How To Be A Minimalist – Guide to More Meaningful Living

We live in a fast-paced, frustrating, consumerist-driven world that can seem unrelenting and driven to keep us unhappy.  If you’re tired of trying to keep up and maintain a certain image, I’m going to share what I know about how to be a minimalist.

A minimalist follows the “less is more” principle with clothing, belongings, and living.  Tips on how to be a minimalist include decluttering and checklists to identify your priorities and optimal way of life.  One can be a minimalist as a mom, a family, at home, and even in 30 days or less. 

Does your life feel complex, burdensome, or overly cluttered?  Are you looking for a way to simplify your home and your life? Learning how to become a minimalist can help anyone declutter their life.

What is a Minimalist?

A minimalist lives simply, intentionally, and follows the “less is more” principle.  Minimalists focus on needs rather than wants; they work towards contentment and dislike consumerism.  A minimalist appreciates life experiences, environment, sustainability, and durability over trends.  One can be a minimalist through their wardrobe, furniture, home, and lifestyle practices.

Two Women in a Simple Hammock - How To Be A Minimalist
Two Women in a Simple Hammock

Tips to Be a Minimalist

One does not simply “become” a minimalist — it is a process.  It starts with a decision and a mindset, and then there must be a plan.  The great thing is there are no rules!  Let’s look at some tips to be a minimalist.

  1. Start by decluttering your living space.
  2. Assess your belongings and remove items that no longer serve a purpose or bring joy.
  3. Focus on quality over quantity when making new purchases, ensuring they align with your needs and values.
  4. Adopt a mindful approach to consumption, resisting the urge to indulge in impulsive buying.
  5. Invest in experiences rather than material possessions, fostering meaningful connections with others.
  6. Prioritize self-care and emotional well-being, as minimalism extends beyond physical belongings to mental and emotional clutter.
  7. Practice gratitude for the simple things in life and find joy in the present moment.
  8. Remember that minimalism is a personal journey, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. 

Becoming a Minimalist Checklist

One way to become a minimalist is with a checklist.  Create a list of the things you want to keep, can’t live without, and need.  Then create categories for selling, donating, and discarding.  Include everything in your life from work and travel to everyday processes like grocery and clothing shopping, looking for those things that are unnecessary or don’t add joy to your life.  Then pare down those things you don’t want or need to do anymore, and you’ll greatly simplify your life.

Minimalist Tips for Decluttering

Decluttering your home is a great way to become a minimalist.  Starting with large items like appliances and furniture can make it quicker and easier to pare down everything else, including décor, accessories, and clothing.  Use the checklist to check off items, and you’ll have an uncluttered and spacious home before long.  Think about the environment, what you can do to minimize waste, and work on reusing and recycling.

How to Be a Minimalist Mom

Minimalist moms don’t just focus on the bare necessities; they teach their children about living a minimalist lifestyle.  To be a minimalist mom, teach your children about nature, caring for animals, the environment, where food actually comes from, and life lessons.  Minimalist moms focus less on toys and more on playing well with others. 

A Minimalist Mom - How To Be A Minimalist - Gone Minimal
A Minimalist Mom

They teach their children how to cook, do laundry, and appreciate experiences in life.  To be a minimalist mom, keep things simple and focus on what really matters.  Your children will grow up to be good people who care for others and their impact on the environment.

Minimalist children have a better appreciation for life and nature.

How to Be a Minimalist Woman

Women may feel the most pressure to keep up with consumerism today, airbrushed looks, and perfect hair thanks to advertisements and social media.  How can one be a minimalist woman in such an environment?  Easy — let all of that go. 

To be beautiful, you don’t need clothing labels, manicures, hair extensions, or high-end makeup.  Pare down to the essentials, the things you like, and get rid of the rest.  A minimalist woman is natural, comfortable, and real — not hidden under fancy clothing and layers of makeup.

How to Become a Minimalist in 30 days

If you’re interested in pursuing the lifestyle, here are some tips on how to become a minimalist in 30 days.  Come up with a plan for your ideal minimalist lifestyle and start small.  Identify your priorities and focus on those.  Declutter your home of the unnecessary and extra things that take up space.  Donate or sell clothing, shoes, furniture, décor, and accessories to help others. 

