life with less

3 Steps to Start Living a Minimalist Lifestyle

If you want to start living a minimalist lifestyle, it isn’t that hard. You have much less stuff to think about, for starters. Thinking of moving abroad? Maybe you want to start travelling? Downsizing? Whatever your reason for wanting to simplify your life, you’ll find that there are a few things you’ll need to do, but mainly, you’ll need to do these three things:

#1. Sell All Your Stuff

I know what you’re thinking – What? I can’t sell all my stuff, I need all my stuff! But do you? How much stuff do you have? Sure, you’ll need clothing, cookware/cutler/glassware, etc. But do you need ALL of it? Can you whittle your wares down a little? You don’t have to sell everything either, you can donate items too.

I feel selling stuff is therapeutic for me. I love doing it. I love getting rid of things. I often wonder ‘how did I accumulate so much stuff? I am sometimes left with a tough choice if I should keep something or not, too. I usually figure it out though. I also like occasionally starting every sentence in a paragraph with the word ‘I’.

Why should you sell your stuff? You’d be surprised how much stuff you have that you don’t actually use. There’s a chance you may use that Bundt cake pan someday, but there’s a better chance someone else will use it more than the one failed attempt at a pineapple upside down cake that you used it for.

Getting rid of stuff is a great first step towards living with less. And if you need some guidance on how to sell all your stuff, check out any of the Sell All Your Stuff e-books. You don’t have to move abroad, but it can help you with selling all your stuff! Want something free? Try selling stuff online and keep track of it using the Sell All Your Stuff Online Sales Tracker. Better yet, sign up for the newsletter and get free stuff regularly!

#2. Don’t Buy More Stuff

If you’ve never made a pineapple upside down cake before and need a Bundt cake pan, try borrowing a neighbors first. If it turns out that baking a pineapple upside down cake is the best thing that ever happened to you, try making another. And if that same feeling occurs, THEN you can buy one, but only if you make me a delicious pineapple upside down cake.

We often justify our purchases when we should be talking ourselves out of those purchases. Do I really NEED those pants? I’ve bought pairs of pants and never worn them. Do I really NEED that shirt? Ever buy a shirt and a few weeks later wonder WTF was I thinking – this shirt is FUGLY! And don’t even get me started on whether you need that Bundt cake pan.

Not buying stuff is sometimes harder than actually buying stuff, especially in this day and age with it being so easy and inexpensive to accumulate stuff. So…don’t accumulate stuff.

#3. Do More Stuff With Less Stuffstick man idea

Over the course of life people (usually those in developed countries) tend to accumulate stuff. So if you’ve completed #1 and sold your stuff, and you followed through on #2 and haven’t purchased more stuff lately, how do you get by without stuff? Well, you absorb #3 and do more with the stuff you have.

As we packed for our move to Panama, we wondered how we could possibly shove our lives into 4 suitcases. Looking back, I’m wondering why we needed 4 suitcases. Regardless, one of the ways we made the most of our packing was to pack clothes and electronic cables into plastic Tupperware containers (not actual Tupperware brand though). This allowed us to bring said plastic containers with us so we could store things, like leftover pineapple upside down cake, for example.

When we got to Panama, I soon realized my t-shirts needed to become tank tops. So I cut the sleeves off! Do you use paper towels? Why not try using sleeves of an old t-shirt instead? Efficiency is key when it comes to doing more with less.

There are so many resources available on the internet that can help you do more stuff with less stuff…except when it comes to toilet paper, sometimes you just need that kind of stuff.

By doing the three things above, you can easily simplify your life. You’ll start living a minimalist lifestyle without even thinking about it.

Now go sell all your stuff!

16 thoughts on “3 Steps to Start Living a Minimalist Lifestyle”

  1. Enjoyed my first dose of getting rid of my stuff! We will soon be in the process of downsizing from a house (and selling said house) to an RV full time. Look forward to your tips!

    1. Patty, welcome to the site. Downsizing to an RV – that’s so cool. I think you’ll find as you get rid of more and more stuff you’ll feel more and more free to do what you want to do. It’s odd, but stuff seems to tie us down!

  2. Awesome!! We can fully relate to that with our 2 big and 2 small backpacks. We carry each 20 kg with us, it’s all we have and still it feels sometimes too much! We had a good laugh at our last house sitting place. The owner emptied a big wardrobe for us to put our stuff in. We didn’t even fill 1/4 of the closet 😀 We use and re-use everything we have. The thing we buy most often are our socks because I can’t fix the holes in them 🙂 But even when there’s a hole in a sweater and I can stitch it, well, no need to buy anything new 🙂 It’s liberating not having much!

    1. That’s funny about the wardrobe. We’ve had home owners look at our stuff when we arrive and ask us if that’s all we have. Even with the little we have, like you said sometimes it seems too much.

  3. And it’s never finished. You will always acquire stuff. Like during our last move a month ago, even though we rent furnished houses, we still end up with stuff. Then it’s like, Do I take this wrapping paper with me? These candles? Etc.

    1. Exactly! When we rented a furnished place we still needed to buy items like a coffee maker and a colander. Things that make your life easier for that time period, but you can’t always logistically take them to the next place.

  4. At the end of the day our needs are simple enough, but it is we who have complicated it and have gone on amassing stuff that may not be necessary. I second your thoughts.

  5. I’ve read quite a bit about living as a minimalist and it sounds crazy. Someday there might be something you really need, will it take a month to decide whether you really need it or not? This is living as a “cheapskate” and not wanting to spend money for something you might really need. Isn’t there anything a minimalist might really want and won’t purchase it because it would take up a foot of space? It is actually living without anything, that is called “living in poverty”. There are enough people in the world who actually live this type of life without choice.

    1. Sandra, thanks for commenting. Living a minimalist lifestyle isn’t as crazy as it sounds. As house sitters we often don’t miss out on stuff. None of the home owners we’ve sat for live a minimalist lifestyle. If there’s something I REALLY need, I wouldn’t wait a month. I needed a nice pair of pants for an event recently. I didn’t want to fork out a lot of money for something I’d seldom wear, so I went to a thrift shop and bought a pair for $8.

      But again, if I need something very desperately I would assess how often I’ll use it. Maybe I can borrow it from someone instead if I only need it once or twice – which I’ve done in the past with a wet-saw. I’d hardly call this living as a “cheapskate”. If that friend wanted to borrow something of mine I’d be happy to return the favor, or if they needed help with something I’d be ready to donate some time.

      And I’d hardly compare living a minimalist lifestyle to those living in poverty. That’s completely off base. In fact, I would think many minimalists donate a lot of their stuff (and money) to the less fortunate. And funny you say “It is actually living without anything, that is called “living in poverty”. There are enough people in the world who actually live this type of life without choice.” After living in Central America I’ve seen people live with very, very little, yet they’re some of the happiest people in the world.

      Not everyone is a fan of this lifestyle. And even some other minimalists do things that puzzle us as well.

      At the end of the day we’d rather spend money on experiences rather than stuff. We prefer memories of said experiences over the t-shirt, the mug, the fridge magnet, or whatever trinkets the gift shop is selling at an insanely marked-up price.

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