minimalist lifestyle: searching for happiness through life experiences rather than materialistic items
Never did I imagine 2018 to be the year that I transitioned to the minimalist lifestyle. This new lifestyle is going to be a big change.
Big but good.
Minimalism doesn’t mean you can’t have material items. It doesn’t mean you only have a certain amount of things. See it more as a sense of freedom. A new way of achieving your goals.
This is the very first step I am taking to the minimalist lifestyle. Below are 5 steps I took that can help you take your first step as well.
Step 1: Define your values
At the beginning of the year, I wrote down some big commitments I wanted to make this year. I wanted to see change and I wanted to monitor it. 2018 contains a big financial commitment which is to follow a very detailed payment plan for all my debt resulting in becoming debt free the year of 2020 (assuming nothing has changed). Minimalist lifestyle seemed to be perfect for reaching my goals.
Make sure that before you commit, you write down values and goals that are important to you. This will help you decide if the minimalist lifestyle is suitable for you.
Step 2: Make a budget
Assuming the lifestyle is suitable for you, the next step is to make a budget. The good thing about the minimalist lifestyle is that you are finding value in experiences and not materials. If the lifestyle is being done correctly, you will find that even though you have less material items, you are gaining more in experiences and relationships. That means you will be able to save more money!
I’ve always ignored my finances because it just gives me a headache. However, now that I am getting older and have a full time job out of college I find that I can’t ignore my finances. Everyone needs to save for their future whether it be a family, a home, or retirement. With spending less on materials, you will find more in your pocket. Create a budget on how you would like to direct those funds. Pay off more of your debt so you can be finished earlier. Invest. Save. Make a budget that fits your goals and values.
Step 3: Take action
Set some time aside and take initiative to the minimalist lifestyle! Create your capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a handful of items that you can always go to. They should be easy to style and almost transferable to any season. (I read somewhere that the number can range from as low as 20 items to 40. I’m not sure what the correct number is but start somewhere with 40 items – clothes and shoes. This is not including pajamas and work out clothes). Grab a trash bag and go through your closet. Toss anything you have not worn that month into the trash bag. This goes for shoes and clothes. No second thoughts. Just do it.
If you find yourself with more than ~40 items remaining, go through them again. This time shorten the time period to two weeks. Once you are done with your closet go through the clothes you’ve put away for the season. Make your way through your storage. You may be losing items, but you’re giving more by donating – bonus points for good karma!
Step 4: Don’t rush the process
If you are anything like me and like to see change NOW I’ve got some news for you: take your time. Don’t rush the process because you may end up more stressed out. This lifestyle will take some adjusting but shouldn’t be causing you stress.
Tying in with step 3 and creating your capsule wardrobe, only do as you are comfortable. Lucky for me I didn’t have a lot of items to begin with since I had just cleaned out for the winter season. If you find yourself with a lot of material items set some time aside in your calendar and do by sections, one at a time.
This goes for buying as well. Don’t break your budget and go buying all your staple items for your capsule wardrobe. A lifestyle change happens over time. Breathe. Your staples will pop out to you. Don’t go looking for them, just let them come to you.
Step 5: Commit
I truly see the benefits from living this new lifestyle. Commit to it. Remember your values you wrote down in step 1. Display it if you need to. Give this lifestyle a try for at least six months and then re-evaluate your progress and values.
Don’t forget one of the most important pieces of this lifestyle: find value in experiences not materials. While you are adapting to this new lifestyle don’t forget to find value in experiences. Make a list of experiences you are yearning for and cross them off your list as you gain more freedom from less materialistic items.