How to Develop a Minimalist Mindset

Stuck with too much stuff in your life? Here's how to develop a minimalist mindset to save money, help the environment, and find everyday inspiration.
If you want to live in your car, developing a minimalist mindset is essential to your success. Hopefully you can guess why—with so little space in your vehicle, too much clutter can thwart all your goals. You can’t conceal yourself if your trunk explodes with stuff every time you open it. You won’t be able to move around if you have too many possessions getting in the way, or genuinely enjoy yourself if you have to worry about keeping track of your stuff.

I love the idea of minimalism, but something always keeps me from committing to it. Over time, no matter how often I clear out the junk, I accumulate useless items that don’t add any real value to my life. That’s why I’m excited about living in a car—it will force me to pare down my possessions and constantly think about what I truly need.

And I’m not the only one. The minimalist mindset is growing for a number of reasons:

  • Debt. US families with credit card debt owe an average of $16,000—for student loans, that average is around $48,000.
  • Environmental concerns. Consumers are more focused than ever on buying sustainable and environmentally-friendly products, though owning less in general is the most impactful action of all.
  • Technology and remote work. More telecommuting jobs are available than ever, making it easier for people to travel and earn a living (while eliminating possessions along the way). A recent Gallup poll shows that more than half of Americans believe that telecommuting is just as productive as working in a regular office.

But that doesn’t mean adopting the trend is easy. Even with good intentions, people still struggle with paring down their possessions. “Stuff” gives people comfort and inspiration, and even the act buying it can be cathartic.

So if you have a problem with too much stuff, how do you develop a minimalist mindset? Here are a few ideas to try:

Get inspired

Poke around online and look at minimalist spaces (Pinterest is a gold mine too), or read the hundreds of amazing minimalist blogs online: Minimalist Baker, The Art of Simple, and Be More With Less are some of my favorites. If you have lots of possessions and need extra help, read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Get more experiences

Millennials are notorious for wanting experiences instead of extra stuff. Try spending your extra cash on doing something instead of getting something, and see if it makes you feel any different.

Find encouragement through community

Chances are good that the struggles you face on your journey to minimalism aren’t new. If you can find other people to provide support and answer your questions, you’ll be more likely to pare down your life successfully. Check out r/minimalism, Minimalist Living, or Becoming Minimalist to find like-minded people.

Practice, practice, practice

Remember, it’s a journey. Work little by little. Give away more and more. Become aware of how the process makes you happier. And don’t beat yourself up if it feels like a challenge.

Minimalism isn’t for everyone; some people can feel perfectly happy with a house full of possessions. But if you plan to live in a small space, developing the minimalist mindset is the first crucial step toward becoming more aware of what life can offer—without all the clutter.

Stuck with too much stuff in your life? Here's how to develop a minimalist mindset to save money, help the environment, and find everyday inspiration.
Stuck with too much stuff in your life? Here's how to develop a minimalist mindset to save money, help the environment, and find everyday inspiration.

One Reply to “How to Develop a Minimalist Mindset”

  1. Yes, I would agree with you. Thre;&#8217es too much hidden shame about feeling depressed or struggling with pain; it’s hard enough to bear without feeling it must be hidden. I also support your efforts to avoid medication. Later this week, I’m going to begin writing about the research on psychotropic medications and how they do much more harm than good.

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