16 minimalist lifestyle tips: Life-changing hacks for a simpler life

by Anousheh

So you want to start simplifying your life? Living it with more intention, and only the things that bring value to you? First of all, yay, welcome to the club! I know this is going to be a life-changing process for you.

But I also know that sometimes you can get stuck or the journey feels a little overwhelming. The good news is: You are not alone! And you also don’t need to figure it all out by yourself. That’s exactly what I’m here for.

In this post, I will give you 16 extremely valuable minimalist lifestyle tips that you can implement on your journey to minimalism.

16 life-changing minimalist lifestyle tips

How do I start living a minimalist lifestyle?

Leading a minimalist lifestyle essentially means that you are living your life with intention. We all want to live a joyful life, but a lot of people take different approaches on their road to happiness.

The minimalist lifestyle approaches fulfillment by actively only choosing the things in your life that serve you.

It is about owning only the things that make your life better, and not letting your possessions take control of you.

By doing this, you can remove the distractions in your life and focus on your values and the things that have actual meaning to you.

And who knows, you might actually be further in your minimalist journey than you think. Want to find out? Take a look at these 9 signs you might already be on your way to being a minimalist person.

But even if you want to embrace the minimalist lifestyle, it can be quite hard in the beginning. Where do you start? What’s important and what isn’t? Let’s bring some clarity into this! These 16 minimalist lifestyle tips will make it easy and actionable for you to get one step closer to living a simpler life.

Minimalist lifestyle tips for decluttering

1. Take pictures

person taking a picture with a smartphone

When it comes to decluttering, especially sentimental items, this is always my go-to tip. A lot of the time, we are scared to let go of something because we think we might need to reference it at some point. Or it triggers a precious memory for us.

That really isn’t reason enough to live in a house full of clutter. Most often, a picture will do it as well. Taking pictures of things you can then get rid of can also act as a kind of transitional stage. You don’t really want the item anymore, but you’re not quite ready to let go of the content or the emotional value. By taking a picture of the item, it makes it easier for you to part with it.

And maybe at one point, you realize the item, and now also the picture didn’t actually have any value to you. So eventually you can get rid of the picture as well. Or you will find that looking at a picture of a wedding invitation triggers the same exact memory as having the card itself.

Taking pictures is hands down one of my favorite minimalist lifestyle tips.

2. Decide what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of

If someone has a lot of stuff and wants to start decluttering, but struggles with the process of decluttering itself, my first tip is always the same. Instead of trying to decide what you can get rid of, go through your things and decide what you want to keep.

I know you might be thinking “Well, how is there a difference?” The thing is, deciding against something is so much harder to do than actively choosing something.

There’s a difference between making a decision and making a choice.

According to a Forbes article, choice connects to the place of desired intention, values, and beliefs. Decision connects to the place of behavior, performance, and consequences.

That is exactly why we can feel scared or overwhelmed when getting rid of things because we are afraid of the consequences. If you are making active choices, they will be aligned with your values and the way you want to live your life.

And that is how you should choose what you want to surround yourself with: based on your core values.

3. Work with 4 piles along the process: Keep, sell, donate, trash

person going through a pile of clothes

I know, I know, decluttering can get messy. A lot of people even feel like they’re making things worse in the process because now there are piles of clutter everywhere!

We want to stop that feeling of overwhelm as it might make you stop the process altogether. Also, I’m all about making life as easy as humanly possible.

So from the very beginning, work with 4 piles: one with things to keep, one with things you could still sell, one with things you might be able to donate, and the last one will be obvious trash.

Doing this will make the next steps so much easier because you already decided what to do with each item. It will also stop you from just leaving all your clutter in one huge pile until you can be bothered to deal with it.

You can now tackle all your things at once. Throw out all the trash at once. Start taking pictures of everything you want to sell and upload them at once. The key here is batch-working, and it will save you so much time and effort.

4. Start with the trash

Now, you read tip #3. So you are working with designated piles, one of them being trash.

And this is the pile I want you to deal with first. Throw away the trash. Immediately. Don’t leave it lying around.

This will give you a really quick win while decluttering. And it will also make you see an instant result, which is what keeps you going. The concept is called instant gratification, and I talk about it more in my post on how to start decluttering when overwhelmed.

5. Handle sentimental items last

Now while we are handling the trash first, you should deal with sentimental items last. When you’re decluttering, move from trash to most precious items.

For one, your decluttering journey is also a learning process. You are getting used to parting with stuff the more you do it. And parting with things that have sentimental value to you will be the hardest.

And also, you have already seen progress and how good it feels to free yourself of all that clutter. And this feeling will give you the ability to also part with stuff that has meaning to you.

If you are especially struggling with emotional things, you can find more tips in my post on decluttering sentimental items.

6. Assign a home for every item

kitchen with an open cupboard with dishes, glasses and kitchen supplies

Okay, so this is one of the minimalist lifestyle tips that will actually make your efforts last. I can’t even tell you how many times I heard these words: “I decluttered my entire apartment, and now 3 months later everything looks cluttered again!”

Well, my friend, that is probably because you didn’t assign a home to all the items you kept. Doing this is crucial to having a home that always looks tidy. And it also makes it sooo easy to maintain!

