Do you want to simplify and clear the clutter from your life? Here are 20 of my favourite minimalist living tips to help you get started.
These days, it feels like more people than ever are interested in pursuing a minimalist lifestyle. They’re busy and stressed, juggling work, family, home and more—with seemingly no end in sight. Is it any wonder that they want to simplify?
I know the feeling because I’ve been there. A decade ago I was a workaholic and shopaholic, drowning in a sea of too many responsibilities. I knew there had to be a better way to live but I didn’t know how or where to begin.
If this sounds familiar, then I hope you’ll enjoy this post. Here are 20 minimalist living tips that I wish I had known when I was just starting to simplify my life.
20 Tips for Minimalist Living
Minimalism is about being intentional with what you allow in your life. It’s a way of living that answers the question, “How can we have more of what matters and less of everything else?”
It involves decluttering your home but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. As you read these minimalist living tips, I encourage you to go deeper: look at your schedule, your relationships, your spending habits and even your thoughts.
You may be surprised by the many ways that minimalism can impact your life.
BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO ACHIEVE
What are you trying to achieve by simplifying your life?
I know you want a decluttered home but take it a step further. What does clutter-free living represent? What is your motivation for simplifying?
- Is it more time with your family?
- Do you want to spend less time cleaning?
- Are you paying off debt or saving for something special?
Be as specific as possible. The more clarity you have about why you want to embrace minimalism, the easier it will be to stay focused and motivated.
SET A SIMPLE MINIMALISM GOAL
If you feel stuck, choose one aspect of minimalist living that’s important to you. Then set a simple but meaningful goal to work towards.
For example, if you want to spend more time with your loved ones, what’s a simple way to achieve this? Could you leave work 10 minutes earlier? Or get pizza one night a week?
If you need more ideas, here are six minimalism goals worth pursuing.
PRACTICE BEING HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
Minimalist living is about slowing the pursuit of more and finding peace with enough.
Part of this process is learning to be happy with what you have. The more you appreciate what you already own, the less you’ll need new things to satisfy you. Creating a regular gratitude practice is a great way to get started.
DOWNLOAD MY FREE DECLUTTERING GUIDE
Mindful Decluttering is my free decluttering guide. It includes step-by-step instructions, personal stories (you’ll learn from my mistakes!), a troubleshooting guide and a helpful workbook.
To get your copy simply subscribe using the below form. As an added bonus, you’ll also get my newsletter with more tips and inspiration (but don’t worry, you can unsubscribe anytime).
EXPERIMENT WITH MINIMALISM IN THE KITCHEN
CULTIVATE A MINIMALIST MINDSET
After nearly a decade, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about minimalist living is that it’s a two-part process.
On the one hand, there’s the practical work like decluttering your home—but you can’t stop there. You also have to do the inner work of cultivating a minimalist mindset. This is the key to creating sustainable, long-term change.
Here are some helpful resources if you want to explore this further:
- Why Your Life is Busy + Cluttered (Plus What to Do About It)
- 5 Essential Mindsets for Simple Living
- Clear Your Clutter (Minimalist Living Course)
KNOW WHERE IT GOES … BEFORE YOU BUY
A quick tip that will stop clutter from entering your home: Before you buy anything new, decide exactly where it will live. If you can’t picture where it will go, then don’t buy it!
LET GO OF “PERFECT”
When I first started exploring minimalism, I had this vision of my “perfect” minimalist life. This vision was fueled by what I saw online … perfect capsule wardrobes on Pinterest, perfect Scandi styled homes on Instagram, and perfect relaxing afternoons described by every minimalist blog (or at least, that’s what I choose to see).
I wanted a perfect “simple” life so badly but the irony is that minimalism couldn’t be further from perfect. Instead, it’s often about settling for good enough.
- Why shop for the perfect pair of jeans when I have two decent pairs already?
- Why spend hours creating a perfect home when I could be spending time with family?
- Why continue colouring my hair a perfect shade when nature gifted me with grey highlights?
Minimalist living is not compatible with perfection but that’s OK because perfect isn’t real. Let go of stressful expectations and embrace wholehearted joy instead.
CREATE SIMPLE DAILY ROUTINES
Make minimalism part of your everyday life by creating simple routines.
These routines should reflect what matters most to you. It’s an easy way to make sure the important things are always taken care of and not left on the backburner.
MAKE SIMPLIFYING FUN
Don’t get caught thinking “I’ll enjoy life once I’m done simplifying” because it doesn’t work that way.
