As we get older our life gets simpler, right? Sometimes yes, sometimes not so much.
If you’re finding that the fabulous 50s and sensational 60s (and 70s) are still filled with more stuff, more distraction, and more stress than you envisioned at this time in your life, you might want to know how to minimize your life and go forward with a pared-down, simpler lifestyle.
And no, it doesn’t mean that you give away all of your possessions and start living in an RV…unless of course, that’s your goal and if it is, awesome!
Minimizing and simplifying your life means recovering the focus that might have gotten lost in the shuffle of life over the years. Just because we’re getting older doesn’t mean that our lives wander from day to day with no plan or focus.
Let’s look at the benefits of a simplified lifestyle and a more focused life, and then discuss how to make that happen.
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- 10 Benefits of Living a Minimized Lifestyle
- How to Minimize Your Life in 3 Main Areas
10 Benefits of Living a Minimized Lifestyle
1. More time for yourself
One of the benefits of living a minimized lifestyle is that you’ll have more time for yourself. With fewer possessions and less clutter (most of us have too much stuff), you won’t have to spend as much time cleaning and organizing.
You’ll also have more time to do the things you love, like spending time with your family and friends, pursuing your hobbies, and other meaningful pursuits.
I know this to be true, my friend. At one time, my husband and I owned two residences and both were filled with really cool stuff, but a lot of it. As time went by and the economy changed as well as our goals, we simplified our lifestyle drastically.
After my husband passed away I continued to pare down, reassess, and be very cautious about what I chose to add into my home and life. A simple lifestyle absolutely allows for more ‘you’ time, or for you and your spouse. It’s just plain easier to manage.
2. More time for your loved ones
In our busy lives, it can be easy to forget about the people who matter most to us. When you live a minimalist lifestyle, you’ll have more time for your loved ones. You’ll be able to spend quality time with them, without having to worry about the distractions of everyday life.
For you, it might be friendships and relationships that need renewing or repairing. What is most important is that you’ll have the ability to focus on others that you care so much about.
3. Less stress
When you’re surrounded by clutter, it can be hard to relax and de-stress. This is because our minds are constantly being bombarded with thoughts of all the things we need to do.
When you live a simpler lifestyle, you’ll have less clutter and fewer things to worry about, with less mental stress. This will allow you to relax and de-stress more easily. And, the real bonus is that you’ll be able to find things much more easily!
Does a simplified lifestyle guarantee that every day will be rosy and you’ll never have to worry about anything again? Of course not. But you’ll set yourself up for a more relaxed and focused day-to-day with the ability to deal with the unexpected in a healthier way.
4. More money
Having too many possessions can be expensive. Not only do you have to pay for the items themselves, but you also have to pay for storage, insurance, and repairs. When you live a minimalist lifestyle, you’ll have fewer possessions and will save money in the long run.
If you are someone who pays for a storage unit (or some other type of off-premises storage) because you just can’t bear to let things go, your wallet knows exactly what this means!
With an honest, and sometimes painful, evaluation of your possessions, the ultimate result will be a tangible increase in your bank balance.
5. A cleaner home
A cluttered home can be difficult to keep clean. When you have fewer possessions, your home will be easier to keep clean and organized.
This will give you more time to enjoy your home, instead of feeling like you’re always cleaning. And you’ll enjoy more space, literally and figuratively, when the clutter is gone.
6. Fewer distractions
In our fast-paced lives, it can be hard to focus on what’s important. We’re constantly being bombarded with distractions, whether it’s from our phones, the television, or social media.
When you minimize your life, you’ll have fewer distractions and will be able to focus on what’s important to you.
Look back over the last 24 to 48 hours and think about the time you’ve spent on your phone with texts, email, social media, etc. How about on the iPad or computer? What about TV time?
When we make a conscious decision to step away from those types of distractions, or set a schedule and stick to it, there is a sense of freedom that comes along with it.
7. More meaningful possessions
When you live a simpler lifestyle, you’ll only keep the things that are important to you, the most important stuff. This means that your possessions will be more meaningful to you and will bring you joy. The non essential things can move on.
Getting to this point in your life can take some time and a lot of effort, but it’s worth it.
8. A simpler life
In our society, we’re often told that more is better.
But when you live a simple lifestyle, you’ll realize that this isn’t always the case. You’ll find that a simpler life can be more fulfilling and your daily life more satisfying.
9. More time for experiences
Instead of spending your money on things, you can use it to experience new things. When you minimize your life, you’ll have more money to spend on travel, dining out, and other experiences.
Or, you may decide to donate more free time and energy as well as monetary resources to the things that you care about the most.
10. A more sustainable lifestyle
Our society is built on consumerism. But when we buy things we don’t need, it has a negative impact on the environment. When you live a minimized lifestyle, you’ll be living a more sustainable lifestyle.
