Advice For Aspiring Minimalists (from the experts)
It seems we are all on a path of discovery to figure out how we want to live our lives. I love that I live with less and have the opportunity to share this journey with you.
I so value your time and appreciate that you spend a little of your precious time hearing what I have to say, and often, contributing to the conversation. Be More With Less is evolving into a thoughtful, gentle, world changing community because of you. One of the things I love about minimalism are the different degrees to which you can practice this lifestyle art.
The word minimalism can feel threatening some times, but remember, it’s just a word. It’s up to you to decide how to apply it to your life. While we may all practice it differently, the stepping stones are similar.
I asked some of my minimalist friends to offer advice for those of you considering a lifestyle living with less and focusing on the most important things. Each of these bloggers has inspired me on my journey in some way. While you are defining and redefining how you want to live your life, consider their thoughts.
Advice from the Experts – Part One
What is the most important thing people should consider before becoming a minimalist?
- Why are you doing it? Because it’s popular, or because you genuinely understand why people would want to live with (as an example) less than 100 things? It’s easy to focus on the material side of minimalism, but the real value — the real change — occurs in the new perspective on life that it brings. Matthew Madeiro of Three New Leaves
- You must ask yourself this question: Why do you feel you need to hold onto your things? Let go of your stuff and be free. At the end of your life, it is not your things you want surrounding you. It is your precious loved ones. Your priceless, memorable life experiences. Realize what you put importance into now is where your heart lies. Nina Yau of Castles in the Air
- The only important decision that needs to be made is “where to start.” Your unique practice of minimalism and the extent to which you embrace it will always change and evolve over time. The important thing is to stop reading advice, blogs, and e-books and just start removing the non-essentials. Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist
- Are you happy with a life of consumerism, clutter, stress and waste? If not, minimalism is a way to break free from that life. Leo Babauta of mnmlist.com
- Becoming a minimalist is not about stuff. If you have 1,000 personal items that each make your life better, then there is no need to get rid of them. To counter that, one must be honest with themselves as to whether the stuff they have really brings meaning & purpose to their life. David Damron of Life Excursion
- Is this the right time for life change? It was a few months of reading about people living with less before I decided to take the plunge. Life settled down and I had the time to invest in myself and donating/selling half of our belongings. I had also talked about it for long enough that my husband was comfortable with the idea. Rachel Jonat of Minimalist Mom
- For the married peeps, the most important thing to do before downsizing takes place is to discuss your plans with your spouse. It’s better not to surprise them one day by getting rid of the cars, TVs and cable without their prior knowledge. If you do this, keep the couch, because you’ll need it to sleep on! Eric LaForest of Elevated Simplicity
- Why are you doing it? Figuring out your values and clarifying your motivation is the bedrock that your whole minimalist experience is built upon. Sam Spurlin of The Simpler Life
- Consider your motivations. It’s easy to jump in and start donating, but unless you know the why behind it, you’ll be less likely to stick with it. Robyn Devine of Minimalist Knitter
- The minimalist lifestyle comes with a lot of responsibility. For one thing, you’ll have more freedom that you’ve ever experienced in your life. How you choose to use that freedom is the difference between seeking to maximize your life’s purpose or maximizing the amount of cheap thrills you experience. It’s not that much different than a young adult who goes off to college for the first time. Michael Donghia of Art of Minimalism
- Figure out why you are doing it. If you’re trying to become a minimalist because other people say it’s cool or amazing or whatever, you’re going to have a hard time with it. Do it because you believe it is going to make your life better. Dusti Arab of Minimalist Adventures
- As with all things: Is this really what I want and why do I want it? My impression is that there are a lot of people out there that want to become minimalist because it’s “the latest thing”. But real minimalism requires dedication and sacrifice. Not just getting rid of everything but “100 things”. That’s just a stepping stone. It’s about cutting away everything in your life that’s not important, everything that’s not helping you towards reaching your goals. It’s about focusing on the essentials. If you have no idea what your essentials are, you better not start with minimalism because you’d have no idea what to actually cut away. Christiaan of Mind The Beginner
This post originally contained 4 questions but because of the thoughtful responses, I’ve decided to turn this into a 4 part series. I’m not a fan of a super long post. What questions do you have for me or the experts? What do you think about their advice?
New to Be More With Less? Read more about what to expect, and this post with links to important posts and reader favorites.
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