You’ll never be done because you’re human and life is messy. The world around you is always changing and what matters to you will probably change too.
This means minimalism is a journey, not a destination—so make it fun and enjoy the ride.
- Play decluttering games or participate in challenges (there are some fun ideas here).
- Use the time you “declutter” to enjoy the simple things
- Slow down long enough to enjoy your new clutter-free spaces before rushing to your next project
- Relax and don’t compare your version of minimalism with anyone else
DECLUTTER YOUR MIND
A decluttered mind is arguably more important than a decluttered home. Here are some tips on how to get started.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO CUT YOUR LOSSES
Do you keep things you don’t use because you feel bad about the wasted money?
If so, keep in mind the ongoing costs. Why are you continuing to spend time, energy, and even more money caring, storing, and cleaning your things?
Plus there’s the emotional cost of hanging on. How do you feel when you look around your home and see clutter? Is it really worth it?
Money spent is money spent. Cut your losses and move on—you’ll be better off in the long run.
DO WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU
When I first attempted to declutter my closet, I tried a popular method that you’ve probably heard about before. It involves taking everything out, going through each item one at a time, and sorting into piles (keep, mend, or toss).
I know this works for a lot of people but it completely overwhelmed me. Every attempt ended in tears … until I gave myself permission to take a different approach to closet decluttering.
I learned that there’s no “one best way” when it comes to minimalist living. There’s a lot of advice out there so be flexible, try new things and do what works best for YOU.
PRACTICE SELF-KINDNESS + FORGIVENESS
Minimalist living requires coming face to face with many of our past mistakes. This can lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment.
When this happens (and it will happen), practice self-kindness and forgive yourself. It’s the only way to move forward.
QUESTION YOUR “HAVE TO’S”
There are so many things in life we think we “have to” do … but do we really?
- Do you have to own a car?
- Do you have to reply to that email?
- Do you have to attend that meeting?
- Do you have to vacuum today?
Sometimes there are things we genuinely need to do but probably not as often as you think. Don’t be afraid to challenge your first response. Are you being honest with yourself? Or are you responding out of habit?
If you’re not sure, experiment with letting go and see what happens. You might find you’re creating a lot of self-imposed deadlines and stress where it’s not required.
SAY “NO” TO IMPULSE SHOPPING
Impulsive, emotional purchases almost always lead to more clutter in our homes.
You can say “no” to impulse shopping by planning to shop (at designated times with a written list) and by identifying your shopping triggers (what drives your desire to shop and how else can you respond?).
For more advice on how to stop shopping, check out:
- 4 Reasons Why You Can’t Stop Shopping + What To Do About It
- 6 Tips on How to Stop Mindless Shopping
- How to Stop Buying Clothes You Never Wear
CONSIDER THE “OPPORTUNITY TEST”
Imagine that tomorrow, you were offered a dream opportunity—a trip of a lifetime or a new job in another state. Could you take it? Or would you feel too burdened by your stuff and commitments.
SET PERSONAL BOUNDARIES
An easy way to simplify is by setting boundaries—in your home, schedule, relationships and more. Using your values as your guide, write your own rules.
- How much time are you willing (and able) to spend on unpaid work?
- How much space will you devote to storing seasonal holiday decorations?
- How much can you afford to spend on eating take-away meals?
- How many pairs of shoes do you really need?
There are no right or wrong answers but putting intentional thought into these types of questions will make your life easier. Boundaries reduce decision fatigue and empower you to act in your own best interest.
DO ONE THING AT AT TIME
If you want to embrace minimalist living then you must say goodbye to multi-tasking.
Doing one thing at a time is the simplest way to create ease in your life and the best part is, you can get started today. It does require practice but keep going and it will get easier with time.
GET COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE
Clutter can be suffocating … but it’s also comfortable. Whether we realise it or not, the things we own buffer our fears and anxieties.
A designer handbag validates your success. A full bookshelf demonstrates your education. A 12 piece dining set implies an active social life.
Our stuff tells a story and without it, we feel vulnerable. We’re forced to face the world as our true selves and it’s uncomfortable at first—especially if you’re not expecting it.
But don’t turn away from the discomfort. Instead, embrace it and you’ll discover the most surprising way decluttering improves your life. I promise, it’s worth it.
What are your favourite minimalist living tips? Is there anything you wish you could tell your younger self? Let us know in the comments!