In my experience, people have a lot of misconceptions when it comes to minimalism. Some of the things I’ve heard include:  Minimalists own nothing and live in white rooms without furniture. Minimalists are like buddhist monks or asylum patients. If I give away everything it will solve all my problems. If I have the least stuff, then I’m the best minimalist!

No! These are extreme examples and extremes on either end of the spectrum, be it hoarding or minimalism, are not healthy. Minimalism shouldn’t be a contest. There is no “winning” at minimalism. Minimalism also shouldn’t be used as an end goal when you don’t know how to define your life. It can, however, be a useful starting point.

Minimalism isn’t about having nothing. It’s about having what you need. It’s about knowing that buying more stuff won’t bring you happiness. Everything you DO own should add real value to your life.

Minimalism is about the intentional use of the resources you have.

Don’t feel obligated to hold onto stuff just because it was who you used to be. Keep things because they will help you be the person you are becoming!

Clutter can feel suffocating. Releasing items can feel freeing. Sometimes you need to let go of what’s weighing you down in order to move on. Releasing things can also be addictive. It gives you that chemical high that you also feel when you buy new things. Remember, it shouldn’t be a competition about who can live in the barest cell.  You don’t have to live in an empty white box devoid of personality.

If you are sensitive to visual distraction, you don’t have to get rid of everything to feel calm. For you, it is even more important that your stuff has a place to go when it’s not in use. Every item in your home should have a permanent place to live. That could be inside a cupboard or a drawer, or simply in a box or basket with a lid. Something to simplify your visual environment.

Try to live simply and be deliberate about your choices and purchases. Before you click on your next purchase, ask yourself if you really need it? Do you already have something that would work just as well? Would this new purchase add real value to your life?

We live in a world of excess. Where anything you can imagine can be bought on the internet and delivered to your door. But is all that stuff just numbing you to your situation and trying to fill a void in your life? Is this how you want to be defined in your life? Or is there more?

People need meaning in their lives. Listen to your inner voice to discover your sense of direction.

People need a purpose or direction to make progress in their lives. What good can you do in the world?

People have a need for intimacy. It’s important to feel a connection to others. Who is your community?

How do you want to define your life?

You don’t have to define yourself as a minimalist to declutter your environment.