You’ll be using fewer resources and producing less waste.
How to Minimize Your Life in 3 Main Areas
There are 3 distinct areas of our lives that can be evaluated and pondered over when we’re taking steps to minimize our life – our home, our personal belongings, and our physical/emotional self.
It’s not about just the things you can see, feel, and touch in your life. A simpler, minimized lifestyle also touches your heart, your emotions, and your well-being.
1. Determine what you need and want
The first step to minimizing your life is to determine what you need and want. What is worth keeping?
Take some time to think about the things that are important to you and make a list of the things you can’t live without.
2. Let go of the emotions attached to your things
One of the hardest parts of living a minimalist lifestyle is letting go of the emotions attached to our possessions. We often hold onto things because they remind us of a happy memory or a loved one.
But if we keep these things, we’re only holding onto the past. Instead, we should cherish the memories and let go of the things.
3. Simplify your space
Start by decluttering your home, one room at a time. Get rid of the things you don’t need or use. Donate, sell, or recycle these items. Here is an article that will give you more details and how-to’s for downsizing and decluttering your home.
Once your home is decluttered, you can start simplifying other areas of your life, such as your schedule and your relationships.
4. Find new storage options
When the goal is to live a simpler, minimal style, you’ll still have things that are important to keep, serve a function, and are essential to have readily available.
Find ways to store these things in a way that keeps them out of sight and minimizes the clutter, yet has them close at hand.
This might mean closet or drawer organizers, repurposing existing drawer or cabinet space, or utilizing that recently cleaned-out area for things that truly matter. It’s amazing the storage spaces you can find or create when you really make the effort.
Your Personal Stuff
I don’t know about you, but my closet can seem to take on a life of its own. Just when I think I’ve purged, donated, recycled, and downsized the myriad of clothes, shoes, and accessories that live in there, it’s time to do it all over again.
The bottom line is this: I know that I’m the only person adding to the wardrobe – it’s not like the little closet fairies are fluttering around during the night, adding pants, tops, and shoes when I’m slumbering.
And it’s not only the closet that needs a thorough going over. All of the small stuff in the dresser drawers, the jewelry, the “this and that” that I throw into a nightstand drawer because I might want to use it again someday…some of those purges are tough because they are attached to memories.
But I look at it this way: I’ll always carry the memories in my heart, whether or not I am holding something in my hand.
1. Determine what you use and need
The first step is to determine what you actually use and need. Go through your clothes (closet and drawers) and get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the last year, or maybe even in the last 6 months.
Donate or sell these items. Do the same with your other belongings, such as your books, movies, and gadgets.
Be ruthless in your determination to simplify and minimize the belongings.
2. Understand your personal style
Sometimes we gather clothes and accessories that aren’t really a true representation of our personal style.
Once you have confidence in the colors and styles that are really “you”, it’s easier to make good decisions and pass on the items that inevitably will end up in the donation bin.
Going forward, be very careful about what you add to your wardrobe (including the accessories). One simple approach is to remove one item for every item you add, so the total number of belongings remains constant. Or, try using the capsule wardrobe philosophy for a few months and see how that works for you.
3. Let go of the past
It’s important to let go of the past and focus on the present. We often hold onto things because they remind us of a happy memory or a loved one. But if we keep these things, we’re only holding onto the past.
Look at it this way: cherish the memories and let go of the things. Or consider keeping just one or two of the most precious items and not an entire box.
Your Physical/Emotional Self
1. Set boundaries
One of the best ways to simplify and minimize your life is to set boundaries. Decide what’s important to you and say no to the things that aren’t. Sometimes it can seem selfish when we say no to something or someone. But if we determine that it is outside of our personal boundaries, it is the healthiest decision for us to make.
This will help you focus on the things that are important to you and will allow you to live with less stress daily.
2. Stick to a routine
Create and stick to a routine. This will help you minimize the amount of decision-making you have to do each day. You’ll know what’s important to you and what isn’t, and you’ll be able to better focus on your goals.
If you haven’t established a morning routine I highly recommend it. Starting each day with purpose and focus has so many benefits, and will quickly become an essential part of your life. Healthy habits are awesome!
3. Clear out the social media
When considering how to minimize your life, most of us will need to give careful, honest evaluation of the time spent on our electronics and social media, as touched on in the previous section.
Think of it as a way of clearing out and decluttering your mind, as well as freeing up the time that is spent on things that are probably not important or beneficial.
Minimalism is a lifestyle choice that involves living with less in order to focus on what’s important to you. It’s not just about getting rid of your possessions-it’s about freeing yourself from the things that are holding you back.
Many people have found that living with less stuff, perhaps a smaller space, and fewer obligations results in reduced stress and a more fulfilling, enjoyable life.
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