The Minimalism Movement wasn’t new to me. I been hearing a lot about it and has got extremely popular with popular Japanese organising consultant, Marie Kondo who advocates minimalism and emphasising that less is more. Though I am a fan of her work, I didn’t jump into the bandwagon immediately. But by the end of 2017, I was so overwhelmed with the excess, the noise, the stress, the million of choices and the nagging world of consumerism & urbanisation living as an overseas foreign worker in an expensive city. I need a big pause, a major detox in life. I needed to reevaluate my life and what are my essentials . I needed to let go of the complicated and embrace the simplicity. And it lead me to Minimalism.
I discovered the beautiful peaceful world of Minimalism and its many wonderful benefits. Especially with the extensive consumerism and overflowing digital information, our system is crying for some space to breathe and enjoy the luxury of being immerse of the what are the essentials. I began watching a lot of Minimalist YouTubers like Pick Up Limes, Madeleine Olivia, Meghan Livingstone, Zoey Arielle and many more. I got loads of tips from them. I also found this gem of a book, L’art De Simplicite: How To Live More With Less by Dominique Loreau. If you want to embark in the journey of Minimalism, I urged you to get a copy of this book.
Minimalism as I mentioned has so many benefits. I am still just starting my journey to this movement. I am not quite there yet but so far, I am loving this kind of lifestyle. You get to save money as I mentioned in my previous blog post. It can also make you lost weight. You also get to have less anxiety, less stress, more time and more happiness. You get to have more focused in life. You get to evaluate what you value in life and you don’t need to waste your time, effort and money on things that is not worth it.
Most successful people have followed the minimalistic principles in their life, one way or their other, like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, The Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, etc. Some sentimentalists, hoarders and collectors would probably have difficulty in choosing this lifestyle. For me, it wasnt too hard. I don’t like too many choices and therefore prefer only wants a manageable about of stuff. Plus I do hate clutter and prefer to have less knicks knacks visible at my home. It also encourage my sort-of obsessive compulsion to create systems in doing things. Having that give me less anxieties because I have routine and checklist to guide me. Many things about minimalism resonates with my tips in saving money. Read my blog post here.
So if you are interested in jumping into the bandwagon of Minimalism, here are 10 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Practice Minimalism:
1. Declutter. Let Go of the Unnecessary and Keep the Essential
One of the main concepts of minimalism is Decluttering as popularised by Marie Kondo. Minimalism is all about removing the unnecessary clutter, finding joy in tidying up and only keeping the essentials that is worthy of your space, time and money. You will feel a sense of peace after discarding, selling and giving away the things that doesn’t bring you joy and just adds to the anxiety & clutter in our home. I love tidying up my home. I have always been a thrower which is, I know, not a good thing. But I have lesser attachment to things even before. I also love organising garage sales to earn a few bucks way before minimalism was a thing.
Decluttering also means letting go of toxic relationships and investing more precious time with the people who matter. Stop wasting time on pseudo-friendships with people you don’t like. You don’t need to create superficial connections to those people who don’t really matter.
2. Have a Morning and Evening Routine
Minimalism strives on systems which I likes and somehow grounds me. Having a morning and evening routine simplifies your life. It always you to have a constant activity to start and end the day without giving you anxieties and give you leeway to waste time. Successful people are known to have a morning and evening routine which composes usually of self-care and self-growth activities like meditation, reading books and exercises.
I have recently discovered this My Miracle Morning routine which is a definitely game-changer. I woke up an hour earlier than my usual waking time and I didnt mind at all. I realised when I started doing My Miracle Morning, my mood became was more positive like no bad thing can get me down plus I was more productive, energetic and happy. But there were a few straight mornings that I failed to do the morning routine and my days totally sucked big time. I will share with you soon the Miracle Morning Routine.
3. Stop buying the unnecessary.
Besides throwing, selling and giving away the unnecessary, minimalists also does a careful review in their lifestyle, which are the things they should stop purchasing. They would realise that there are lots of things that they can do away leading them to stop accumulating useless stuff, save more money and maintain their uncluttered relaxing space. Borrow or rent if you must but avoid buying. Examples are books or gowns, etc. I will blog soon on things I stop or minimised buying.
4. Build a Capsule Wardrobe and Have an Outfit of the Day System
I mentioned in my 20 Way to Save Money Blog Post that one way of save money is to create a capsule wardrobe.
Capsule Wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. Some say the magic number is 37. Yes, 37 versatile pieces that you can mix & match and you truly love to wear. Though some numbers vary. It is usually between 30-40 item. Pajamas, accessories, fitness apparel and special occasion gowns are not included in the list.
