Are you tired of your stuff taking over your life?
Whether at work, home, or elsewhere, we all tend to keep way more items than we need.
That’s why in recent years, minimalism has taken hold in households everywhere. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, you know how satisfying it is to see clutter-free transformations happen to real people.
The biggest benefit of getting rid of what you don’t use is the mental lightness you feel when you’re not constantly looking at clutter. Plus, it’s not as restrictive as you would think. You don’t need to get rid of your favorite sweater, your car, or even your house. It’s more about living with what you actually need.
Minimalism has been embraced by many to foster a simpler way of life. This post will detail minimalist practices along with the insights to the mental and health benefits of practicing it at work and home.
Read on to learn more about this effective and intentional lifestyle anyone can try.
What is Minimalism?
While some folks may see minimalism as a trend, for others, it’s more of a lifestyle choice. It’s less about having less “stuff” and more about discovering what is important to you — meaning living only with what you truly need.
Some minimalists say it’s all about finding the freedom to let go of what bogs you down — like that cluttered pile on your desk. It’s less about what you can or can’t have. The overall process is meant to help you slow down and focus on what is really important and by living life based on experiences, not possessions.
How Do People Practice Minimalism?
Luckily, it’s not a one-size-fits-all lifestyle. It can be adjusted to fit your needs. While Pinterest and minimalist blogs can provide a lot of inspiration, it’s more about finding what works for your particular situation.
For example, you can have a minimalist wardrobe. That may mean you have a limited number of pieces that you wear regularly that work well together. Or, you may choose to not have a car, live in a tiny house, or own only what you can carry to travel full-time.
A few other examples of minimalist practices:
- Home life - You can have a minimalist home. Declutter and only keep necessities that you use regularly or that have great sentimental value.
- Work life - Regularly toss out old paperwork, receipts, etc. that you no longer need. Keep only what you use daily on your desk.
- Digital life - Take monthly stock of your digital documents (hello, Google Drive). See what can be archived, permanently deleted, or better organized.
What are the Benefits of Minimalism?
One of the biggest benefits of minimalism is you have a lot fewer items to keep track of in your life. If you constantly add to the clutter piles — digitally or physically — it can feel as though you’ll never get organized.
When you review what you do have, it can also become a practice of gratitude. It offers a chance to reflect and take an intentional inventory of personal items. Studies also find that low self-esteem is tied to linking worth to material items. Adults who are more materialistic tend to be unhappy with themselves.
Plus, who really likes living with a ton of clutter?
If you’re always losing items — only to replace them and find the original shortly after purchasing a new one — you’re adding to your current clutter situation. Instead, consider downsizing and see if it impacts your stress levels and the items you lose all the time.
Need more reasons? Here are a few benefits of minimalism in the home and workplace:
Your home should be your retreat away from the world. If it’s always a mess, it can be difficult to relax. Consider starting small and go room by room to declutter and get rid of what you don’t need. You can donate, sell, or trash items that no longer “bring you joy” as Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizing expert would say.
Minimalism at home means:
- No more hours of cleaning - Less clutter means less stuff to clean.
- Make money - Sell items you’re getting rid of to make some cash.
- Save money - When you buy less, you save more.
- Display what matters - Set up a room to enjoy the sentimental items that really matter.
- Downsize your living space - If you can downsize enough, you may be able to move into a smaller living space. This could lower rent or your mortgage payments.
- Get a minimalist wardrobe - This can save time and reduce stress by having less to choose from when getting ready each day (Steve Jobs wore the same outfit each day for this reason).
Have you ever walked by a coworker’s messy desk and wondered, “How the heck do they get work done?” Not only is a messy work area a distraction to you, but it’s also an eyesore for others. Consider cleaning up your workspace and see how it improves your daily workflow and experience. Less clutter around you limits distractions, too.
Minimalism at work means:
- Find what you need - It’s easier to find what you need when only your most-used items are properly displayed and nearby.
- Socialization is easier - When common areas and desks are work-ready, it’s easier to socialize and jump right into work projects instead of spending the time cleaning up space for working.
- Creates happy space - When you get rid of excess items, it leaves room to display sentimental items that are important to you and make you happy. Like that adorable dog poster or house plant.
- Break it down - Think about actual tasks as well when practicing minimalism. Simplify your projects by breaking them down into smaller, minimized pieces and tackle them one by one. It’ll feel less overwhelming.
- Ask what matters - Focus on what’s most important to get done each day to feel in control of your schedule. It’s one of the fastest ways to reduce work stress.
Minimalist Wellness Benefits Go Beyond the Physical Space
Aside from the immediate physical space benefits of using minimalist practices, your health benefits, too. If feeling calmer, collected, and more organized sounds good to you, consider practicing minimalism at home and work.
Here are a few minimalist wellness benefits you reap when you rid your spaces of stuff:
- Less stress - Clutter can cause anxiety and stress and heightened levels of cortisol.
- A cluttered space is a cluttered mind - Clearing away clutter helps you focus and be more productive. You can focus on your work instead of the mess around you.
- Save your hard-earned cash - Spending less on a regular basis helps relieve money stressors, too, leading to better financial wellness.
- Learn about what matters - Discovering what you really need and want to keep when minimizing can be a journey in self-discovery.
- Less is more - When spaces have fewer items in them, it feels more open and therefore more relaxed.
- Cut out excessive calories - A Cornell University study found women tend to snack on unhealthy foods more in cluttered spaces. Reduce clutter and your calorie intake!
Start Reaping the Benefits of Minimalism Today
If you’re tired of clutter, losing items, or being generally disorganized, starting a minimalist lifestyle may be for you. Say goodbye to feeling overwhelmed by your piles of stuff in favor of feeling more at ease when you walk into your workplace or home.
As you can see from above, research shows clutter has an impact on your mental and physical health. With a little focused effort and willingness to let go of your “things” you can reap the benefits of minimalism rather quickly.
Start small and work on organizing whenever you can. Once you start feeling “lighter” it can snowball into a routine habit that becomes second-nature. The more you do it — kind of like exercise — the easier it will become.
What clutter is holding you back? How do you plan to tackle it? Let us know in the comments below!