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Habits are powerful! Although it’s not always simple to develop good habits, it’s so worth it in the long run. That’s why today, I want to share 25 minimalist habits that can transform your life. I know, because they changed my life and my family’s life for the better.
While it’s true that minimalists are unique in their values and experiences, most of them practice a healthy variety of these habits.
There are minimalism habits for a clutter-free home, habits to simplify life, and frugal habits to help you spend less and save more money.
What’s your favorite minimalist habit? If you don’t find it on this list, make sure to leave it in the comment section below; you can also check out this blog post to find out more about what minimalism is and isn’t.
Watch the minimalist habits youtube video
Minimalist Habits to Transform Your Life
1. Ignore the haters
No matter what you do in life, people will always criticize or try to bring you down. Don’t let them get to you! Keep your head up and keep doing what makes you happy.
You might have people call your home “boring” or “not cozy” or rag on you because you don’t swap your clothes each season to match the latest trends.
Those same people would probably be the first in line to diss you for having a cluttered home or telling you to “just relax” when your life stresses you out.
Haters gonna hate, but don’t feed the trolls; you don’t need that negativity in your life. Live your life, and you do you, boo.
2. Set your intentions
Have you ever decluttered your home, only to find that the clutter is creeping slowly back in?
If so, you might have missed out on one of the most crucial steps in creating a clutter-free home, which is setting the intention for your space.
Setting an intention for a room means thinking about your “why” and getting in touch with the purpose, the feeling, and the energy you want to create in that space.
In our closet-free 100-year-old home, the entryway space is limited. Therefore, we don’t want to fill it up with tons of furniture or own too many shoes or coats because we don’t have the space for them.
The intention here is to have enough room to store our shoes, outerwear, and outdoor play toys, and still have enough space to get in and out quickly and easily.
Everything we need is at our fingertips!
3. The one in, one out rule
The one in, one out rule is simple but effective. All it means is that you sell, donate, or give away an old item for each new item you bring into your home.
This simple habit helps you maintain the equilibrium in your home.
You can think of it more as a guideline than a hard and fast rule, and it’s pretty easy to modify to suit your lifestyle. Read this blog post to learn more about the one-in-one-out rule.
- You can exchange within the same category, or you can swap across categories.
- You can wait until you get rid of something before bringing in a new item.
- You can increase the ratio of things coming in versus things going out (i.e., one in, two out, or one in, four out).
4. Keep surfaces clear
One essential habit for creating a clutter-free minimalist home is to keep surfaces clear. When surfaces are tidy, it gives your eye a chance to rest and creates a feeling of calm. It also makes it much easier to clean!
This is also one of the most challenging habits to maintain, as flat surfaces seem to be absolutely magnets for clutter!
Make it a habit to try and put things away either right after you use them or at the end of the day when you’re doing one last tidy session before going to bed.
5. Use containers
Speaking of flat surfaces, there are times when it doesn’t make sense to put away every little thing on your counter.
This can be due to space limitations or because you often use those things.
In cases like this, containers can help you set a clear boundary and create a physical barrier that stops clutter from spreading further and corrals it to a single location.
Here are ways we use containers in our home
- Entryway – I placed a small wooden bowl I thrifted years ago on top of our entryway IKEA storage unit, which I used to hold our hand sanitizer, sunscreens, tissues, and sunglasses.
- Guest bathroom – We have a large woven plastic basket on top of our washing machine to hold all the detergents, fabric softeners, and lingerie bags that we use for washing our clothes.
- Living room – My kids recently started taking martial arts classes, and their gear was all over the place! I put a lovely woven seagrass basket in the corner to hold them all. Now everything stays tidy, and they can grab it quickly on our way to class or when they want to spar in the evenings.
6. Tidy as you go
Tidying as you go means taking a few extra moments here and there to grab things that are lying around and put them away.
Basically, don’t allow easy-to-clean messes to lie for too long!
When you notice things out of place or something that needs to be done, take care of it at that moment rather than waiting and allowing the tasks to pile up on you at the end of the day.
