Are you struggling with too much stuff? These powerful yet unexpected minimalist lifestyle tips will help you live a meaningful life —one with less clutter and more of what matters.
I’ve been pursuing a minimalist lifestyle for nearly a decade now, but it hasn’t always been easy for me. In fact, it took me years to go from “wanting to be a minimalist” to actually following through and making any noticeable changes in my life.
It was often a case of one step forward, two steps back. I’d declutter a few bags of stuff one weekend … only to find myself in Target a few days later, filling my cart to the brim with more things that I didn’t really need.
It was so frustrating because I knew I was acting against my own best interest. I was tired of settling and I wanted something different for myself, but I just didn’t know how to change the habits of a lifetime.
It took a while but fortunately, I eventually had a breakthrough—and that’s what I want to share with you today.
The Minimalist Mindset
The *spark* that changed everything was realising that minimalist living is about so much more than just decluttering—in the same way that healthy living is about so much more than just dieting.
Of course, owning fewer things is an important part of minimalism. But binge decluttering without fundamentally changing your mindset is like crash dieting—it doesn’t last and “stuff” will eventually creep back into your life (spoken from personal experience!).
I really started to change my life when I stopped thinking about minimalism in terms of what I couldn’t have (a mindset that relies on willpower) and started viewing it as an intentional choice to have more of what matters. I wasn’t giving up anything. Instead, I was making space for the important things and taking the first steps towards creating a life I truly love.
If this resonates with you, then these minimalist lifestyle tips that will help you grow this mindset and move forward on your journey.
6 Minimalist Lifestyle Tips
1. Get clear on what matters
If you want to have more of what really matters in your life, then you need to start by knowing … what really matters in your life!
This is why the first step on your minimalism journey isn’t decluttering. Instead, it’s creating a clear understanding of your values and priorities. Reflect on your life and ask yourself what’s important?
What makes you feel happy, proud, and loved? What fuels your heart and gets you out of bed in the morning?
There are no right or wrong answers because different people care about different things, and that is absolutely okay. Whatever your priorities in life, make them a daily focus and use this mindset to frame your minimalist decisions in a positive light. Here are some examples:
- Instead of saying “no” to shopping, try saying “yes” to being debt free and financially secure.
- Instead of saying “no” to going out every weekend, try saying “yes” to spending more time with your loved ones.
- Instead of saying “no” to perfectionism, try saying “yes” to self-love and care.
Master this way of thinking and I can almost guarantee that minimalist living will begin to feel like a natural choice.
Related Post: How Minimalism Helped Me Become Debt Free
2. Make self-care a priority
You probably already know that self-care is important—but did you know that it’s absolutely essential for minimalist living?
Consider this: when I’m feeling insecure, worn out or overwhelmed by life, I find myself going into survival mode. This means I’m not thinking intentionally about my choices. Instead, I’m looking for quick and easy ways to feel better and I end up doing things like:
- snacking on junk food
- getting snappy with my loved ones
- or the good old “buying things to cheer myself up”
I’m just trying to get through the day, and I’m too tired to care about anything else—especially minimalism. Instead, I rely on my old shopping habits or other quick fixes.
But of course, new things only make you feel better for so long. A better solution is prevention.
When I make self-care a priority, I have less mental clutter and less stress, which means it is easier to take a minimalist approach to life.
3. Spend more on experiences
One of the greatest benefits of minimalism is that you have more free time and energy for fun experiences. And most of the people I talk to know this. After all, we’ve all heard the quote “collect moments, not things”!
But here is the problem: most people are also waiting far too long to start enjoying those moments.
I think it’s because people often confuse the concept of minimalism with frugal living. And I understand because minimalism can be very good for your bank account!
But you don’t be too frugal—especially in the beginning. Why? Because the more you enjoy the benefits of lifestyle changes, the more motivated you’ll be to keep going. It’s almost like you have to reprogram your brain to stop finding joy in material possessions.
Of course, there are a ton of fun things that you can do for free (like hiking or museums) but at the same time, I’m mindful that minimalism can be hard at first. The transition to “experiences over things” might be challenging at first, so do what you can to stack the odds in your favour.
