By Gina Duncan

Your closet is overflowing with clothes, yet you can never find anything to wear. You keep saying yes and adding to your schedule when you want to scream no. You are stressed, unhappy, and never have time for yourself. If this sounds like you, then it may be time to make some changes in your life and adapt to a minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalist living is simple; it’s living with less. Having the freedom to decide what you need and what you can live without is the best part. It’s not a small change, but it’s well worth the effort. With a few simple tips, you can start living a life of ‘less is more’ and we’re going to show you how.

Declutter

If you can admit that you haven’t been able to find the match to your favourite boots because of the pile of 30 shoes on the floor. It’s time to reclaim your space by decluttering. 

From your closet to your bookshelves, your dresser drawers to the bathroom, decluttering can seem like an impossible task. The hardest part is getting started, but it’s the first step to a minimalist lifestyle. 

Here are a few tips to get you going:

• You don’t have to do it all in one day. Pick one room a day or declutter in 30-minute increments over a designated period of time. 

• Take everything out and lay it on your floor so that you can see it all. 

•  Put your items into four piles: keep, donate, sell, trash. Keep what you use and love. Get rid of anything that doesn’t add meaning to your life, or you haven’t used in at least six months.

 • Set an end date and mark it on your calendar as a finishing goal. Plan a reward for yourself on that date to give yourself something to look forward to, like a spa day and practice mindfulness while there.

While you’re at it, do a digital declutter. Start clearing out duplicate or blurry photos, and get rid of apps you haven’t used in at least three months. Then move on to clearing out your emails, unsubscribing from mailing lists you don’t want to receive emails from, and clean out your junk mail folder. 

Staying Mindful

As you adapt to the minimalist lifestyle, being honest with yourself about what you can or cannot live without may be challenging. Mindfulness helps you stay present, and be intentional with your decisions. It puts your feelings into perspective as you say goodbye to the items you thought you needed, but are keeping you from living in the moment and achieving your goals. 

Tune into mindfulness with these adjustments:

• Set aside time each day to check in with yourself through meditation. Quiet your mind and observe the present moment. Don’t judge yourself if your mind wanders or negative thoughts come up. Acknowledge these distractions and gently return your focus to the present.

• Adopt an attitude of gratitude! Expressing gratitude for what you have makes you happier, so express gratitude daily for the big and small things in your life. Every day, list three things you are grateful for: say it out loud, write it on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker, or start a gratitude journal. Do this at the start of the day over a cup of coffee or, write down gratitudes at night before bed. Either way, take time to notice even the small things that you are thankful for throughout the day. 

• Stop before you shop! Once you’ve decluttered, only make mindful purchases going forward. Before purchase, ask yourself three questions: Does it serve a purpose? Does it make me happy? Does it serve multiple functions? If not, walk away.

Better Time Management

Have you ever sat down for a few minutes to check Instagram and looked up an hour later? Stop losing track of time and be intentional about better time management. 

Be on your way to a productive day by:

• Learning to say “no”.Find someone to be your accountability “no” partner, to remind you to put yourself first.

• Scheduling your day using a daily planner. You can find some fun planners online, use your phone calendar or use an app to help you zero in on your tasks.

• Making a to-do list and organise it by order of importance. Start with the items on the must-do list that you don’t want to do because these are the tasks we tend to procrastinate starting. 

• Listening to your body. If you’re tired or sick, it’s okay to adjust your schedule and make time for self-care.

• Using features on your phone to monitor your screen time, they are designed to show you how much time you are spending on your phone and even helps you set limit notifications.

Getting Rid Of Toxic Relationships

We’ve all held onto people in our lives who aren’t supportive, are always negative, who constantly play the victim, and give nothing in return for your effort. It’s time to cut those toxic relationships out of your life. 

Here’s how to do it:

• Try to fix it, especially if it is a spouse, parent or sibling. Sit down and share your feelings; tell them exactly what you need from the relationship. Going to therapy may help. It can’t hurt to have an objective mediator to make sure your communication is healthy. 

• Set boundaries. If it’s a work relationship or someone that you can’t officially cut out of your life, set parameters for how much contact you want to have with this person.  

• Press delete and get rid of those negative people from your contact list. Block, unfriend or unfollow them on social media accounts. 

Live With Less

The key to living with less is to do less, and create more room to do things you love; repeat the decluttering process often, keep reclaiming your space; and connect with people who share your passions, and celebrate your accomplishments. 

Congratulations, you are on your way to living a minimalist lifestyle. Be grateful for and find happiness in what you already have. Less is truly more if less is what you love!