That might mean grabbing a laundry basket and doing a quick walk-through of your home or putting the ingredients back after you’ve used them while cooking dinner.
My husband is a MASTER at this; when he cooks, he washes dishes as well, so that by the time the meal is over, the only dishes left to do are the ones we were eating off of – genius!
7. Embrace empty space
People see empty space and have this instinct to fill it up.
In our culture, we’ve gotten used to filling every nook and cranny with stuff – knick-knacks, picture frames, excess furniture – but when you make minimalism a habit, you realize that less is truly more (read more reasons to make that your life mantra here.)
If you are in the middle of decluttering your home, don’t feel like you need to put stuff back into the spaces you just cleared out!
Take time to get used to the feeling and enjoy it; you might decide to keep it that way.
We use extra space to practice cartwheels and somersaults or build giant LEGO cities. The possibilities are endless!
8. Clutter buckets
A clutter bucket is a designated bin where you can quickly and easily toss the things that don’t have a home, either for re-homing or to declutter them later when you have more time.
The point is to make them easy and accessible!
- Bottom of the stairs – Put a basket or bin at the foot of the stairs, and all the toys and clothes that collect on the stairs and the lower floor can be carried up at your convenience later.
- Inside your closet or wardrobe – A bin or bag in your closet makes it easy to purge your wardrobe quickly and easily. When you notice an item has been outgrown, damaged beyond repair, or you find don’t reach for it anymore, you can put it in the bag.
- Entryway or desk – Where do you sort your mail? Find the space that makes the most sense and put a clutter bucket there! Some people keep a bin for mail clutter right at the front door and toss it there; others have one under their home office desk.
9. Give each item a home
Once you have a place for everything, keeping your space clean and organized becomes much easier. If you know where everything goes, you can put it away quickly without having to think much about it.
And not just you, but everyone in the family!
10. Create a budget
One of the most important things you can do for your finances is create a budget and then stick to it.
Minimalism and frugal living go together like spaghetti and meatballs, so adopting the habit of tracking your expenses and keeping a budget is a no-brainer.
A good place for newbies to start is tracking their expenses for 30 days and creating a budget that trims the fat.
Advanced minimalists or budgeters can tackle tougher challenges, such as participating in a no-spend challenge like this one or putting their nose to the grindstone and paying off all their debt.
- Download This FREE 2-Page Budget Planner to Save Money
- 10 Simple Minimalist Budget Tips to Spend Less and Save More
11. Own less
Sure, decluttering is great, but finding creative ways to own less is sometimes even better!
For example, I got rid of almost all of my haircare products after cutting off 18 inches of hair to donate to a cancer wigs program. When I want curly hair, all I do is use my bathrobe to make the most fabulous rag curls you’ve ever seen!
If you take the time to think outside of the box, you’ll find that you need much less stuff than you think you do!
12. Reduce impulse buying
Impulse buying can be harmful on so many levels. On the one hand, you’re wasting money buying stuff that you (more often than not) didn’t even want or need.
On the other hand, you’re also filling up your home with all that extra stuff, which in turn takes up space and drains you of your time and energy trying to maintain it all!
We all impulse buy, but it’s time to deal with it when it becomes a constant habit or coping mechanism for stress.
RELATED POST: 7-Step Guide to Financial Minimalism (and a Richer Life)
13. The 30-Day Rule
The 30-Day Rule is simple: if you see something you want, don’t buy it immediately. Instead, wait 30 days.
If after those 30 days you still want the item, go ahead and make the purchase. This rule gives you time to think about whether or not you need or even want an item and is one of the best frugal minimalist habits to shop mindfully – read the entire list here!
14. Say no to free stuff
We live in a society that loves freebies.
Companies will give away all kinds of stuff, from t-shirts to pens to keychains, hoping that you’ll remember them when it comes time to make a purchase. Not to mention all the free stuff left out on trash day or in Buy Nothing groups! Friends who are decluttering their own homes might ask you if you want first dibs.
Free stuff isn’t bad per se; in fact, when I shared my blog post about 50 things I no longer buy as a minimalist, I mentioned there’s a lot of stuff I would hunt for to pay $0 – FREE!
