The minimalist journey is not an easy one, not only to start but also to keep it. I feel people who discover minimalism for the first time want to jump right in and don't stop for a second to see what they are doing.
It is evident that we learn from our mistakes; otherwise, we wouldn't grow. I made some of these mistakes during my minimalist transition, but let me share them with you to make your switch as easy as possible.
1 Focusing only on the material part of minimalism
I reckon this is what I did first and probably what most people do, watching a video on Youtube or reading a blog post, you want to tackle your stuff right away.
I had a lot of stuff, and in a couple of weeks, I reduced everything to mostly basics and a bunch of want items. There's nothing wrong with this, and sometimes it can be useful to take that inspirational moment and run with it, as it could be challenging to find the courage to tackle all your belongings at once.
But it is important to remember that decluttering material things is just the tip of the iceberg. Minimalism is much deeper than that and has many different layers that you must go through.
Some areas in your life that you could declutter first include toxic friends and family (I'm not saying to stop talking to them but to reduce the contact), digital clutter in your devices, and even sad or painful memories.
Most of the time, many of these cluttered aspects of our lives are triggers to keep us buying material things.
Remember to declutter your material belongings, that if you don't solve all the minimalist aspects, those material things will eventually come back.
2 Not getting rid of those things
This ties directly to the previous point, once you declutter you might start thinking about what to do with those items, I was there making piles of items to sell, gift, or donate. The problem was that I never found the time to do it, and the things stood there as a reminder of an unfinished duty, collecting dust and growing slowly.
Whenever you are decluttering go with a plan and as soon as you have gathered those items that you no longer want, take them to the recycling center, give them to a loved one or sell them as soon as possible. Don't let them sit around.
3 Compare yourself
After reading Marie Kondo, I discovered minimalism, my curiosity of decluttering, and living with the necessary naturally guided me towards minimalism.
I discovered Youtube minimalists first, and honestly, I was quite envious of their lifestyle. Their houses look clean and organized, exercise every day, follow healthy diets, and even have the time to travel once or twice a year.
Who doesn't want that lifestyle? I certainly did, but soon I discovered that their lifestyle was not for me, as I'm not an essential minimalist, and I'm not best at doing great work out routines. Minimalism is an incredible tool because it will align with your needs and goals.
Don't try to compare and copy others, as that life won't be authentic, and it is pretty much what many do on apps like Instagram, following and wasting time copying others.
4 Lack of a plan
When you declutter and throw everything that was blocking you, that freedom feeling is hard to explain but is just so good, sadly most people get bored after a while and slowly start buying more stuff and cluttering their homes again.
Before you try anything, ask yourself, where do you see yourself in the next ten years? Early retirement and traveling the world? Homeworking? Whatever your goal is, you want to use minimalism as a driving force to get there.
Don't jump into minimalism without a plan as you will get lost on your way; everything is more comfortable in your life if you have an idea.
I use a notebook, digital sticky notes on my devices, and a whiteboard where I write down all my plans and duties for each day and long term goals.
5 Get rid of everything
As minimalists, we want to reduce our belonging to the basics. Still, let's be realistic for a second; the extreme minimalists got there through a long journey. It's not like they wake up one day and decide they want to become that essential. If they didn't, you shouldn't either.
I was so close to making that mistake, as I was decluttering, the beginning was easy because I was getting rid of broken things, old school papers, expired products, etc. I had to decide on more challenging items like some expensive shoes I wore twice or an old working Nintendo 64 console I no longer used.
Here's what I did, instead of decluttering right there, I took all those items and placed them on a see-through plastic box and let them sit there for six months, if I grabbed anything in that time frame then the object stayed otherwise I had to let it go.
I managed to eventually sell many old DVDs, some videogames, shoes, and other items. Still, I also kept other stuff like those expensive shoes I mentioned before and realized I needed them because they were the only pair I had.
Just don't go crazy throwing stuff away you are unsure about or even worse because you don't like how it looks, more of that in the next point.
6 Declutter to make everything look nice
Just like comparing to other minimalists, in this case, we are comparing to other minimalists homes. We see a pantry with everything color coordinated and want to recreate the look, so we throw away all our containers because they don't match.
I also talk about minimalist design and personally love it, but there are still mismatching containers in my house, more than one broom, and towels of different colors.
There's nothing wrong with improving your space, but being mindful about it and don't declutter to buy more pretty things.
When an item breaks, then you can upgrade it with something that will match a specific color palette that you want but do it gradually or try to find a use for the old items somewhere else before bringing in new things.
7 Force others to become minimalists
When we discover minimalism, we want everyone to learn how wonderful it is too. Still, the truth is this is the worst thing you can do, a minimalist journey is personal, I discovered minimalism by myself, and I think I would have rejected someone telling me how to live my life.
Because nobody wants to be told what to do or made to feel as if their lifestyle is wrong, as a general rule avoid telling others how they should live their lives, it's a recipe for disaster. Instead, lead with example if they are curious they will approach you and ask. That's the best way to guide them towards minimalism.
8 Throwing away others belongings
It's oh so tempting to grab everything and throw it away, and it's much easier to throw away stuff that does not belong to you, but this is even worse than trying to convert someone into minimalism.
You are breaking that respect boundary between you and your loved ones by disposing of their things without considering the reasons they might be keeping them.
Just focus on your stuff and your minimalist path, that will be enough to balance your life, as I said if they are curious and want to learn more about minimalism, they will come to you to ask.
If you have any questions please write it down below and I'll answer it as soon as I can.
Here are some other Minimalist Lifestyle posts you might find interesting.
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