If you’re not familiar with minimalism, it’s a way of living that assists people to find freedom.
There are numerous benefits of adopting a minimalist lifestyle. When done correctly, it can reduce stress, clear your mind, and energize you.
Although it’s not a lifestyle for everyone. Some people have no interest in being minimalist, while others just cannot change.
But for some it’s a way of life, and for others it’s a change that improved their lives.
It can help you find a form of ‘freedom’ that you haven’t felt before. A freedom from feeling overwhelmed by possessions, freedom from worrying, freedom from fear, freedom from guilt.
A freedom from being trapped in the marketing and consumer cycle we are all bombarded with daily. This may sound dramatic, but if you think about it – it makes sense.
Obviously there is nothing wrong with having possessions. We all need some possessions, and there are lots of useful technologies that make our lives easier.
But many of us have too much attachment to our possessions. We assign an importance, or a sense of meaning to certain possessions. Some people let possessions own them, when they should be owning the possession.
Some people let owning an object get in the way of their relationships, health, passion, and their personal growth.
If you want a nice car, or a large house, that’s great. But applying minimalism to your life can help you make these decisions wisely, and control the ownership.
How Many Possessions Do We Really Need?
It’s human nature to hold on to special items like family heirlooms and special items. But this can easily get out of control if you let it. If we kept every important item and passed them on, think how cluttered you’d be after a few generations.
There are a lot of personal stories online with people documenting their journey to minimalism. Detailing how it changed their lives for the better. From having a clear work space, ridding your home of clutter, to reducing the amount of items you own.
The way I see it, the benefits of adopting a minimalist lifestyle outweighs the stresses of being overwhelmed with clutter. Worrying about all your possessions, and getting flustered about finding and storing things.
Clear Workstations Can Increase Focus
Take a look at your workstation, whether it’s your own space at home or in a shared office. How many of the items on your desk do you really need?
The Journal of Neuroscience published a study showing a correlation between people with less cluttered desks and improved focus.
In summary they rounded this up as the following; when a person’s environment is cluttered, their focus is restricted by the chaos around them. The human brain is also easily distracted by chaos. Clutter inhibits your ability to process information as quickly.
So clear your desk, organize any paperwork you need, and create a clean and clear environment.
Creating a Minimalist Living Space Can Be Relaxing
As mentioned in the previous point, living in clutter reduces a person’s focus. You can apply this to other areas of your life, or rooms in your home where you can benefit from some clearer thought.
Look at the kitchen for example. Have you ever had to scramble around for some ingredients among clutter cupboards, and maybe made a mistake as a result? Run a purge through your kitchen utensils and throw out any you don’t use, do the same with items in your cupboards too.
Less Clutter Makes Space Easier to Clean
Don’t many of us enjoy cleaning, right? Well I don’t enjoy it, but it’s important to me to keep on top of cleaning. It used to take me twice as long before I adopted a minimalist lifestyle. I now do much more productive things with the time I used to spend cleaning.
There are less dust traps too with less items around. Meaning you can breathe better quality air, particularly useful to anyone suffering with allergies.
Can I Be Too Minimalist?
You can always go too far. There is a line between having the bare essentials, and not being able to operate smoothly. If you find there are items you are always looking for, you probably need them.
The idea behind being minimalist is break free from the chains that tie you to possessions. Having to check your phone often, rummage for things, check on other items. Don’t swing the other way and get tied to working without the ideal tools.
How to Get Started with a Minimalist Setup
As discussed many times throughout this blog, the first step is both the most important and hardest. To give yourself the best chance of successfully reaching your end goal, draw up a to-do list.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Clear out your wardrobe and give away any unwanted clothes.
- Offer away the kitchen utensils you no long want, or try to sell them if they’re in good working order.
- Clear out any clutter drawers, throw away anything you aren’t likely to ever use.
- Throw out any paperwork that is now available online, this applies to most household bills.
- Throw out anything you haven’t used in 6 months.
- Throw out anything you forgot you owned, you obviously don’t need it.
- Make stricter shopping lists and stick to them, reduce impulse buys.
Whether you work from home, or part of a huge office block. Whether you live in a small apartment, or a large home. There are benefits of adopting a minimalist lifestyle for anyone.
Give it a try, see if it helps clear your head and allows you to focus better.
If you have any further ideas, or ways you have moved to a minimalist lifestyle, I’d love to hear about it.
Just drop a comment below.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.