Plan trips away, nights out with friends, or unique adventures like wine tours or art classes. Start working your way through your bucket list and get reacquainted with the joy of doing things vs owning things.
Obviously, take your financial situation into account, but if there’s some room to play, then do it—and have fun!
4. Experiment with mindfulness
Have you ever thought: “All I need is _______ and I’ll be happy?”
If so, you’re definitely not alone. This mindset was one of the biggest challenges I faced on my road to minimalism.
I knew I wanted to own less—but I kept telling myself I just need a few more things first. A new winter coat, a new pair of shoes … there was always something else I needed before I’d be ready to get started with minimalism.
(You may recognise this as the “last meal before the diet starts” syndrome!)
But of course, as I’m sure you can guess, there was always ONE MORE THING I couldn’t live without. I felt stuck in a never-ending cycle.
And why was this? Because I wasn’t living in the present.
Instead of paying attention to my behaviour and feeling gratitude for everything I already owned and loved, my attention lived in an imaginary future. A fantasyland … where a new dress or some other purchase would magically solve all my problems.
But minimalism means learning to live for today. I had to learn to practice gratitude and appreciate the little things, instead of wishing my life away. I started meditating, journaling, and doing activities I love such as painting and yoga.
Slowly, I began to feel content with what I already had and I stopped feeling like I constantly needed more to be happy.
Related Post: 10 Simple Pleasures That Make Life Beautiful
5. Make peace with slow progress
If you’ve read this far, it’s probably because you’re serious about wanting to change your life. And I understand—you were ready for change yesterday— not tomorrow, or next week, or next month. You want your life to look and feel different, and it’s hard to be patient.
But let me tell you a story.
When I was 22, I rather impulsively packed everything I owned into a backpack and travelled the world for two years. I was accidentally dabbling in “extreme minimalism”, and I felt free and light. It was a wonderful time in my life.
Then I got married and settled down, and what do you think happened?
I moved into a gigantic three-bedroom apartment, drove an empty moving van to Ikea, and filled every inch of my new home. I even turned my guest bedroom into a walk-in closet (which I needed to house my shoe collection … I had over 100 pairs).
The moral of this embarrassing story is that change can take time. Sometimes we have to learn the same lesson over and over before it clicks, and that’s normal.
In fact, it’s more than “normal”. It’s actually how we learn.
Put it this way—if you somehow managed to declutter your entire house overnight, you’d still be mostly the same person the next day. You wouldn’t have learned anything from the experience so there’s a good chance you’ll fall back into old habits. (Remember the one step forward, two steps back?)
It’s OK to take small steps. Work at your own pace and instead of getting frustrated, treat your “failures” as opportunities to learn. Be patient and, of course, kind to yourself.
6. Reflect on how far you’ve come
Finally, if patience isn’t your strong point (and it certainly isn’t mine) learn to reflect and revel in your achievements.
Celebrate even your smallest victories:
- when you resist browsing the clearance rack
- when you donate your unused ski gear to charity
- when you set clear and healthy personal boundaries
These things might not feel important, but they’re evidence that you’re creating new habits. And sure—you might not have the minimalist home of your dreams yet—but you are trying and that matters
So turn your focus towards how far you’ve come, and stop stressing about how far you’ve got to go.
This mindset is important because honestly, there is no finish line. Minimalism is about creating space in your life and, unless you want to live in a cave away from humanity, you’ll never be “done”.
There will always be new demands of your time, energy and space, which is why I think minimalism is a constant cycle of reviewing your values, assessing your life, and adjusting accordingly.
It’s a new way of thinking and living—there will always be work to do, but there will always be things to celebrate too!
More Tips on Becoming a Minimalist
If you want to learn more about my minimalist story, or you want more simple tips on minimalist living, check out:
- Minimalism Before and After: How It Changed My Life
- 20 Minimalism Do’s and Don’ts
- How to be a Minimalist: 5 Things Not to Do + What to Do Instead
- 20 Minimalist Wardrobe Tips: How to Have a Minimalist Closet
- How to Create a Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe (A Complete Guide)
Or feel free to check out my signature decluttering course, Clear Your Clutter.
I’d love to hear any of your stories or tips you’ve learned on your minimalist journey. Let me know in the comments! x