Blog, Minimalism

First steps in minimalism-consciously choosing to decrease your possessions

Want to decrease your possessions and become a minimalist? Here’s the answers to a few questions.

Where do I start? What do I have to do to be a minimalist?

That’s what I wondered as I started to read my first book on simplicity. (Leo Babauta’s The Power of Less, in case you’re wondering).

That’s what I wondered, even after streamlining a lot of possessions.

That’s what I wondered, as I went through a year of buying nothing.

That’s what I wondered, as I learned more about myself and changed my view of the world.

Am I a proper minimalist yet? Have I ‘made it’?

First, define your minimalist

A minimalist isn’t just one specific type of person. It’s not just owning 20 items and living in a tent. Minimalism is a process to give the things that you own more meaning. More meaning to you. It’s 100% personal. Minimalism is a way to clear out unwanted and distracting rubbish from your life, giving you time, energy and space to focus on the good stuff.
By getting rid of unwanted clutter, you allow yourself space to appreciate a few beautiful possessions.
By getting rid of stressful situations, you allow yourself to experience the world in technicolour.
By reducing distractions, you allow yourself more time to pursue the things that make you happy.

Keep the things you truly love. Decrease the rest.

This is my journey

In the words of my favourite 90’s boyband, this is my journey. A journey into minimalism is personal to you. You make your own definitions, ever evolving as you learn and experience more. Minimalism has no rules. To decide to jettison your unwanted ‘stuff’ is a big decision. But sometimes it’s the easiest decision. It’s right. It’s what you need to do. You deserve clarity.

So, you want to be a minimalist

Congratulations! You are a minimalist! What did you do?

decrease your possessions clearing cloudsJust by choosing to reduce your unwanted clutter, you already are a minimalist. How you use it in your life is entirely up to you. As I’ve discovered, there are no criteria. No minimalism test. No rule that unless you’ve donated 500 items to charity, you can’t call yourself a minimalist. No siree.

By knowing you’re already a minimalist, it’s somehow easier to begin your journey. Just think this line…what would a minimalist do? What would my minimalist self do? Then do that. That’s it. Easy, right? Well, kinda.

Everyone has a different experience in decluttering. Some people find it hard to throw out the first couple of items, but then it becomes easier. Some people have the opposite experience, beginning to rationalise keeping items as they go on. It’s hard to beak those ties. I found it easy to jettison possessions at first. Months later, I started to crave consumption again. As I said, it’s a journey. We’re all learning, all the time.

Buddy up to decrease your possessions

A sure way to declutter your home is to enlist a friend. They have no emotional ties to physical items. Ask them to help you box it up. Grab a few friends, even. Pack it all away.

The Minimalists have an awesome ‘packing party’ article. Check it out here. Ryan and Joshua’s 21-day guide to minimalism is something worth reading for sure.

Of course, you don’t have to get rid of all your possessions at once, or even get rid of all your possessions. Question what you truly need. You can slowly reduce your physical items a bit at a time, experimenting with how it affects your life. Discover extra space. Enjoy free time. Reduce your dependency on money.

Minimalism: your new friend with benefits

What does it mean to consciously decrease your possessions? How about choosing to have control over your spending? Choosing to step away from advertising and the consumer cycle. decrease your possessions scenicTo be more mindful of your choices and to know your own mind. Do give yourself space to focus on what you really want to do in your life. To allow yourself to appreciate a few, beautiful items. To really ‘see’ a beautiful piece of art, to give yourself more time to create, to really listen to your favourite album, to spend time in nature. Giving yourself a choice about how, where and when you work. To drive your own life and make your own choices, to learn, to de-stress, to immerse yourself.

You’re already on the path. Minimalism is a powerful movement. We look from outside the consumer cycle, with understanding. We allow ourselves to enjoy the things we love. We aren’t slaves to consumerism. If we want to buy an item, we can. We know that if we purchase something, it’s something we really love, or truly need.

You want to be a minimalist? Make that choice. Choose to call yourself a minimalist. As soon as you choose that, you’ve made it. No pressure, no criteria. Read, learn, do, love.

Read More:

How to make your friends into Minimalists

What does a minimalist do?

A Minimalist ode to shoes

How to have a proper clear out

Buying for the sake of buying

OneEmptyWallet Round 2: why I’m repeating my year of buying nothing in 2015

Share your journey in the comments or on Twitter @oneemptyshelf-what made you decide to become more minimal?Ā 

1 thought on “First steps in minimalism-consciously choosing to decrease your possessions

  1. I love this – I’ve definitely downsized my life a lot over the past few years but have been feeling the “stuff creep” since I moved myself cross country and bought an RV to live in, and had to buy some stuff so I could replace what I had gotten rid of back in Boston. (I moved myself and my animals in my car and only mailed about 3-4 boxes of stuff. The rest, buh-bye.)

    An online friend who I met in person saw my new setup, and I could tell he didn’t think I was very minimalist anymore, so that got me to thinking that indeed, I do have too much stuff again. But I like your idea of choosing your own description of what it is to be a minimalist – what YOU choose to have/not have, not what someone else says. I’m going to remind myself of that, often. šŸ™‚

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