Stress is a common characteristic in the lives of many people in the modern world. Increasing pressures, around money, around the problems of technology, around working longer hours, affect all of us in a way, whether it be anxiety, insomnia, stress, or other symptoms. Worry is increasingly part and parcel with the great digital and consumer revolution we’ve been living through over the past two decades.

However, there are some people who have decided to reject the consumer lifestyle that they see as a root cause of much of people’s worries in the modern world. They view the constant need to define one’s self through the possession of objects, such as clothes, and the idea that to be happy and successful is to own things, as the reason for stressful lives and overwhelming emotions, and instead put the focus on what they see as truly important for a good life - love, relationships, following passions.

These people are minimalists, and they believe that the key to a better life is to clear out possessions, stop buying more, and focus on other parts of life, freeing themselves from what they see as the consumer culture that has changed our world beyond recognition. Many minimalists feel much happier, more content, and live better lives after choosing this new lifestyle choice.

Minimalists take a huge range of forms, from people who declutter things they don’t use or need, to people who have less than 100 possessions and travel around the world, without any ties or fixed abode.

But, however minimalistic you decide to go, it’s a dramatic change. And like all lifestyle changes it can be tough to know where to start, how to get in to it, and how to best make it work for you. So here are a few tips to help you should you decide to embrace a more minimalist lifestyle.

1.  Decluttering

At the heart of minimalism is the belief that the possession of objects distracts one from what truly brings meaning to life, leading us into the false idea that happiness, fulfillment, and personal definement lies in the owning of more stuff. It’s important to remember, it’s not about decluttering for the sake of it.

When it comes to decluttering, it is important to remember that the purpose of it is not just to have less stuff, but to get rid of the things that don’t make you happy, so you can pay more attention to the things that do. You don’t need to get rid of all your clothes, for example, and keeping what you love and wear, and other more sentimental items, is not just ok, but is in fact part of the process of bringing the important in to sharper, clearer focus in your life - ejecting the mass produced tat that you may have collected, and instead filling your home with objects full of happy memories. That is minimalism in its purest form.

Making or using a checklist of things you haven’t used recently, don’t need, or don’t want can be a really good idea. Another idea might be to go through the house with a bag, and put things in it which you don’t want or need. The next day do the same, and carry on for as long as you’ve got stuff you don’t want. That’s a good way to properly consider what you need over a long period of time, and bring real clarity. There is, however, no need to get rid of the items that mean a lot. If they make you happy. If they remind you of what makes you fulfilled, then it has a place in your new, simpler life.

2. No More Things

You might be tempted, now you’ve got more money, more space, and less distracting objects, to get some more, nice things in the place of what you’ve gotten rid of it. Well don’t. The point of minimalism is to abandon excess and ridiculous spending on needless objects. That doesn’t just mean ejecting what you’ve already got. You have to stop existing spending habits that lead to an excess ownership of objects.

There is no point decluttering to then fill the space left by the objects that have gone. Spend the money on experiences, on things to do with your family, thereby filling your life with unique memories and stories, rather than mass manufactured rubbish you don’t need.

Equally, if your friends are getting you a present, for Christmas or your Birthday, encourage them to avoid getting you stuff, but instead an experience or something of emotional value of some sort. Obviously, don’t be ungrateful if they give you an object - see it as something of sentimental value, as something of thought and love from a friend and let that idea bring you joy and fulfillment from that item.

3. Remember - Minimalism Is Personal To You

The whole point of minimalism is to live a life full of the things that give it purpose, that brings clarity of thought, and makes you truly happy. It’s about focusing on the things you truly love and that actually matter to you. The rejection of consumerism and copious amounts of stuff is about realising that it is not possessions that make your life, and it's about using resources, space, and money on the things that actually define you. It’s about jettisoning the unnecessary and bringing a sense of intention.

Every person is completely different. As such, we all have different things that bring purpose and joy to our lives. For some, it will be shopping. But for those embracing a minimalist lifestyle, it might be a passion like art, that they want to dedicate more time. It might be family. It might be getting out and meeting people, or maybe travelling.

Whatever it is you want more of in your life by going minimalist, it will be personal to you. You can’t compare your minimalism to that of others, and as we covered earlier, there are vast range of minimalist lifestyles. Just because your minimalism is different to someone else’s, it doesn’t make either of you wrong, it just means you want your life to be full of, and focused on, different things and objectives, and that’s ok. That acceptance that all you need to be a minimalist is a more focused life, is the ultimate tip for getting into minimalism.

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