Minimalism is becoming increasingly popular as more people aim to declutter and simplify their lives. The benefits of minimalism include focusing more on experiences than possessions, having more free time and headspace, and increasing overall well-being. However, transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle can be daunting for beginners who don’t know where to start. The key is to start small by developing minimalist habits over time rather than aiming for perfection immediately.
This article covers 20 straightforward minimalist habits perfect for beginners who want to get started without feeling overwhelmed. Implementing even a few of these habits creates positive change. The great thing about minimalism is that it looks different for everyone – you can decide what works best. Whether you aim to have a more organized home, reduce stress, help the environment, or just simplify, these 20 habits set you up for success.
1. Clear Clutter for 10 Minutes a Day
Choose a spot in your home, office, or car that tends to collect clutter. Set a timer for 10 minutes and focus on decluttering just that space. Toss trash, return items in designated spots, and donate or recycle anything you don’t need.
2. Follow the “One In, One Out” Rule
When you purchase or receive a new item, remove something you already own. If a new shirt comes in, donate an old one. This stops clutter from accumulating and keeps your belongings curated.
For instance, if you buy a new pair of shoes, consider donating a team you don’t wear anymore. Or when you receive books as gifts, you can donate books you’ve already read.
3. Unsubscribe from Unused Email Lists and Accounts
Reducing digital clutter is just as important. Spend time unsubscribing from newsletters, notifications, and accounts you no longer need. Keep only essential subscriptions to avoid overload.
4. Stick to a Minimalist Wardrobe
Build a closet focused on high-quality, versatile basics in neutral colors. Avoid items you wear less than once a month. Having a streamlined wardrobe reduces decisions about getting dressed.
Try limiting yourself to 30 articles of clothing in total. Focus on multipurpose pieces like black pants, simple dresses, button-down shirts, and solid tees.
5. Practice Single-Tasking
Do one activity at a time with complete focus instead of multitasking. Set aside distractions and be present in the moment to reduce stress.
For instance, turn off notifications while working on a project. Avoid TV in the background when spending quality time with others. Give tasks your full attention.
6. Schedule Tech-Free Time
Set a period each day to completely disconnect from technology and find focus. Even 30 minutes can make a difference. Use this time for hobbies, connecting with others, or just resting.
For example, keep phones out of the bedroom after 9 p.m. Have tech-free family dinners. Unplug for an hour before bed to wind down.
7. Decline Impulse Purchases
Avoid buying anything you don’t need at the moment. Delay purchases and see if you still want the item later. This stops clutter before it starts.
When you feel tempted to buy something on a whim, wait 24 hours before deciding. The urge will pass, and you’ll realize you don’t need it.
8. Donate Unused Items
Go through your belongings and remove anything you haven’t used in over a year. These forgotten items take up space that could be free.
For instance, donate unworn clothes that have been sitting in your closet. Give away books or movies you’ll likely never reference again. Pass on unused gifts to someone who needs them.
9. Create Daily Routines
Consistent morning and evening routines reduce decision fatigue and provide structure. Over time, these routines become second nature.
Build habits like making your bed each morning, reading before bed, drinking lemon water after waking up, or journaling at night. Repeat what works best.
10. Meal Plan for the Week
Decide on recipes ahead of time to avoid wasting food and spontaneous purchases. Make a grocery list based on planned meals.
For example, take 15 minutes on Sunday to outline meals and needed ingredients. Shop accordingly so you use what you buy. Meal prep also saves time.
11. Say No to Freebies
It’s tempting to take anything free, but these items can quickly become cluttered. Only accept free things you know you’ll genuinely use.
When offered free products or swag, politely decline if you won’t use it. Save your space for items you truly need and love.
12. Stick to Minimalist Decor
Choose multifunctional furniture and keep your color scheme neutral. Avoid cluttered surfaces and stick to the essentials. Less is more.
For instance, use furniture that offers closed storage, like ottomans, side tables with drawers, or storage beds. Keep accent decor minimal and purposeful.
13. Limit Social Media Use
Reduce comparisons and information overload by intentionally scheduling social media browsing rather than aimlessly scrolling.
Only allow yourself to check sites like Facebook or Instagram during set times, like 15 minutes in the morning and evening. Use website blockers outside of those times.
14. Cultivate Negative Space
Leave empty areas clear in each room rather than filling up every last bit of space. Negative space creates a sense of openness and breathing room.
15. Simplify Your Finances
Stick to one or two bank accounts and credit cards. Reduce financial fees and only keep essential subscriptions or memberships.
For instance, cut cable packages and downgrade internet plans if faster speeds aren’t needed. Avoid subscriptions you don’t regularly use.
16. Minimize Bathroom Products
Keep just your daily use of personal care and makeup products easily accessible. Store specialty items out of the way. Avoid multipacks.
Only keep essentials like face wash, moisturizer, toothpaste, and deodorant visible. Put extras under the sink or in drawers to reduce clutter.
17. Drink More Water
Carry a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day to stay hydrated without waste. Set a daily water intake goal.
Drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water per day. Having a bottle on hand makes this habit easier. Staying hydrated has health benefits, too.
18. Walk or Bike for Local Trips
Skip the car and walk, bike, or take public transit instead. This reduces emissions and mileage while fitting in exercise.
19. Bring Your Bags
Keep reusable shopping bags in your car or purse so you don’t have to use wasteful plastic bags at stores. Bonus points if you refuse straws, too.
20. Buy Experiences Over Stuff
Focus discretionary spending on shared experiences that cultivate joy and connection rather than physical items that lead to clutter.
For example, opt for concert tickets over more clothes. Plan a vacation rather than buy another television. Shared memories have more meaning than stuff.
The great news about minimalism is that you can decide what habits work for your lifestyle. Not every tip will resonate right away. Focus on the few changes that feel most beneficial now, whether decluttering your closet, sticking to daily routines, or reducing digital overwhelm. Over time, these intentional habits create significant results.
Starting is often the most challenging part, so give yourself credit for taking the first steps, whatever they may be. Set yourself up for success by starting small. Over time, these simple habits snowball into meaningful change. Years from now, you’ll be amazed at how curated, intentional, and joyful your lifestyle has become. Be patient with the process and enjoy the rewards.