By assigning a fixed home to everything you own, you don’t ever have to think about where to put your things. And even if things get out of hand, and your house looks like a huge mess, I promise you it will take so much less time to tidy if you know where everything is going.

7. Ask yourself questions

While you are deciding what to keep and what to toss, the easiest way to make these decisions is by asking yourself questions. A ton of questions. Have a full-on conversation with yourself, just like you would with a friend. This will help you get to the bottom of why you’re holding on to certain things.

Ask yourself:

  • Have I used this in the last 6 months?
  • Does it make my life easier?
  • Do I have something that practically does the same thing?
  • Would I buy it again?

Asking yourself “Should I keep this?” can get tiring. Ask the right questions, and finding your way to a minimalist lifestyle will get so much easier. It will also help you get to the bottom of your relationship with material things, which will support your journey to living an intentional life.

8. Work with a guideline

desk with a cup of coffee and person going through a notebook

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are many who have walked the walk before you (me, for example) and now know how you can get to living a minimal life easier and quicker than if you try to figure it out on your own.

So use a guideline on your journey that will not only give you all the minimalist lifestyle tips on the way but also show you exactly what to do. Depending on where you are at right now, it could be a quick win like this post on 37 things to declutter right now.

Or maybe you want more of a challenge or are ready for a bigger project. In this case, join my 30-day decluttering challenge.

Either way, use a plan or guideline to make the process easier for yourself.

9. Get an accountability partner

Everything is easier when you do it with somebody else. So find someone who also wants to simplify and minimize their life and do it together!

Not only will this make things more fun, but it will also make both of you more accountable. Because now that you’re in it together, you kinda have to follow through, right?

Minimalist lifestyle tips for beginners

10. Get started right now!

Let’s get the obvious out of the way here. You can read up on all the minimalist lifestyle tips out there. But the one and the only thing that’s going to get you closer to your goal is to start taking action.

So get started right now and don’t wait until you’re ready, or until you’re moving, or until you have the time… Even if it’s the tiniest step, start immediately.

Because every step you take, no matter how small, gets you one step closer to living a more intentional life.

11. Work with categories

Especially in the beginning, getting rid of a lot of stuff can feel overwhelming. So instead of tackling your whole apartment at once, or even one entire room at once, I recommend working with categories and starting there.

Categories could be “skincare items”, “underwear” or “books”. Whatever makes sense in your situation. This will also help you get an overview of everything you own and gives you a perspective on what you actually need.

12. Don’t start too big

big white kitchen

I know you have aaall the motivation right now. You want to change your life, and you want it now. I’ve seen this so many times. People wanting to declutter their entire apartment within one weekend or even a week.

That’s probably not going to work. You are setting yourself up to feel absolutely overwhelmed and you probably won’t ever start. And even if you do start, you might get discouraged fast because you’re not seeing progress.

Our brains can’t make that many decisions this fast. You will get fatigued, and making decisions will get harder and harder. We don’t want to do that. So start with small steps.

13. Go digital wherever you can

This does not only belong with minimalist lifestyle tips, but also eco-friendly ones. Start going digital wherever possible.

Check your physical mail regularly and see what you’re getting. Probably a lot of bills, some promotional mail, or just general information from providers. For each one, try to find out if there is a digital option. And for the promotional mail, let’s opt-out of those, shall we?

Not only does this save paper and clutter, it also makes it really easy for you to manage.

You can also go digital with all the paper and files you already have. I talk more about this in my post on how to organize paper clutter and paperwork at home.

14. Set yourself a daily time limit

hourglass on table

Especially for beginners, I find this to be one of the best minimalist lifestyle tips to give. As we have already discussed, you can easily set yourself up for failure by starting to big.

A great way to naturally prevent this is to set yourself a daily time limit on how long you want to spend decluttering and minimizing. The limit can depend on how fast you want to move forward, how much you have to declutter, and also how easily you get overwhelmed.

You can go with 15 minutes, 30 minutes or even an hour a day. In the beginning, I wouldn’t go with much longer. After the time is up, you stop. Doing this will automatically divide your decluttering journey into little bite-size pieces.

It will prevent you from getting caught up and draining yourself from decluttering for too long. Also, you are less likely to procrastinate, because you know it’s only 15 or 30 minutes and then you’re done for the day.

15. Take your time

Living a minimalist lifestyle isn’t something you just start doing in a day. It’s a journey, a process. So allow yourself the time to get there, and don’t rush things.

If you try to force a minimal apartment on yourself within a short timeframe, you are likely to rebound to your old ways. Your brain needs time to realize the impact and freedom of living with less clutter. Give it that.

16. Don’t be too hard on yourself

note on table: how we live is what makes us real

And on the same note, this will be the final one of these 16 minimalist lifestyle tips: Don’t be so hard on yourself!

Take off the pressure of having to live with only 100 items in your household, only because you saw some minimalist do that. You don’t need to do that. What you’re trying to do is make your life better. YOURS! You want to get rid of the things that don’t serve you. 

So do this within your means and your time. We are trying to make a positive impact here, not a stressful one.

What has been helpful for you on your journey? Share your favorite minimalist lifestyle tips in the comments below!

Want to save this post so you can always go back to these minimalist lifestyle tips when you need them? Pin it to your Minimalism Board for later!

16 minimalist lifestyle tips: life-changing hacks for a simpler life

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