Becoming a minimalist was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Since transitioning to a simpler lifestyle, I've never felt more free—it's liberating to eliminate the non-essentials and focus on what truly adds value to my life, be it things, people or experiences.
Except for the rare impulse purchases I make, I was lucky enough not to encounter a ton of speed bumps in my journey. Unfortunately, that might not be the case for other people. There are those who have a hard time letting go, some are in denial that what they need is more storage space, while others just don't know where to start.
Downsizing your life is not always simple, but believe it or not, it is possible. Minimalism is an endless process—it involves moving forward, sliding back a mile, and restarting until you learn to lean into it consistently. Start taking steps to the right direction with these tips:
1. Set priorities.
When you have a clear understanding of what’s important to you, it will be much easier to begin the process of minimizing. Knowing your priorities helps you understand the benefits of making room in your life for only the good things. Without this kind of understanding, you might not feel comfortable with getting rid of unimportant things you’ve grown used to and end up keeping a lot more things for sentimental value.
2. "Does it spark joy?"
Just like every other 21st century minimalist, my journey started when I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo a few years back. While I didn't strictly follow each step she mentions in the book (i.e I didn't thank every item I discarded or fold my clothes vertically), she is right about this one. You want to fill your life with items that bring you happiness so it is essential to ask yourself if an item sparks joy while you are decluttering.
3. Stop counting.
Minimalism is personal. There are some minimalists who like to limit the items that they own to a certain number—for me, however, that isn't realistic. I believe that if an item serves a meaningful purpose in your life and it genuinely makes you happy, you should keep it.
4. "Does this help me live a more minimalistic life?"
This is a good guide question for future purchases! If you are able to do this with complete honesty, your buying habits will greatly change. Another thing I like to do when shopping is asking myself if the item I'm buying will improve a specific aspect of my life (i.e Is this white shirt better than the one I have?) and if the answer is yes, feel free to head straight to the cashier.
5. If you want to live light, let it go.
Minimalism doesn't exclusively apply to tangible things—it applies to thoughts and feelings, too. Even if you get rid of all your possessions but you still have a lot of mental clutter, your journey will be pointless. Consider practicing meditation or keeping a journal at hand. Sometimes, seeing your thoughts written down on paper can help you maintain mental clarity.
6. Don't stop decluttering.
Regardless of how you go about your minimalism journey, I find that stuff can always find its way back to you. At least twice a year, I like to go through my things just to see if there are items that don't add value to my life. You might be surprised at how much stuff accumulates over time.
This story originally appeared on Realliving.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.