The fundamentals of living a minimalist life involve living with intention and purpose. When you prioritize those two things, happiness and simplicity follow.
Because minimalism involves letting go of clutter (both mental and physical), it creates more space in your mind and home for other things.
Cleaning becomes easier, life becomes less chaotic, and your days are filled with things, thoughts, and experiences that bring you joy – rather than bring you down.
Think the minimalist life is just what you need? Check out these 9 things you need to say goodbye to if you want to live a simpler and more minimalist life.
1) Always owning the latest technologies
New versions of your phone, tablet, laptop, or watch are always going to be released. But that doesn’t mean you have to own every single version.
There’s no need to continuously buy new technology just because it’s been released. Especially if there’s nothing wrong with what you’ve got.
Minimalism is all about preservation. And the notion that when you look after things, they last.
2) Owning lots (and lots) of clothes
Having more clothes than you know what to do with isn’t the way of a minimalist. It leads to more physical clutter and (believe it or not) mental clutter.
When you have too many options of things to wear, you complicate the most basic task of everyday life (i.e., getting dressed).
According to experts, having to make so many decisions first thing in the morning can lead to “decision burnout” later in the day (when you need to make the big decisions).
Having a select number of clothes that you can style together is more sustainable and less draining. Particularly if those pieces are high-quality, statement items.
Take someone like Marc Zuckerburg, for example. His entire wardrobe is full of plain T-shirts and blue denim jeans. Why? So he never has to choose what to wear.
The complication of choosing an outfit every day (and making early-morning decisions) is eradicated when you have less choice.
While you don’t need to go to the extreme and do what Zuckerburg does, less is more when it comes to your clothing. And if you want to embrace minimalism, tackling your closet is the best place to start.
3) Holding onto clutter “just in case”
It might be your old mobile phone box. Or it might be that big bag of cables you have lingering in one of your closets.
It might even be a set of clothes you never wear but don’t want to get rid of in case you like them again one day.
Whatever it is, it’s clutter. And physical clutter becomes mental clutter.
If you want to live a simpler and more minimalist life, getting rid of things you don’t need, and having intention behind the things you own, is the way to go.
4) Spending without intention
Owning less is the way of a minimalist. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on experiences or live a lifestyle that’s way beneath your means.
Instead, it means you don’t buy things you don’t need – or buy stuff to make yourself feel good, rather than because you need it.
Spending becomes more mindful when you embrace minimalism. You prioritize spending money on experiences and people, rather than on stuff.
And every time you reach into your purse to buy something new, you’re doing it mindfully and intentionally.
You know why you’re buying what you’re buying, and you do it because it brings value to your life, rather than just a short-term win or some kind of status.
5) Valuing stuff over people
No matter how much stuff you have, it’ll never bring you long-term joy.
Experts say that the happiness that comes from the pursuit and purchase of physical possessions rarely lasts more than a few days.
Whereas research is clear that people and experiences give us more joy, comfort, and a sense of community than we can imagine.
Plus, when you stop worrying about stuff, and think more about enjoying every day and the people around you, life instantly becomes simpler.
6) Comparing what you have to what everyone else has
If you run your best time, there will always be someone faster. If you get a good job, there will always be someone with a better one.
If you’re happy with your life, there will always be someone who looks happier.
Ultimately, whatever you do in life, there will always be someone who has more, “better”, or something different from what you have.
Constantly comparing yourself to other people is never going to fill you with long-term joy. It makes you ruminate on what you don’t have – rather than appreciating what you do have.
And if you want to live a happier, simpler life, it’s time to let go of the comparisons.
7) Procrastinating your days away
Comparison is the thief of joy – and so is procrastination. When we procrastinate, we’re essentially wasting time.
Living life more intentionally is another way to live a more minimalist life. That doesn’t mean you have to be productive 24/7 or live the “hustle culture” lifestyle.
Instead, it just means you make good use of your time. If that means having two hours of quiet time while you zone out on the sofa watching videos on your phone – that’s intentional time you’ve dedicated to doing nothing.
Or if it means spending 2 hours of your day studying, reading, engaging in personal development, or job hunting – that’s also intentional.
Doing things isn’t procrastinating when you do them intentionally. But they are when they’re done out of fear or overwhelm about all the other things you have on your plate.
8) Living a too-organized life
It was a thing once upon a time during job interviews that when the interviewer asked what your weakness was, you’d say, “I’m too organized”.
It was supposed to be a way of putting a positive spin on an otherwise negative question. But, while it’s usually a positive thing to live an organized life, it can also be an actual weakness.
When you’re too organized, you can start to overcomplicate everything. Meeting a friend for a quick coffee or agreeing to dinner on the day becomes stressful, rather than fun, last-minute plans.
And while there’s nothing wrong with having a routine (actually, it’s a very good thing), being flexible with your time can make life that little bit simpler.
9) Living a disorganized life
Just like it’s important not to be too organized in life, it’s also important not to be too disorganized either.
Minimalism is all about doing things with intention. And while that doesn’t mean you need to regiment every single moment of your life, it does mean you should think most things through before you do them.
Constantly running on empty, running late, and being on the back foot of your own life won’t simplify anything.
Just like everything else in life, it’s important to find a good balance between being a little bit organized and not too structured – especially if you want to embrace a minimalist life.
Minimalism isn’t just a craze. It’s a way of life – and it’s one many people choose for good reason.
When you embrace minimalism in your life, research finds that you become happier, more productive, and even healthier.
Many people find that living a simpler life makes them eat healthier, sleep better, and feel better mentally – alongside having more time to enjoy life, rather than running empty all the time from trying to do too much.
If that sounds like the life for you, saying goodbye to these 9 things is a good place to start.