Minimalism How-To – Guide to Living a Minimalist Life

Minimalism sounds like a simple enough lifestyle to lead, but if you’ve lived the traditional consumer-based lifestyle all your life, it can be difficult to pursue.  I’m going to talk about how to become a minimalist in more ways than one to keep it simple and doable.

Minimalism is living more intentionally with less stuff.  Benefits include more time, more money, less stress, and better relationships.  Characteristics include style and even clothing minimalism and can be started with a plan, a checklist, and a timeline.  

Are you tired of trying to keep up with the latest styles, coolest clothing, and need to get out of the rat race?  Have you looked into minimalism but are unsure how it might work for you?  Minimalism can be achieved at home, at work, and embraced by an entire family.

What Is Minimalism

Minimalism is a lifestyle or philosophy focusing on simplicity, mindfulness, and intentional living. At its core, minimalism is about honing in on what truly matters and letting go of excess items, distractions, and commitments that do not contribute to their well-being and happiness.
The principles of minimalism can apply to various aspects of life, including physical possessions, daily routines, relationships, and even thought patterns. Minimalists aim to create more space, time, and mental clarity for the things that bring genuine joy, meaning, and purpose.

Minimalism is the practice of living more intentionally, focusing on the things in life that really matter.  Minimalism is based on the principle of “less is more.”  There are no rules to minimalism, and it can be adapted to anyone and anything — it’s about pursuing the lifestyle in a way that works for the individual. 

A Simple White Book - Minimalism How To - Gone Minimal
A Simple White Book

Benefits of Minimalism

Minimalism can be seen as a lifestyle choice, the antithesis of consumerism, and a focus on experiences and relationships rather than belongings and things.  Research by Lloyd and Pennington of the University of East London found themes to the benefits of minimalism, including autonomy, competence, mental space, awareness, and positive emotions.  Many benefits of minimalism go well beyond the length of this article, but here are some of the most important benefits:

  1. More space
  2. More time
  3. Less cleaning
  4. Environmentally friendly
  5. Less stress
  6. More meaningful relationships
  7. Saves money
  8. More fun
  9. Less clutter
  10. More meaning

Characteristics of Minimalism

Minimalist Style

The minimalist style is about “less is more.”  So how does that look?  Well, you don’t need all the décor, accessories, tools, furniture, and even clothing in your home.  Minimalist style is utilizing multi-purpose items, repurposing things to be useful, and getting rid of those things taking up valuable space.  Minimalist style is buying less, focusing on sustainability and purpose, and spending time and energy on relationships and experiences.

Get rid of all the things that take up space, and you’ll save time in the long run with cleaning and organizing.

Minimalist Clothes

Minimalist clothes are a highly flexible aspect of minimalism.  There are ways of paring down your wardrobe to what you need for each season with a few accessories and extra articles for “just in case.”  For example, a capsule wardrobe will minimize your clothing to fewer pieces that coordinate with each other and can fit in a suitcase.  Even minimalist clothing companies create more sustainable, durable, and functional clothing.

Minimalist Clothes - Minimalism How To -Gone Minimal
Minimalist Clothes

Minimalism: How to Start

Minimalism Plan

Making the change to minimalism all starts with a plan.  How minimalist do you want to become?  Does it look like an overall lifestyle change, or is it just for your living space?  Creating a plan and getting everyone in your home to agree is the most challenging part, but sticking to a plan everyone can live with makes it more worthwhile and doable.

Becoming a Minimalist Checklist

When becoming a minimalist, a checklist can help you get everything in order and stay on track.  This checklist should include keeping, donating, selling, and discarding categories.  Start with the big stuff like furniture and appliances and work down to the small items like accessories and décor.  Check the items off as you go; before you know it, your home will feel more open and spacious.

Minimalism How to Declutter

Our homes are filled with extra items, décor, accessories, and things we don’t use.  Consider paring down these items to the essentials or the valuable and special items and donating or selling the rest.  If it’s sitting in your home, it’s collecting dust and can be considered clutter!

A Woman Organizing Clothes - Minimalism How To - Gone Minimal
A Woman Organizing Clothes

Minimalism How to Get Rid of Stuff

We all have stuff in our homes we don’t use.  Shoved in closets, packed away in boxes, stored in the garage and the attic, and perhaps (GASP!) a storage unit down the street.  If you’re not using it now or don’t see yourself using it in the next six months or so, just get rid of it!  There are those items we want to hold on to for our children that have value and those things you can choose to keep.  But the extra holiday decorations, the multiple coats (especially if you live in the South), all of the “just in case” items?  Get rid of the stuff!

