1) Toss Your Excess: Minimalism is a lot more than getting rid of your junk, but it’s an essential first step. As you clear your attics, your basements, your closets, and your car, you’ll come to realize that something bigger is changing than just your outward physical space. You’re changing too. This first step can’t be skipped. Each and every one of us has to downsize, face the decisions, fill the bags and boxes, and drive them away from our lives. It is step number one for a reason.
2) Reduce Exposure to Media: The average American sees around 5,000 marketing messages a day. Start cutting back your exposure to advertising and marketing in television, magazines, and online. Consumerism is like a drug, and we’re all recovering addicts. Reducing your exposure will keep the daily consumer drip feed from entering your brain.
3) Reduce Exposure to Shopping: Step number three is to minimize how much new stuff comes into your life. This is the part I forgot to focus on for too many years. You can downsize all you want, but if you’re always out there searching for the perfect something, you’re going to find plenty of perfect somethings. A good minimalist knows that by slowing the cycle of shopping it will also slow down the cycle of temptation.
4) Follow your Heart: Don’t listen to anyone else’s rules, anyone else’s numbers, anyone else’s comfort levels. Listen to your inner minimalist, the one buried inside you underneath a stack of Target bags. That inner minimalist will steer you straight. Your inner minimalist will care for your Great Aunt Katie’s ring, saving it from “the great jewelry purge of 2012″. Your inner minimalist will preserve the important family photos. But your inner minimalist will also say no to the cheesy door prize you won ten years ago that you only keep to remind yourself you won something. It will rail against the bad 80′s clothes that you haven’t fit in since 1989. And it will fight to release the old unused exercise equipment, dare I say “treadmill”, that’s hiding in your spare bedroom, shrouded in dust.
These four steps will take you far down the road of minimalism. It’s a journey, and much of the pleasure is in the trip. Focus on the path rather than the destination and see how your life becomes limitless in the face of limits.
How to be a good minimalist?
Toss lots of stuff.
Stop using so much stuff.
Stop buying so much stuff.
Listen to your inner minimalist.