By Paige Bintz

Are you running out of space in your closet? Is your desk over crowded with miscellaneous papers? Do you have too much on your mind? I have a solution for you! A concept called minimalism. No I’m not Billy Mays and this isn’t an infomercial pitch, but it is a movement that helps with all of these issues. So what is it? Quite simple actually: it is living your life simply. As our society progressed, we tend to put too much meaning into our material belongings. We tend to put our personal worth into what we have and not what we are.

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Minimalism allows you to release the insecurity, stress, and negativity and bring forth happiness in your life. As Harold Kushner once said, “Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.” Without the unnecessary objects in your life you can make your life matter, have the freedom to create new passions, live in the moment, and reclaim your time and space. Now that I’ve got you hooked, you’re probably asking, “How do I do this?” Well my friend, here are 7 ways to gain that freedom you deserve.

1.) Ask yourself the hard questions.

This is the hardest part of transitioning into this lifestyle. Ask yourself “why do I want to do this?”, “why am I jealous of my friends things?”, “why do I own so many clothes?”, “why am I going to another store when I have what I need at home?” Honestly answer these questions and that will make everything else a bit easier. There are no easy answers, but you’ll find yourself becoming more whole hearted into this adventure.

2.) Limit digital consumption.

The media is everywhere and it can dominate our lives and add unnecessary negativity and stress. Constantly being on apps, watching movies, reading the newspaper can influence our beliefs and thoughts. With increased media in one’s life, you see signs of addiction, perceived social isolation, comparison, and jealousy. Eliminating screen time and media consumption can reveal its negative impact and get rid of the excess noise.

3.) Assess your belongings.

Minimalism is all about simplifying and what better way to do that than to simplify what you own. I’m not talking about living out of a backpack (unless that your thing). It’s hard to admit, but as time goes on, things accumulate and they might be fancy, entertaining, or nice to have, but they are quite unnecessary. It’s all about priorities. Figure out what adds value to your life, helps you achieve your goals, or keeps you comfortable in your home.

4.) Single-task.

Research has shown that the human brain is not able to multitask. When you switch from activity to activity, you will decrease your concentration and your productivity. By working on only one thing at a time, you can get rid of all of those distractions and see how productive you can be.

5.) Organization is everything.

Now that you assessed your belongings and have the minimum needed to make you live comfortably, make sure you organize what you have. As my mother always told me “everything has its place”. Group things together into categories and invest in ingenious and proper storage spaces. This way you always know where your things are. Also, be sure to organize your time. Keeping track of what you need to get done in a day, what you need to buy for groceries, and where you need to be can all be done with a planner or journal. Writing down everything in an organized fashion keeps you focused and keeps the clutter out of your mind.

6.) Learn to say “No!”

Again, this is all about prioritizing. Figure out where you spend most of your time, and figure out if this is valuable and helping you grow as a person. Asking yourself about what activities are engaging and important will weed out any that are unproductive and unnecessary. This will ultimately give you more time to do things that you actually want to do.

7.) Start small.

Transforming your life to simplicity isn’t going to happen overnight and it isn’t going to be easy. Take your time and start small. For example, when going through clothes or belongings, eliminate one or two things a week. Discard the duplicates and recycle or throw away the broken. Then move on to the value decision and only keep what is important to you. Minimalism is definitely a journey and not a race.

Now after you follow some or all of these steps, you are ready to reap the benefits of a simpler life. So what are you waiting for? Become a minimalist! Enjoy the freedom!

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