Site icon Dan Silvestre

Minimalist Living: 4-Steps To Create An Amazing Life With Less

minimalist living

I have to thank Julien for showing me what minimalist living looks like.

A couple of years ago, I moved to Sydney for work. There were 6 people living in the apartment and I shared the bathroom with Julian, a 19-year old German well versed in the art of learned minimalism.

His fridge had toast, butter, and orange juice. He ate most of his meals either at work or out. Toiletries? One shower gel that doubled as shampoo (and probably conditioner too), toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and perfume.

Julien didn’t own a lot of things but always seemed calm, collected, and happy. Owning less meant he had to care for fewer things. Like Tom Robbins said:

“Any half-awake materialist well knows – that which you hold holds you.”

When he left to return home, I admired the size of his suitcase. Mine was at least double the size. Did I really need so many things?

After a couple of months, I also left Sydney and returned home.

By then, I was a totally different person.

And all thanks to Julien.

What Is Minimalist Living?

“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.” —Jackie French Koller

Minimalist living is a much older concept than you might think.

Buddhist monks and Catholic nuns were the first to adopt it. Their goal was to gain more wisdom and focus on the spiritual side of life.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, a book about cleaning, simplifying and organizing your belongings, brought minimalism into the mainstream. That’s why many think of minimalism as owning only a few pieces of clothing, a tiny house with nothing but a mattress and zero waste.

But it’s also wrong.

Here’s how The Minimalists define it:

“Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”

Minimalism is not about stuff but about mindset. Things are just a byproduct of that mindset.

Minimalist living is about intention. You make room — space and time — for the things you love and eliminate everything that distracts you from them.

You become intentional with what you choose to do and own and how it impacts your way of living, thinking, and perspective on life.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci

To add value to life, think subtraction. Think of what you can remove.

Less is more.

The Benefits of Minimalist Living

There’s a reason why people love minimalist living so much. Living in a minimalistic way has proven to offer the following benefits:

How to Implement a Minimalistic Lifestyle

“Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.” — Sue Grafton

Here is a step-by-step plan you can easily follow to finally become the minimalist you’ve always wanted to be.

Step 1: Define Your Vision

Before you choose to do anything at all, you have to start with why, how, and what.

Why do you want to become a minimalist?

Perhaps you start to realize that you don’t own things, but then things start to own you. Breaking free from this could mean a sense of freedom for you.

How would you like to go about it?

You can become a minimalist cold turkey, area by area, or make up your own minimalist lifestyle where you only apply minimalism to some areas of your life.

What are your goals as a minimalist?

Changing to a minimalist lifestyle is a conscious choice to achieve something. Your goal can be to have 1 more hour a day to spend on your passions or a couple hundred bucks a month by spending less.

Write everything down to remind yourself consistently of why you’re living this life.

Step 2: Change Your Mindset

As I said, I think of minimalism as a mindset.

You must adopt a (kind of) black and white mindset. Not complicated, not cluttered with stuff. A simplistic mindset where everything fits. You need to have a set of clear rules you commit to fully, and make clear decisions.

In “The Minimalist Mindset”, author Danny Dover explains that changing to a minimalist living mindset requires 3 elements: routine, obsession, and prioritization.

Routines make life simpler. There are so many actions you can perform throughout the day that it only makes sense to adopt routines that allow you to perform those actions with less energy.

Obsession leads to mastery. It’s the medicine for information overload and distractions. You’ll achieve great things with an obsessed and laser-focused mind.

Prioritize growth. Growth is an essential part of every human life, so prioritize the tasks that move you forward to live your life to the fullest.

Here’s a couple of additional ways to change your mindset:

Step 3: Simplify Your Life

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

Minimalist living is related to making your life simpler.

Here are some questions to uncover how you can simplify your life:

Step 4: Change Every Part of Your Life

Every part of your life has to be adjusted to the minimalistic lifestyle before you can call yourself a minimalist. We’ll start with physical clutter aka stuff you need to get rid of since that’s the essence of minimalism.

Physical clutter:

Digital Clutter:

Mental Clutter:

How to Keep Your Minimalistic Lifestyle Going

Once you’ve changed to a minimalistic lifestyle, you’ll need to sustain it.

Sustaining a certain lifestyle isn’t that hard once there are systems in place and that’s exactly what I did for you. Below you’ll find rules you can follow and how you can determine your boundaries.

Determine Your Boundaries

Not everyone likes to apply an all-or-nothing mindset to a minimalistic lifestyle. That’s why it’s important you decide for yourself where you draw the line, where it becomes too extreme for you.

First, figure out what your values are and what that means. You value money more than health? Cool, focus on money first.

Second, be aware of the consequences of everything you do and take responsibility. You can’t change others. You can only change yourself.

Last but not least, experiment.

Do you know how children discover if something hurts?

By trying.

Tell a kid fire is dangerous and he will put his hand in a fire. When it hurts, he won’t try it again, believe me.

This works the same with a lifestyle.

Learn from your actions and write them down in your personal handbook of minimalist living.

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