Before you start anything, a job, an exercise, a relationship, it's best to have some idea of what you're getting into. Here are five important tips I wish I would've known before starting my minimalist journey.
1. Minimalism is different for everyone.
Be realistic with your goals and don’t feel like you need to adhere to any rules proposed by others.
As you seek to learn more about minimalism and simple living, you will come across a lot of information about how to start your minimalist journey.
There are ranges of minimalism from the tiny house enthusiasts to the luxurious minimalists, backpackers, extreme minimalists, and eco-minimalists.
You will also visit sites that encourage you to pare down to 100 items or give some other kind of standard for you to aspire to on your journey.
There is no right or wrong way to be a minimalist as long as you share the general philosophy that you're able to live with less and are conscious of what you add to your life.
You're only goal is to find the right amount of less for you.
2. Be prepared for a basket of emotions.
These emotions can include excitement, fear, guilt, resolve, and peace.
These days I mostly feel resolve that I've chosen the right lifestyle for me. I find peace in knowing that I use most of the things I own on a daily basis. Also, I can pack up and leave at any time with my backpack and suitcase.
Even still, there are some days, when I need to do a little fringe decluttering and I come across something I bought which I didn't need and probably could've used the money for something else.
You may feel excitement when you finally decide to embrace a simpler life, see the money you have saved, or revel in the new open spaces in your home.
You will also feel bouts of fear when it's time to let go of certain things and guilt about the money you wasted.
The good news is the negative emotions will eventually fade and peace will become the norm.
3. You may become addicted to purging.
Unfortunately, there is no Declutterers Anonymous, but you’ll survive.
Maybe I shouldn't call it an addiction. I will say that you'll be better able to spot clutter and become more efficient at cleaning and tidying.
Organizing will be a cinch and you will no longer look at these tasks as chores, but will approach them with determined energy.
In fact, you've actually just gained a superpower. Every time you walk into a room, your declutter vision will activate.
This also leads me to the next thing you should know.
4. You will want to help others declutter and encourage them to start their own minimalist journey.
As long as you do so with their permission and respect their choices, simple living could help you form and forge deeper bonds with others.
Resist the urge to tell people how they should be living and what they could do without.
I still struggle with this at times as some of my friends and family can attest, but I will say that any suggestions are given out of love and a desire to see them flourish.
I know the power of simple living and how it's impacted my life. (Sidenote: Whenever I talk about the benefits of minimalism I feel like I'm testifying or trying to convert someone to a religion.)
The main thing to remember is each of you are on your own journey. Help others as much as you can, but know the boundaries between advice and support.
5. You may just start out decluttering, but if you keep at it, it will become a lifestyle. You will look at other areas of your life differently.
Instead of limiting your decluttering to the new year and spring cleaning, how about making a life change.
A recent article in the Washington Post suggests you do just that and it's also the reason why I created the Live Simply + Be Free workbook. So you can declutter your whole life at any time and develop practices to sustain your simple life.
Naturally, as you start decluttering one area, you will wonder what else you can simplify. If you have a competitive spirit, you can turn becoming a minimalist into a lifelong sport with immeasurable rewards.
Hopefully, with these tips, you're more than ready to jump into your minimalist journey.