Minimalism How to Stop Buying Things 

One way to start minimalism is to stop buying things.  When you go to the store, think to yourself — do I really need this or that, or is it just a “nice to have?”  If you haven’t used something you’ve bought in the past, you certainly won’t use it now, so don’t buy any more.  You don’t need to buy artwork, décor, shoes, toys, and other items if they don’t serve a purpose.  Focus on buying things you need rather than the things you want.

Minimalism is finding joy in nature, experiences, relationships, people, and everyday beauty.

How to Become a Minimalist

How to Become a Minimalist in 30 Days

Renata Dopierala of the University of Lodz defined minimalism as opposition to excess and focusing on quality rather than quantity.  If you want to become a minimalist in 30 days or less, devise a plan and checklist of what you want to accomplish.  Decluttering the home, selling extra furniture, donating clothing and shoes, buying less, making changes at work, and prioritizing relationships can all be done in 30 days.

Carrying Simple Boxes - Minimalism How To - Gone Minimal
Carrying Simple Boxes

How to Become a Minimalist at Home

Becoming a minimalist at home begins with decluttering.  Collect all of the items you haven’t used in 6 months, are old or outdated, and you just don’t need anymore.  Take down the accessories and décor you don’t like or don’t fit your taste.  Take out the clothing that doesn’t fit and donate or sell what you no longer wear or need.  Get rid of all the things that take up space, and you’ll save time in the long run with cleaning and organizing.

How to Become a Minimalist Woman

To become a minimalist woman, start small with clothing, shoes, and accessories.  Pare down your wardrobe to the essentials, focusing on the items you regularly wear to make you happy and comfortable.  Consider paring down your makeup, salon visits, mani/pedis, etc.  Live a lifestyle that is fewer frills and more intention.

How to Become a Minimalist with Clothes

Decluttering clothing is a fairly easy way to become a minimalist.  Go through your closet and find the items that no longer fit, are not in the best shape, that you don’t like anymore, or that you haven’t worn in a few months.  Keep the items that are season specific as needed, just less of them.  Donate clothing and shoes that are in good shape to help out someone in need.

Looking Through Minimalist Clothes - Minimalism How To - Gone Minimal
Looking Through Minimalist Clothes

How to Become a Minimalist with a Family

A family could be one of the main reasons to become a minimalist, but it takes getting everyone on board.  Work with your spouse and children on what things can be pared down.  Teach your children the importance of focusing on each other and perhaps a few meaningful items rather than collecting all the toys and video games. 

How to Embrace Minimalism

We’ve covered a great deal in terms of coming up with a plan, using a checklist, and different areas to utilize minimalism.  But how do you embrace minimalism?  It takes work, dedication, and teamwork if you’re doing it with others.  Minimalism is finding joy in nature, experiences, relationships, people, and everyday beauty.  When you switch your focus to those things rather than fancy clothing and cars or the flashiest home on the block, you just might be happier!

Minimalist Living Examples

Minimalist living is about doing more with less, but let’s look at how that works.

  1. More outfit possibilities with fewer pieces — everything coordinates
  2. More space in your home with less furniture
  3. More time living and less time cleaning with less décor and furniture
  4. Buying only what you need and having more money saved

In this helpful video, learn 10 top tips to guide the beginning of your minimalist journey.

Related Insights

What are the rules of minimalism?

The only rule of minimalism is to do it in a way that works for you.  If you can adapt in ways you can reasonably maintain and find satisfaction and happiness in those adaptations, you’re more likely to continue and be successful in minimalism.

How long does it take to become a minimalist?

There’s no defined time for becoming a minimalist, but it takes time to adjust.  If it’s one aspect of your life you choose minimalism, it could be done in a day or two.  If you’re going all out with your entire lifestyle, it could take a few months to a year or more. 

Is becoming a minimalist worth it?

It begins with a choice and takes time and adaptation, but over time, it adds so much to life.  So yes, becoming a minimalist is worth it-no doubt!

The Areas That Real People Think Would Benefit Most From a Minimalist Approach

I asked friends and family to list two places/areas that would be the most difficult to apply minimalism or places/areas that would benefit from a minimalist approach. Here is a table representing the percentages of their responses and what I learned from the poll.

Place/AreaTimes Selected
Kids’ rooms16%
Fruits and veggies9%
Streaming services10%
The Areas Where Real People Would Benefit Most From Minimalism

Other Resources:

Final Thoughts

Becoming a minimalist may be challenging at first, but for most who pursue it, there is great reward.  Minimalism how-tos have been shared around the globe, and if you choose a method that works for you, there’s no limit to how successful you can be.  Minimalism is a choice — and it is yours to make!

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