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6 Powerful But Unexpected Minimalist Lifestyle Tips

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.

After years of failed attempts at minimalism, how did I finally make real, sustainable changes in my life? Read to find out.

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.

Quote in a white box that reads "Minimalism isn’t about owning less than you need. It’s about owning exactly what you need." - Joshua Becker
A simple minimalist tip? Define “how much is enough” for you.

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:

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

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20 thoughts on “6 Powerful But Unexpected Minimalist Lifestyle Tips”

  1. Is there a way to get the guide& workbook preprinted and mailed to me? Old school in alot of ways. Minimalism interests me on a deep level. Thank you for your time.

    • Hi Barbara, I’m sorry—because it’s a free guide I don’t have the resources to print and post it, especially because I live in Australia. Perhaps you can download it and have someone else print it locally? Take care 🙂

  2. Thank you for encouraging me to pursue what really matters in my life and sort out my priorities from there in order to fully incorporate minimalism into my lifestyle. We’ve always lived a lavish lifestyle and looking back at the years of my life made me realize that I really don’t need the extravagant things and the huge mansion I’m living in right now. It might be a good idea to start with selling our house and looking for some small mobile homes for sale where we can settle for good.

  3. I read so many blogs about people who have thrown caution to the wind and set off on their journey of discovery around the world – I absolutely love the idea of doing that!
    But when it comes down to it, all I keep thinking is – How did you fund this? How did you survive for 2 years traveling around? Where did you get your food – where did you sleep? I would really like to know the practicalities of living out of a backpack while travelling the world for 2 years! I just can’t picture how to make that work….. Do you have incredibly rich parents who funded this? Did you have an awesomely well paid job that allowed you to save up to then take off? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be a wet blanket – I would really like to know, for myself, how this can be done – please!

    • Hey Jillian! Thanks for your question and don’t worry – I completely understand why you’re asking. I actually wrote a really detailed post about how I afford to travel https://www.simplyfiercely.com/how-i-afford-to-travel/ which might answer a lot of your questions. I definitely don’t have rich parents!! The quick answer is over the years I’ve done a mix of working abroad, travelling in very cheap countries (often with a budget around $150/week) – but the post explains in a lot more detail. If you have more questions feel free to comment again and I’ll try and be more specific ?

  4. Hi Jennifer, thank you so much for this post. I found it on pinterest, and since subscribed to your blog. This spoke to me a lot, as well as a few other of your posts I have been reading. We had/have a LOT in common, and I definitely struggle with a spending addiction. While I never got in a literal debt, I would be barely getting by each month living paycheck to paycheck, when I really didn’t need to be if I was just getting what was required. I saw you mentioned the topic of fashion blogs. I know that feeds my spending addiction, but I genuinely enjoy reading a few fashion blogs and I have built a connection with the women who write them. I struggle thinking about letting go of that, do you have any tips on what to do? I am glad I found your blog, and in time maybe I can make a transition to other types of blogs.
    Based on my personality, very few people know I have this problem, yet it affects my day every day. After being open about it with my partner, I feel empowered to change my life around, and take control of my life, and create freedom!
    Thank you for your inspiring words. <3


  5. I’ve recently discovered minimalism by total accident, but it was one of the best things that could have happened. I suffer with anxiety on an on and off basis. At one point when my anxiety seemed it was the highest, we moved from a 1,400 square foot house into one bedroom of my mother in laws how while we built a shop that included 600 square foot of living space. My anxiety was going to be the death of this experience, until I found minimalism.

    Since then, we have moved into our 600 square foot shop apartment, and I have gotten rid of tons of things I thought I needed. My anxiety has gotten under control quite a bit, but I still have a little ways to go before I am where I want to be with my journey. If I would have known living a more simple lifestyle could change my mental health this much, I would have done it years ago! I’ve also started writing about my journey, and it has helped on so many levels. I still have a ways to go, and I especially realize that after reading this post.

    I’ve also challenged myself to a 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge that I created myself. Here’s the link if you would like to check it out. http://www.awelderswife.com/2016/01/30-day-minimalist-decluttering-challenge/

    • Hi Erin! Sorry for my slow reply, but thanks so much for sharing your story! It’s so inspiring to hear about how minimalism helped you with your anxiety. I love your challenge, but I’m currently travelling (and living out of a backpack) so I won’t be able to participate right now. However, I’ll share the details on my social media accounts and spread the word. All theist on your minimalist journey and thank you for commenting!

  6. This is such a great post, Jennifer! I loved the analogy of minimalism and dieting!

    With our recent move to Seattle, we’ve downsized from a 2200 sq. ft. house (with a garage and shed) to a 980 sq. ft. apartment. We went through everything we owned prior to moving and got rid of a bunch of stuff using the mantra of “If it’s not beautiful or useful then it doesn’t have value to us.”, but watching how much the movers packed up, I have a feeling that we still have a lot of decluttering left to do when we finally get to move into our apartment in two weeks. 🙂

    • Hi Mackenzie, great to hear from you 🙂 Wow, that is a big move – how exciting!!

      I love your mantra and it’s so true. I’m sure once you settle in you’ll find a sweet spot that works for your family. Thanks fro you comment and all the best xx

  7. These are all great tips! I’m a big believer in self care. If you aren’t doing well, nothing in your life is doing well. Also, experiences are huge for us, that’s why we became minimalists!

  8. I loved this post, Jennifer! The self-care tip really bowled me over, especially the line on not caring about minimalism when you don’t care for yourself. I need to work harder on that.

    Also, the “Don’t expect to change overnight” tip has a little typo.

    Will be pinning & tweeting this post! Thanks for sharing with us!

    • Hey Daisy! My hubby felt the same way about the self care tip – I guess he see’s it in me firsthand (and not just about minimalism, about other habits like healthy eating or even just positive thinking.) I’ll be addressing this in my intention plan next month!

      Thanks for your help with the typo, I need a proofreader at times! And thanks for sharing!! xx


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