If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good checklist—especially when I’m about to take on a big project or lifestyle change. Sometimes it’s just so nice to have someone tell you exactly what to do and what to worry about!
This is why I decided to put together this minimalist lifestyle checklist for you. I know from conversations with many readers that a lot of you feel excited about the idea of minimalism … but you also feel overwhelmed about how to get started.
If you can relate to this feeling, then you’re in the right place. This checklist is perfect for anyone just getting started with minimalism—and for those who have been walking this path for a while but feel a little lost. After all, it never hurts to get back to the basics of minimalist living!
Let’s dive right in.
Minimalist Lifestyle Checklist
I’ve broken this checklist into three parts:
- Preparing For Minimalism: The Foundations
- Creating the Habit of Minimalist Living
- Building A Strong + Sustainable Minimalist Lifestyle
Preparing for Minimalism
DEFINE WHAT MINIMALISM MEANS TO YOU
Ok friends, the most important thing you need to know about minimalism is that it’s not about owning a certain number of things or achieving a certain design aesthetic. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t become a minimalist by decluttering your home.
Instead, you become a minimalist when you start thinking like a minimalist.
Minimalists know what matters most to them. They know their values and priorities and they choose to align their lives accordingly. This is their “vision” of minimalism and it fuels all of their life decisions.
So what’s your vision? What does minimalism mean to you? What are you trying to achieve?
Get out a pen and paper and write this all down before you even think of decluttering your home or doing anything else to simplify your life. Don’t skip this step—I can promise you it’s the difference between creating long-term, sustainable change and making a half-hearted attempt.
BRAINSTORM WHAT NEEDS SIMPLIFYING
Next, it’s time for a brainstorm. Take a few minutes to think about all the areas of your life that need simplifying. I suggest you consider:
- Your home
- Your schedule
- Your spending
- Your meals
- Your relationships
- Your work/career
I know that this might feel overwhelming at first but that’s OK. The point is to get all of your ideas out of your head—this will free up mental space in the long run.
RELATED POST: 7 Tips to Declutter Your Mind
CHOOSE A STARTING POINT
Now that you have a vision of what you’re trying to achieve and a list of things you want to simplify, the next step is to decide where to start.
For a lot of people, this involves decluttering your home but for you, it might make more sense to start with your simplifying your spending or decluttering your schedule.
When choosing a starting point, I recommend considering:
What’s causing you the most stress or anxiety right now? Where do you need simplicity the most? If you can’t sleep because you’re struggling to pay your bills, maybe a shopping ban makes more sense than a decluttering binge.
What area of your life is most out of alignment with your vision? If you’re exploring minimalism because you want more time to spend with your family, then ask yourself specifically what you can do to create more time. For some, this might mean decluttering the living room but for others, it might mean tackling your schedule first.
What feels realistic right now, in this season of life? You know yourself best. Don’t set yourself up for failure by deciding to tackle your overflowing garage this weekend when you barely have time to take a shower. Choose a starting point that’s meaningful but also doable.
Creating the Habit of Minimalist Living
Now that you’ve taken steps to lay a strong foundation, it’s now time to create the habit of minimalist living—and it all starts with taking the first step…
TAKE THE FIRST STEP
I know that “take the first step” might sound like obvious advice but from personal experience (and from conversations with many aspiring minimalists) I also know that it’s easier said than done.
I think this is because most people aim too high, too fast. Yes—if you can declutter your entire life in a weekend—then go for it! Absolutely, give it your best shot and I’ll be cheering for you.
But if the idea of tackling a big project leaves you feeling overwhelmed, then change the goal post and start small instead.
Look at the area of your life that you’ve decided to focus on, think about your vision and ask yourself what’s the easiest way to make an impact?
What one small step can you do today to move forward?
Declutter one item, remove one task from your to-do list or unsubscribe from one shopping email—just get started.
KEEP GOING—UNTIL YOU GET STUCK
Now that you’ve taken the first step, keep going at your own pace. Remember, this isn’t a race! If you can declutter an entire room this weekend, that’s great—but if you can’t, that doesn’t mean that you’re failing or that you can’t do this. Consistency is more important than speed.
