Living a minimalist lifestyle does not have to be for everyone, but when you live in a chaotic world, many of us have a need to get away from it all — longing for less, needing less and doing less.
The goal of minimalism is not depriving yourself of everything, but choosing selectively and carefully what enters your space. Popular Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo even has her own show on Netflix on ways to declutter your life.
Living a minimal lifestyle is more than just cleaning out the belongings in your life; it often means curating your space to items you love. It’s important to note that there’s not one way to lead a minimal life because it’s about curating and forming your ideal life in the way you see it to fulfill happiness.
Spending less, doing more
Embracing minimalism does not mean to stop spending money, but instead spending it on other things that shift your focus from making money to enjoying your life. Prioritize your spending and start a budget. This means setting aside money for your bills and limiting the need for things like buying too much fast food each week or shopping. Instead, begin investing and spending on things that maximize your lifelong term, be that purchasing a house, traveling or getting out of debt.
The digital age will always continue to rise. We live in a noisy world where everyone around us is always connected. Technology is always in our faces because our world relies on this for entertainment, work, creating, staying up-to-date on news, etc.
In Cal Newport’s book “Digital Minimalism,” he writes about how people struggle to step away from their devices and how they are missing out on activities that are “crucial to a flourishing, functional human life.”
Use your smartphone as a tool and not the other way around. Newport recommends a “digital detox” by stepping away from social media and apps for 30 days.
“Get back in touch with what you really care about, what you want to spend your time on, and when you’re done with the 30 days, rebuild that digital life from scratch — but do it this time with real intention,” Newport said.
Start by deleting apps you don’t need. You don’t have to delete your accounts, but only use it when you’re on a device other than your smartphone.
When I first started my digital detox, I deleted all my social media, news and entertainment apps off of my phone and now access them through a web browser. This practice allows me to spend less time on my phone and focus more on what’s in front of me. Since the start of my digital detox in January, I’ve been more productive at work, have been creating better art, maintaining a better relationship with my family and friends and doing more activities.
After the digital detox, return to social media and bring back purpose into your content — create more, follow more inspiring people and scroll through social media for a limited time.
Kondo’s method is not tied to minimalism, but she does encourage “living among items you truly cherish.” To organize your home, follow the KonMari method:
Discard by category: Clothes, books, mementos, old paperwork, etc.
Only keep things that spark joy: Go through all of your belongings and get rid of items that don’t serve a purpose in your life.
Organize your space: This step helps you take back control in your life and decide where to store items.
Spend time alone
Going back to Newport’s “Digital Minimalism," he references another book written by Raymond Kethledge, a federal judge serving on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and Michael Erwin, a former Army officer who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Kethledge and Erwin’s book, "Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude," discussed the topic of solitude — the importance of being alone with your thoughts. Many people mistakenly associate solitude with physical separation and isolation — that you need to travel hundreds or thousands of miles away from other people. Kethledge and Erwin explain solitude is about what’s happening in your brain and not the environment around you. You can experience solitude in a coffee shop or even in your own backyard as long as you don’t allow input from other minds to intrude your thoughts. There are benefits to doing things by yourself because it allows you to enjoy activities you love at your own pace. Through solitude, you learn more about yourself and reflect on your experience to grow as a person.