tips for becoming a minimalist

Mental Shift: How to Move Past the Honeymoon Phase of Minimalism

Let's face it. The idea of being a minimalist oftentimes dies quickly once the actual act of being one is put into practice. It's easy to sit back and watch documentaries like Minimalism or read books like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and feel a sense of overwhelming motivation to throw everything away and keep our closets and rooms and lives simple until a few months roll by and... we lose the motivation. It's just a lot easier to talk about it than to do it.

Oftentimes, the motivation isn't strong enough to withstand the pressures to buy new things. It's especially difficult to say "betah not" when faced with the excitement of new seasons, sales and styles. Those home decor isles at Target are some of the worst culprits. It's so hard to say no to that mid-century mirror but it can be done. Promise.

So what to do? How do you get past the honeymoon phase of being a minimalist and make it a life-long pursuit? Here are three tips that I've put into practice over the past year. Now, I only buy something if I REALLY want it - meaning I know I'm going to wear it out or use it out until I can't anymore.

  1. Try to keep your emotions in check when your favorite store has a sale. Ask yourself, if I buy this new swimsuit because it's a smoking deal -- will I actually wear it more than once or twice? If your answer is yes, and it seems to be made to last then consider it an investment piece. If your not going to wear it out, leave it on the rack! Chances are you're going to forget about it by the time you get home if you were purchasing on a whim.
  2. Another way to withstand retail pressures is to leave the store. Look around, try things on and then leave without buying them if you're luke-warm. If you REALLY want it then you'll go back and buy. If you didn't love it, then odds are you'll keep walking. Walking away from the so-called deal because you know it will only take up space in your closet. Truly, I believe this could be one of the most freeing things you try this year. The more you do it, the more you'll keep doing it and by the time you know it, leaving stores without buying a thing will become a habit. The only way you'll end up buying something is if it's too amazing to pass up and then that thing will become one of your favorite pieces. This works for jewelry, clothing, home decor, you-name-it. Don't go into a retail store with the same attitude anymore!
  3. When it comes to shopping online, things get a little trickier. It's hard to say no when it's available with the touch of a button. Literally, one touch or swipe once you put in your checkout credentials once. They make it TOO easy on us. So here's what you can do. Leverage step one from above. If you think you'll get use out of the product (be honest with yourself) then consider it an investment. If you find yourself ordering things because you love the feeling of receiving packages at your desk at work then you're buying stuff for the wrong reason.

I've been practicing these three tips for the past year and I've had a much easier time finding things that I love and that I wear out - completely.

Leave a comment below and let me know how you're seeking out minimalism as a life-long pursuit. I'd love to hear what's working well for you!

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