted with them every day. Reduce the interface on your smartphone and laptop, delete apps you haven't opened in ages and go through your contact list and friends list on social media. Then back up your devices and update them regularly. Short breaks in your day or evenings on the couch can also be used to regularly delete pictures and videos from your phone.

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4. Sort out your wardrobe

Parting with clothes is a big challenge for many people. Free yourself from the thought of losing something and remember that you are creating space. Even clothes that we keep but don't wear take energy away. They make it difficult for us to decide what to wear and often lead to frustration. Ask yourself the following questions when sorting out:

  • How does this piece of clothing make me feel?
  • How long has it been unworn and why?
  • Can I combine this garment with other items in my wardrobe?

The answers to these questions should help you sort out the items. Divide the discarded items directly into "give away" and "sell". What you don't wear can bring joy to others, thus bringing something very positive.

5. Turn off notifications on your mobile phone

It is often difficult to focus on the essentials simply because we have forgotten how to block out the unimportant. Every few minutes, new push notifications arrive on our mobile phone or smartwatch. Every check, even brief ones, breaks our concentration again and again. According to studies, it takes 20 minutes (!) after each distraction to get back into the flow. Deactivate the push notifications of your apps and instead consciously take time to read messages all at once.

6. switch off CONSCIOUSLY 

Allow yourself time alone. In the hustle of everyday life, full of sensory overload, down-time is especially valuable. It's best to plan your me-time. It can be a walk or a reading session. How about just doing nothing, really nothing? How does that even work, some may ask. Either you create small routines every day or take 1-2 hours a week. There are no rules, as long as it's fun ;-)

7. make fewer decisions - for more focus

Every decision we make every day costs energy. It doesn't matter whether we stand in front of our wardrobe and choose our outfit or distribute tasks in a project. With every decision, our ability to focus also dwindles. So prepare your outfit for the next day the night before and cook for two days ahead. This leaves more energy for important decisions in the here and now.

8. leave your phone turned off

Is your very first glance in the morning is the mobile phone screen? Get an alarm clock and designate the bedroom as a mobile-free zone. Notifications and reading the daily news right after waking up undoubtedly cause stress. Instead, take the first 5 minutes of the morning and practice gratitude. Breathing exercises or a gratitude journal are also a reflective approach to start the day.

Tip: Our body dehydrates at night, so a glass of water with lemon, for example, is the first thing you should have in the morning. Set yourself a goal for the day and only then take a look at your notifications. After 3 days at the latest, you will notice a difference in your mood in the morning.

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Last but not least, stick to the plan. The change to minimalism does not happen overnight, but takes shape in the long term through our daily habits and beliefs. Find a path that brings you personal joy. Be aware of how liberating it is to get rid of things and appreciate the time you have gained.