One of the things that I have been doing eversince to simplify how I choose what to wear for work everyday is by my personal wardrobe system which my helper is familiar with. I pick what I will wear for the day from my work clothes / dresses hanging in my closet from right to left. If it is a dressy blouse, I would look into my drawer what I feel pairing it with a skirt or slacks. Then my accessories would just match whatever I wear. I would mind wearing any of the clothes since I like all of them. Newly washed clothes will be hanged by my helper on the most left portion of the closet so that its is first in, first out and I get to wear all of them. I have this childish magical thinking that some stuff get upset when we dont use them & ignore them inside the closet. I have to say I have been doing this system even before the minimalism movement or the popularisation of using a “uniform” by Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. For my casual going out outfits, it is kept in a drawer so I would choose the clothes in similar matter or if piles on top of each other like my home & sleeping clothes, I get the one from the bottom and newly washed clothes are placed on the top pile.
5. Simplify Your Beauty Regimen by using only your Holy Grail products or Create DIY products.
I stopped piling too many junk on my face plus I stopped the urge to try any new beauty products that are being hyped in social media and women’s magazines. I sticked to the products that I have trusted throughout the years. I would take note of my Holy Grail products, products that you have sought after that fit your specific (a.k.a. Hard To Find) and stick to it. It has done me a world of good and my skin is thanking me for it because now I have less breakouts from trying too many products that didnt suit my skin.
I also been recently creating my own skincare products like body scrub, deodorant and facial moisturiser. I am loving it! It is chemical free, cheap and great for the skin.
6. Learn to say No. Make Time for those that truly matter.
Being a minimalist would often mean letting go of pleasing people too much. Learn the art of saying No politely to things that is not worthy of your precious time. When I get invites, be it in a personal level or say for work or blogging opportunities, I would ask myself if the time I spend in this worthy of the time I will be spending away from my loved-ones or time to spend for my relaxation or self-care. It must be something that truly want to go to and not just because I feel forced into it.
It also means learning to say No to obligations if you know you cannot commit wholeheartedly. It is important that you dont overcommit to everything that is laid out before you because you are afraid of missing out, being labeled as a byotch or just because you are shy to say No. When a saleslady offer a discount by adding more items in your shopping bag, say No. When a creditcard dealer offers new attractive deals or loans, say No. Say Yes only to those that aligns to what you value.
7. Practice Mindfulness & Meditation
Minimalism also advocates grounding yourself and learning how to focus. Two of the best ways to do this are practicing mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. You can practice while you are walking, eating, and just about everything that you do. Try reading the book, Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan to have a little insight on this.
Meditation also goes hand in hand with Mindfulness. It is the silencing of the noisy mind and unearthing the beauty of focused silence mental state which allows inspiration to flow freely.
8. Schedule a Digital Detox
In a very digital-dependent generation, we badly need this. We are almost married to our phones than to our spouses. So give your phone a bit of rest. Schedule a digital detox, be it once a week or maybe a certain portion of the day, like early morning or once going home, you put your phone in a little spot at home & ignore it for the rest of the day. I try to do the latter and give my undivided presence to my kids which is still in a work in progress since the gravitational pull of habit of my phone to check on notifications come most often than not.
Another trick is turning off your phone notifications. Also you should hit unsubscribe to useless emails and make a habit of deleting emails you dont need any more. Streamline the apps in your phone. Also schedule a quarterly detox of your Facebook. Check your friends list and see which are those you need to unfollow because their feed give you negative vibes or check if some of the people on the lists are truly your friends or just acquaintances who wants a glimpse of your private life. Reserve your Facebook to people who you enjoy engaging with.
9. Minimise the multiples
We dont realised we have multiple items in our possessions: multiple scissors, multiple strollers, multiple super glues, multiple aprons, multiple cars, multiple boyfriends or girlfriends at the same time, hahaha. For items , stick to 1 or 2 only. But for spouses & romantic lovers, relieve yourself with the anxiety & exhaustion and stick to one.
10. Downsize your lifestyle
Minimalism is all about simplicity. It is not boastful or flamboyant. So reexamine your lifestyle and do the necessary downsizing of your lifestyle. Transfer to a smaller apartment. Having less cars or switch a more reliable car than a eye-catching sports car. Having a career that you rather than chasing prestige, glory and power. Going to fewer parties and staying home with a hot cocoa & a thick book instead. Investing in experience like travel instead of buying the less latest gadgets. And there are many more ways to downsize your lifestyle.
The road to minimalism may seem boring and challenging but I guarantee you, it is worth it to try.
There are many more ways to practice minimalism besides the few examples I mentioned. And minimalism can be in many different ways to some people. I believe that there is no strict rule. Many argue on the technicalities of minimalism which should not even be an issue as long as people who embarks in it understood the core value of it.
Let me know if you are also in your minimalism journey. I would be happy to learn from you and exchange tips with you. For now, I am happy that I have discovered the minimalism lifestyle.