3 Tips to Create a Minimalist Lifestyle for a Calming Impact on Your Life

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It seems counterintuitive, but embracing a minimalist lifestyle can be overwhelming. Here are there surprising places to start for a calming influence on your on your life. If you’d like to go minimalist, but aren’t sure where to start, start here!

minimalism clock

3 Tips to Create Minimalist Lifestyle for a Calming Impact on Your Life

There are three main areas to go minimalist that, for most people, will drastically reduce the amount of clutter – both mentally and physically. Those areas are paper clutter, clothing,  Start with one of these areas to get the ball rolling toward your new minimalist lifestyle. 

messy desk

1. Paper Clutter

Paper clutter includes mail, pamphlets, artwork, notes, and even books. It’s easy to hoard these hoard these items in case they’re needed later. Most paper clutter can be discarded, however. 

How to Minimize Paper Clutter

Paper clutter is the bane of my existence and a daily struggle on the path of a minimalist lifestyle. There are certain records we need to keep, of course: birth certificates, property records, and some financial documents. Choose one location to store all important paperwork. I recommend a fire safe lock box or a safety deposit box at the bank for these most important documents.

You might want to have a full-sized filing cabinet, or you might be able to fit everything you need in a smaller one. A file box is another option that takes up even less space. 

Consider digitizing some of your records. There are many systems you can use to store records online, including Dropbox and Google Drive. Filing can be as easy as taking a photo of the document with your smartphone before discarding the physical copy. 

You can also reduce paper clutter by eliminating it at the source. Most businesses and banks now offer paperless billing and online services that allow you to handle transactions without any paper at all. 

Books are a tricky category: only you know what’s best for you. No matter what size your book collection needs to be, consider following Marie Kondo’s mantra and keep only the books that “spark joy.” Sell or give away books that have little meaning to you, that you’ll never read again, and that are just taking up space. Consider which books you’d enjoy the eBook version of just as much, too. 

messy laundry room

2. Clothing and Linens

If you have way too many clothes, you’re not alone. I am right there with you. While I do okay with my own wardrobe, I can’t control my husband’s t-shirt collection which is out of control, or my kids’ laundry which gives me anxiety every time I look. So I stay away, but it is an area we will tackle and conquer. 

Many people have a huge wardrobe, even if they only wear the same few items over and over again. Sometimes clothing piles up because we keep items that no longer fit (in the hopes of losing weight maybe?). Maybe we’re hanging on to clothes for younger kiddos?

Maybe some items need to be repaired but it just never gets done. There are so many excuses for hanging on to clothing and linens, but letting them go is so freeing and calming. Use these tips for a minimalist lifestyle for your wardrobe and clear out mental space!

How to Have a Minimalist Wardrobe

To create a minimalist wardrobe, follow these tips:

  • Store seasonal items away when they’re not in use. 
  • Only keep items that you’ve worn in the past 6 months, with the exception of special occasion items. 
  • Know which shapes and colors look best on you so you don’t continue to collect items that don’t work for you. 
  • Consider sticking to a color palette so more of your clothes match each other. 
  • Invest in high quality basics that last longer. 

Try the hanger trick to identify the clothing that never gets used. Turn all of the clothing in your closet around so that the hangers are backwards. As you use items and put them back, put them in normally. After awhile, you’ll start to see the pieces that never get used.

social media

3. Social Media

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that social media can be really bad for our mental health. Sure, social media doesn’t take up any physical space – but it definitely takes up plenty of mental space for most of us. In fact, social media is a major source of anxiety and depression issues today. Minimizing your online life can have an amazing impact on your mental health.

How to Create a Minimalist Online Lifestyle

There are a few things you can do to minimize your online life:

  • Unfollow and unfriend ruthlessly. If a certain person’s posts always make you feel bad – whether that’s sad, jealous, annoyed, angry, or any other negative feelings – do what you need to do to stop seeing that person’s posts. The same goes for businesses and news sources. 
  • Engage with positivity online. Because of the way algorithms work, you’ll usually see more of what you engage with. Engage with content that makes you feel positive and uplifted, and you’ll start to see more of it. 
  • Unsubscribe! Unsubscribe from newsletters and other emails that you never open and don’t need to receive any more. Unroll.me is a great tool for unsubscribing from many email sources. You can also “roll up” certain types of emails like receipts and notifications into one daily email instead of getting them all separately. 

As you work toward a more minimalist lifestyle, it does get easier to let things go. Once you begin to see the benefits of more mental and physical space, decluttering actually becomes very appealing! Make some of these changes today and enjoy the lighter, cleaner life. 

If you’d like more posts on creating a minimalist lifestyle, here are a few for you:

8 Ways Even Large Families can Embrace Minimalist Living

13 Time Saving Utensils for a Minimalist Kitchen

How to Control the Clutter While Homeschooling


About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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