Of course, eventually, you’re going to hit a roadblock, such as:
- A sentimental item that you can’t let go of
- A big sale at your favourite store that you can’t resist
- An opportunity that you can’t say “no” to…
When this happens, here are a few resources to help you move forward.
First, if you’re struggling with a decluttering challenge, then make sure you download a copy of Mindful Decluttering, my free decluttering guide and workbook. Included are tips and advice on how to overcome some of the most common decluttering challenges.
To get your free copy, simply subscribe using the form below—and as an added bonus you’ll get regular emails from me with minimalist living tips, inspiration and personal stories.
Next, here are some tips on how to stop mindless shopping and also the story of how minimalism helped me become debt-free. I think you’ll find some helpful advice and inspiration in these blog posts.
Finally, if you’re struggling with busyness and decluttering your schedule, I’d recommend reading more about finding balance in life. This post about separating your self-worth from your to-do list is also a must-read.
REFLECT + CELEBRATE YOUR PROGRESS
Finally, I highly recommend that you set regular reminders to reflect on your progress—and perhaps more importantly, celebrate your wins!
This is so important because this is how you create new habits. After all, if you do something that feels good, then you’re more likely to keep doing it right?
And keep doing it you must, because the hard truth is you’re never done with minimalism. If you’re truly committed to simplifying your life, then you’re committed for life.
Building A Strong + Sustainable Minimalist Lifestyle
On that note, let’s talk about what’s required to build a strong and sustainable minimalist lifestyle.
AUDIT YOUR LIFE FREQUENTLY
This is essentially a repeat of the first two items on this checklist. Audit your life frequently by checking in with your vision and asking yourself—what’s out of alignment?
For example, even though I have a fairly minimalist wardrobe, earlier this week I noticed a frustration that didn’t exist a few months ago. My closet no longer reflected my needs and priorities, so it was time for a quick round of decluttering.
If you want to live a more minimalist life, these constant check-ins must be a priority. Do them often and you’ll avoid the drama of having to declutter or simplify an area that has gotten out of control.
DO MORE OF WHAT MATTERS
Minimalism is about creating space for the things that matter most… so make sure you’re following through with both sides of the equation.
In other words, make sure you’re actually living true to your vision of a minimalist life and do the fun things too. Make time for long walks, good books, extra cuddles or whatever it is that matters most to you!
RELATED POST: Don’t Wait to Enjoy The Simple Life
Minimalist Living: Simple But Not Easy
I hope you enjoyed this minimalist lifestyle checklist! I know it’s simple advice… but that’s because minimalist living IS simple: all you have to do is keep/do more of what matters and less of everything else.
Of course, in reality, it can be hard to execute. Our relationship with “stuff” is complicated, which is why I continue writing and sharing my stories. My best advice to you is to just get started, take small steps, and most importantly, not give up.
Odds are it took more than a few weeks or months to complicate your life—so give yourself time. On the road to minimalist living, patience will be your dearest friend.
Looking for a Minimalist Home or Decluttering Checklist?
Are you looking for a checklist of “20 Things You Can Declutter Today!” or something similar?
Can I be honest with you? Even though I know these types of blog posts are very popular, I’ve never written one. They don’t sit well with me because I believe that minimalism is personal—what adds value to my life might not add value to your life and that’s OK.
After all, who am I to tell you that you can’t have 10 coffee mugs or 20 pairs of shoes if it brings you genuine joy?
Ultimately, decluttering is an art—not a science. You need to decide what matters most to you and then let go of anything that doesn’t support that vision. So on that note, if I did write a minimalist decluttering checklist, it would look something like this:
- Anything you’re keeping out of guilt or obligation
- Anything that leaves you feeling drained
- Anything that’s not adding value to your life
- Anything that makes you question your self-worth
More Minimalist Lifestyle Resources
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:
- How to Be a Minimalist: 5 Things Not To Do + What To Do Instead
- 6 Gentle Reminders About Minimalism
- 20 Minimalism “Do’s and Don’ts”
- Minimalism Before And After: How It Changed My Life
- 3 Real Life Minimalist Stories That Will Inspire You
What would you add to your own “minimalist lifestyle checklist”? I’d love to hear your thoughts so let us know in the comments! x