When people hear “minimalism,” they think of extremes. You know, people who own two shirts and one fork. While that works for some, most of us aren’t ready to take it that far.
However, there is truth to minimalism. Clutter in your home causes unnecessary stress. Stress encourages us to buy stuff that makes us feel happy (if only for a moment). That same stuff becomes more clutter and more stress. It’s a vicious cycle.
Remember that we all are quick to want stuff. But stuff does not satisfy.
Minimalist living is all about less clutter and less stress. It’s about peace and efficiency. It’s about having more time (and more money!) for what matters.
These 10 minimalism tips will help turn your cluttered space into a functional home.
- Related: 9 Frugal Habits of Wealthy People
1. Cancel Unused Subscriptions
There is no need for excess streaming services. Have one or two services at a time and intentionally rotate them. Why keep a streaming service after you binge-watched all of your favorite shows? Most streaming services offer month-to-month subscriptions anyway, so it makes it really easy to turn them on and off.
These streaming services make it easy to subscribe, especially with free trials, but make it difficult to cancel. Guess what? So many of us end up paying for subscriptions we don’t even use. Thankfully, there’s a service that identifies and cancels those unwanted subscriptions.
Trim rounds up your subscriptions and cancels the ones you tell them to ditch for a fee. Please note that Trim takes their fee immediately. For example, if Trim saves you $10/month ($120/year), they will request their 15% fee ($18) right away. But you keep 100% of the savings after that.
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2. Decluttering Hacks
A minimalist space is more peaceful and easier to keep clean than a cluttered space. The problem is, stuff just keeps coming into our homes. Acquiring less is important, but so is getting rid of items that no longer serve us.
A few tips to keep on top of clutter:
- Every time you get a big package in the mail, fill that box up with give-away stuff.
- Make some extra money by selling your items online with tools like Facebook Marketplace.
- When you have a bunch of stuff to unload, a garage sale is key. Set up for a few hours and sell what you can. Whatever doesn’t sell, donate.
Need help deciding what should stay and what should go? The KonMari method can help. Marie Kondo’s bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has all the deets.
3. Opt for Functional Items
Focus your purchases on items that serve a function. When you follow this minimalist mindset, you spend money to make your life easier. When your home is reduced to functional items (minimalsit living), your home easily stays clean and it becomes satisfyingly functional.
Here are some functional items that make your life easier:
- Cordless vacuum
- Hand vacuum
- Mop with mop heads that can go in the laundry
- Basket for dog toys
- Pantry bins
- Refrigerator bins
- Bathroom organizer
- Desk organizer
- Drawer organizers
- Keep cleaner under every sink for easy access
- Pot and pan stacker
- Cooking pot lid organizer
- Smart thermostat
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4. Minimalize Your Linen
How many sets of towels and sheets do you really need? Two is the magic number. Each bed in your home needs two sets of sheets. Each person in your home needs two sets of towels. One set is in use, the other set is clean and in the linen closet.
Declutter your linen closet (or your dirty clothes hamper full of towels you haven’t touched since forever). Keep two sets and let go of everything else. By cleaning up the clutter and confusion, we guarantee you will feel more encouraged to wash your linens more often. This tip is gold because it is the key to regularly enjoying fresh sheets and a fresh towel.
5. Stick to a List on Groceries
It’s important to make a grocery list and stick to it. When you rely on your list and buy what you intend, you will spend less. Not to mention, this cuts down on food waste.
How much food do you have in the back of your pantry that you have not touched? How much old food is in the back of your fridge? Go look. Declutter your fridge, and keep it decluttered with the help of a shopping list.
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6. Reduce, Conserve, Preserve
Whether you’re brushing your teeth or about to hop in the shower, make sure you’re not using extra water. Brushing your teeth uses about 4 gallons of water per week. Excessive water use not only depletes your bank account but also depletes natural resources.
So, next time you go to shave or wash your hands, go easy on the water and help the environment. Here are a few tips to make it easy:
- Don’t leave the water running while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Don’t leave the water running while you’re loading the dishwasher.
- Don’t mindlessly stand in the shower.
- Put hand sanitizer by the sink.
7. Avoid Phantom Electricity Leaks
Many electronic devices and appliances use power even when they’re not in use; this is called phantom electricity. Unplugging them is a quick and easy way to reduce your energy costs.
A great place to unplug stuff is in the kitchen. What is plugged in that you are not using daily? The toaster? The toaster oven? The blender? The stand mixer? Put that stuff in an overhead cabinet. It keeps your counters clean and saves your energy bill.
8. Visit Your Friends and Family
Instead of determining a destination and then planning a vacation around it, ask your friends and family if you can come to visit. Do you have an uncle in New York City? Or, perhaps you have a former schoolmate who lives on the California coast?
No matter where your friends and family live, ask them if you can come to visit. Not only will you save money on lodging but you might get a free tour guide, too!.
True story: I spent three weeks in Taiwan for dirt cheap because I stayed with a friend who had moved there. It was the trip of a lifetime!
Maximize Your Travels
Minimalists aim not only to simplify, reduce and declutter but to make what they have go further. A credit card with travel and airline rewards can reduce your travel costs.
Credit Land rates these rewards cards. You will receive “miles” for each dollar spent to earn free tickets. Many will allow you to convert those miles into cash. Other rewards include free checked baggage, a yearly round-trip companion pass (a free flight for a family member or friend).
- Related: 12 Travel Savings Hacks (that work)
9. Adopt a Minimalist Wardrobe
Open your wardrobe. How many clothes have you not touched in over a year? Clothes are clutter, and they take up physical space and mental energy.
Maybe you’re not ready to go hardcore minimalist and wear the same outfit every day (like Steve Jobs famously did). That’s reasonable. But you can limit your wardrobe to high-quality clothing you feel comfortable and confident in. To embrace minimalist living, reduce your wardrobe to only your favorite clothing items and never worry about what you’re going to wear again. And don’t forget to donate your unused clothes.
Have you heard of a capsule wardrobe? A classic example might be three pairs of pants, three shirts, and three sweaters in different neutral colors. That’s nine pieces of clothing and 27 outfit combinations.
10. Focus on What Matters
I’ll end here because this is the point of minimalism: simplifying the stuff in your life that isn’t that important so you can focus on what is.
When you stop wasting time and energy rearranging clutter on repeat, life gets easier.
When you stop wasting money on stuff that never ends up making you happy, life gets easier.
So what will you do with the time and energy you free up by minimizing your stuff? Focus on your real priorities.
My favorite book on this subject is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Check it out. After all, you’ll have more time for reading, if that’s one of your goals.
Need help saving money? Read these next…
- Follow These 7 Habits of Women Who Always Have Money
- Stop Buying These 9 Things So You Can Save Money
- When You Destroy Debt, You Get to Keep More of Your Money
- 7 Things Frugal People Never Do (and you shouldn’t either)
Want more life hacks? Check these out…
- Dealing with Stress? 7 Habits of People Who Are Always Stress-Free
- If You are Living on One Income, Here’s 43 Frugal Hacks to Help
- 7 Ways to Make Your Home Look Expensive On The Cheap
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Sandra Parsons is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, travel, and health & psychology. Her work has been featured on sites like Club Thrifty, MoneyTips, and Credit Knocks. She also freelances for Wooster Media Group LLC. Sandra lives in Eastern Canada with her husband and son.