Simply Packing Boxes - How To Be A Minimalist - Gone Minimal
Simply Packing Boxes

Then reorganize and clean to create a more spacious and comfortable living space, minimalist style.  Consider the environment when you shop for food, clothing, accessories, and even large purchases like vehicles and appliances.  Over time these practices will become second nature, and you will have created your minimalist lifestyle in about 30 days — or even less.

When you pare down to the essentials, you’ll find you have a great deal of space and don’t need to fill it back up with things.

How to Be a Minimalist At Home

Your home is a great place to be a minimalist.  Researchers Kasey Lloyd and William Pennington of the University of East London have found connections between materialism and environmental blasé, debt, and even decreased well-being.  If you’re overwhelmed by all the “stuff,” start to declutter and reorganize. 

When you pare down to the essentials, you’ll find you have a great deal of space and don’t need to fill it back up with things.  Being a minimalist at home will decrease cleaning time, make your home more comfortable, and decrease your stress levels.

Become a Minimalist with Clothes

Does your closet feel like it’s overstuffed, boiling over with clothing you aren’t even aware you still have?  When it comes to how to be a minimalist with clothes, it’s probably a lot easier than you think.  You really don’t need all that clothing taking up space in your closet; you probably don’t even need half of what you currently own.  Focus on the essentials for work, leisure, and exercise. 

A Simple Wardrobe - How To Be A Minimalist - Gone Minimal
A Simple Wardrobe

Don’t buy clothing because it’s “trendy” but because you need it.  Purchase for durability and comfort rather than style and labels.  Even designer brands are becoming increasingly minimalist in style with a focus on simple, comfortable, and high-quality fabrics, according to author Zhuozhao Xie.  Clear out the excess, and you’ll still only need to do laundry once weekly!

How to Be a Minimalist With a Family

To be a minimalist with a family might take a little bit more work initially, but it can be a great learning experience for your children.  Children should learn from their parents that gadgets and technology are not needed, labels are unnecessary and a waste of money and their focus should be on people and relationships. 

The younger children are when they learn these things, the better off they can be in the long run, learning about others and the world rather than “smart” technology and “fast” fashion.  Minimalist children have a better appreciation for life and nature.

Check out this helpful video explaining family minimalism and who can benefit from it.

Related Insights

How do I become an extreme minimalist?

To become an extreme minimalist, eliminate all the excess things you own.  Pare everything down to strictly the essentials and focus on sustainability.  Capsule wardrobes, tiny homes, and mindfulness can help you become an extreme minimalist.

Is becoming a minimalist worth it?

When you focus on experiences over collectibles, people and relationships over stuff, and the environment over the latest trends, becoming a minimalist is worth it.  You might find it’s more work participating in status competitions and the rat race than focusing on relationships, memories, and experiences.

What makes a person a minimalist?

What makes a person a minimalist is focusing on needs rather than wants, people rather than things, and experiences rather than materialism. 

The Criteria Real People Use to Determine if Something is Worth Keeping

I asked friends and family to list three criteria for how they determine whether or not to keep something in their house/life/office/etc.  Here is a table representing the percentages of their responses and what I learned from the poll.  

Criteria for Keeping Things
15% of people polled said hasn’t been used in a while is criteria for keeping things
10% of people polled said taking up too much space is criteria for keeping things
5% of people polled said more hassle to keep than donate is criteria for keeping things
15% of people polled said means something to me is criteria for keeping things
15% of people polled said reminds me of a loved one is criteria for keeping things
10% of people polled said kids might want it later is criteria for keeping things
10% of people polled said might be worth money is criteria for keeping things
5% of people polled said paying for storage is criteria for keeping things
10% of people polled said not wanting to let go is criteria for keeping things
5% of people polled said not sure what else to do is criteria for keeping things
Criteria Real People Use For Keeping Things

Other Resources:

Final Thoughts

Although it might seem impossible at first, being a minimalist is a rewarding venture because there really are no rules regarding how to pursue the lifestyle.  You can create your own minimalist practices, big or small, and do what works for you and your family.  If it is sustainable for you and brings more joy to your life, being a minimalist is totally worth it.  Where will you start your minimalist practices?

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