Living a minimalist lifestyle can seem overwhelming — especially if you have a difficult time throwing anything away. But minimalist living is not all or nothing. No, you don’t need to save everything, but you don’t have to get rid of everything either. 

Think of it this way: Whatever takes up space in your home translates to the space in your mind. When you declutter your home, you also declutter your mind. Owning more things doesn’t make people happier. Instead, people who live a minimalist lifestyle understand that less is more. “Getting rid of stuff sets us free […] and gives us a sense of well-being,” Kristin Hanes, who downsized her home to live on a sailboat, wrote for the PODS blog

Like anything that takes time, getting rid of items in your house can be done at your own pace. And gradually, you’ll come to realize that you don’t miss those items that used to clutter your space. 

Ahead, learn more about how to live a minimalist lifestyle and the benefits of decluttering your space to make room for only things that matter to you.

A Brief History of Minimalism

The term “living minimally” sounds like a new phenomenon, but minimalism is actually a movement that began in the ’50s and ’60s. It showed up in art, fashion, and architectural designs. People were throwing things away because they served no purpose or use for them.

Through the years, with the rise of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” people began adopting the minimalist mindset. People have also become more conscious about fast fashion and sustainability, which limits the number of purchases and clothes in their homes. 

A woman feeling less stressed in her minimalist office

The Benefits of Living Minimally 

Living in a minimalist house can mean decorating minimalist, organizing minimalist wardrobes, keeping a minimalist bathroom, or all of the above. You can also come up with minimalist living room ideas, like storing items in boxes under the couch or opting for a light coffee table instead of a bulky one.

However, the choices you make to live minimally can vary, depending on your goals. If your goal is to get rid of household items that you don’t use anymore but still take up space in your home, then you can expect a home with less clutter. Here are other benefits you can enjoy:

  • Save money by only buying the essentials
  • Feel less stressed because your home is more organized 
  • Give back to the environment by consuming less
  • Make room for things that matter most to you
  • Find things that have been missing 
  • Throw out stuff from the past to live in the present

Minimalist Living Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Obviously, you don’t have to get rid of everything to live like a minimalist. Start off by throwing away or donating stuff you can live without. Keep the stuff you must have and can’t live without. Then, move on to the possessions that you’re on the fence about. 

If you’re not sure about what to do with certain memorabilia, furniture, clothing, or anything else, store it away for several months to see what it’s like to live without them. This is an easy way to transition into a minimalist lifestyle and to determine what you really need and what can be discarded or donated.

A woman storing away some of her belongings in a PODS container

Storing “Maybe” Items

Of course, making the decision to toss something may not come easily. Instead, take your time deciding by taking advantage of a PODS portable storage container delivered right to your driveway to jump into the minimalist life without the dread of getting rid of things you might actually need or want later. Simply store away everything  you’re on the fence about in the container and either keep it on your property or a secure PODS Storage Center. See what life is like without them for a few months. If you find yourself pining after certain items, you can always pull them out of storage. However, if you find that life without all the extra stuff is freeing and just plain wonderful, grab it from the container and you can donate or discard your excess belongings once and for all.

Quality vs Quantity

It can be tempting to buy a bunch of inexpensive pieces of clothing or household items, but they don’t always last long, and you’ll likely need to replace them shortly after. Instead, spending more money on something that will last for years can ensure that you’re not constantly storing items that don’t work anymore. You’ll find it easier to live a minimalist lifestyle by keeping things that are needed and functional in the long run. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Minimalism

How can I live very minimally?

Throw away or donate things that you don’t use anymore or — as the queen of minimalism, Marie Kondo, says — that don’t bring you joy anymore. 

How do you purge and live minimally?

Think of yourself as a guest in your own home. When you walk inside, which items do you immediately notice that are unnecessary or excessive? Build momentum by allocating just a few minutes everyday to decluttering, or choose one item every day to get rid of. 

How do you train yourself to live with fewer things?

You need and can live with less than you think! Start by putting things away in storage and notice how you feel in a few months. Ask yourself: Do you still want to keep these items? Did you miss them at all? Do you even remember what you stored away?

Keep, donate, and trash boxes with clothes in them
(Source: RODNAE Productions via Pexels)

How do you declutter for minimalist living?

Start by creating a decluttering checklist of every household category and go through them one by one at whatever speed you’d like. There’s no time frame that this needs to be completed in. In fact, decluttering will likely be an ongoing thing, once you get into the habit.

Now, be warned: You may fear that living with less will cause you to wake up one day and think “What have I done?” or “What if I need that item down the line?” But, instead, you’ll likely feel a huge weight lifted and wake up thinking: “I’m living a meaningful life with only things that matter most to me.”

Focusing on only one item or household category at a time can really help you ease into minimalism. Even just creating a minimalist office or minimalist kitchen may inspire you to minimize your entire household. As the old advertising slogan goes, “once you pop, you just can’t stop.”

(Credit for photo featured at top: Leah Kelley via Pexels)

Bonnie Azoulay Elmann is an NYC-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to the PODS blog. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Health, and Parents, among others. She is an extremely driven digital storyteller who may or may not have a slight obsession with fanny packs.

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