Other than culling your possessions and creating a capsule wardrobe, what does it even look like to live as a minimalist through the day? Here are seven areas that are important to think through:
1. Be selective about what you put on the calendar.
After ridding your home of unnecessary junk, you’ll want to look carefully at your calendar. If you are picky about what you allow in your home and require it to be enjoyed, useful and helping you live, then you’ll start looking at your schedule the same way.
Do you enjoy the things that are on the calendar? Do they help you live the life you want to live? Are they important to you and your family, or are they simply taking time away from the things that are important?
2. Think through choices before making them.
Minimalism isn’t just aesthetics. It’s a way of thinking. Instead of automatically going to Target to wind down, it’s looking at the root issue: Why do you have the urge to go to Target to shop? Do you need time to yourself, need to recharge and have some sort of connection to those outside your home?
So, instead: call a friend and meet at a coffee shop, go for a walk and listen to the birds, visit a rose garden and admire the colors and smells.
Instead of automatically saying “Yes I can” when someone calls for a favor, you evaluate: why? It doesn’t mean you’re going to start saying “no” and never stop; it means that you think through the decision before answering. And many times you will say “no.” But that means you’ll be able to say “YES!!” when things come up that you are passionate about.
It means you are the one making the decision about how your time gets spent, not habits, not obligations: but your choice.
3. Be mindful of the impact of things: on you, your family, your environment.
Every one of us has a different reason for embracing minimalism, and as you grow in your personal minimalist philosophy lifestyle, you will find that the things you allow on the schedule, and in your home are things that have a positive impact on the things that are important to you.
This might mean committing to go hiking with the family once a week or having a family night every Friday.
It also might mean you embrace a low or zero-waste lifestyle, or quit your stress-filled job and pursue a more meaningful or less stressful career.
4. Refuse to allow habits to rule your life.
It’s comfortable to eat ice cream every night and binge-watch Netflix. But that doesn’t mean you really want too or feel like that is your ultimate calling in life.
Minimalism is about being aware of what you are doing and where you are headed. It’s knowing what you want and taking action instead of allowing your habits to talk you out of the change.
5. Focus on fostering connections.
Put down the phone. Turn off the T.V. Look in their eyes, pay attention to what they are saying. Empathize. Listen. Be present.
With children, get down to their level and listen to them. Use communication skills like “drive-thru communication” to let them know you are trying to understand where they are coming from.
With older kids, spend time doing things they like- play basketball with them, play video games with them, take them out to coffee and talk about life.
Call your parents, have friends over for dinner, spend time with people you love.
6. Pay attention to ease of use/ease of cleanliness.
I love that Marie Kondo mentioned this on her Instagram. It doesn’t matter if a fancy blender makes it easier to make pancakes if it sits on your counter and you have to move it to wipe the counters three times a day and then when you actually use it you let it soak in the sink for two days because you hate washing it.
Follow your thought all the way through: Does this take up space that I would rather use for something else? Is this easy to use? Does it save me time? Is it easy to clean? Does it take more time setting up than it would if I just used a bowl and a whisk?
If it’s not easy to clean, then whatever time it saves you in your cooking task is lost in cleaning.
7. Embrace different hobbies
So many hobbies we have are consumeristic hobbies. i.e., We need more supplies to make more things. Like the one meme I saw:
Acknowledge where you have done this – not to berate yourself, but to change. We have to acknowledge that we do something before we can make an effort to change it.
Think through the things you enjoy and what gives you pleasure. Look for things that give you a sense of accomplishment, what makes you feel relaxed or refreshed? Not the things you like to dream about, but the things you actually like to work at.
So, what does it look like to practice daily minimalism? It looks like intentional living.