However, if all that free stuff at your fingertips isn’t something you want or need, all you are doing is cluttering up your home with a lot of extra junk!
Make it a habit to say no to freebies if they don’t align with your needs.
15. Turn off notifications
Notifications are one of the biggest distractions when you are trying to be productive or just relax.
Whenever your phone dings or you hear that little notification sound, your brain is conditioned to think it’s something important that needs your attention.
You can put your phone on silent or turn off notifications for specific social media apps when you need to focus.
16. Declutter your apps
When was the last time you used that app on your phone? If it’s been more than six months, you don’t need it.
We often download apps and then forget about them or keep them “just in case.” Not unlike physical clutter, in fact!
But every app on your phone takes up valuable storage space and can be a distraction – they can even sap you of your happiness if you’re engaging on social media apps that put you in a negative mindset.
Find out how to declutter and organize the apps on your phone here – you’ll be glad you did.
Social media can be a great way to connect with friends and family, but it can also be a significant time suck and source of anxiety.
Don’t even get me started on the FOMO.
If you find yourself constantly scrolling through your feed only to feel angry, jealous, or depressed because start comparing your life to an influencer’s, it’s time to do some unfollowing.
Keep the accounts that inspire and motivate you, and say goodbye to the rest.
18. Reduce screentime
It’s easy to get sucked into cat videos and TikTok dances, but at some point, you need to ask yourself if it’s worth it?
After all, all that time you spend watching other people do fun and cool things could easily be put into doing fun and cool stuff YOURSELF!
Put away your computer or phone and turn off the TV and get back in touch with IRL activities that light you up with joy! Find ways to slow down and enjoy living life more at the moment.
- Read a book.
- Go for a walk.
- Cook a delicious meal.
- Take a fun class or learn a new hobby.
- Declutter your home.
- Play a board game.
19. Purge your closet
Do you have clothes you haven’t worn in months – or maybe even years – taking up valuable space in your closet?
They are wasting physical space, but they’re also weighing you down emotionally.
Get rid of clothes that don’t fit you, stuff that you meant to mend but never did, fantasy self items, and closet clutter. Yes, even the brand new things with the tags you never wore! If you haven’t worn it by now, likely, you never will
20. Take care of your stuff
Another excellent simple life habit is to know how to maintain your stuff.
When you treat the things you own with care and affection, they will last longer, and you won’t have to replace items as often. That saves you more money, energy, and time in the long run!
Here are a few ways we mindfully maintain the stuff in our home:
- Have lingerie bags to wash delicates or launder by hand.
- Hang clothes on a line instead of using a dryer.
- Wipe water off counters and walls after using the bathroom and kitchen.
- Keep trash and receipts out of bags.
- Mend small rips or tears in clothing
- Know how to remove various kinds of stains.
21. Share the responsibility
When the entire burden of home care rests on the shoulders of a single person, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
If you live with others, share the load!
Divide up chores so that everyone contributes. You can even make it fun by turning on some music and making a game out of who can clean the most in a certain amount of time.
This isn’t something that will happen overnight but teach and encourage kids and spouses/partners to do their share and take responsibility. The ability to tidy up after oneself is an important life skill and builds character for a happy and successful life!
You can read more about how to get started with family minimalism here.
22. Be sustainable
Making sustainability a part of your minimalist lifestyle isn’t only good for you but it’s also good for the environment!
As you declutter, when you find you no longer want something, don’t just trash it! Instead, you can resell, donate, give away, or recycle.
There are plenty of people who would love to give your unwanted items a new home. Trashing should be the final option when all others are exhausted.
23. Drive less
Do you need to drive everywhere? Can you walk, bike, or take public transportation instead?
This is not only better for the environment, but it can also be better for your health! Walking and biking are great forms of exercise.
Driving less will save you money on gas which is always a bonus. You can read more about how to get started driving less or go car-free like us in this blog post.
24. Reduce sentimental clutter
Sentimental items can be hard to let go of, but if you hold onto everything because it’s “special”, nothing is truly special.
I know how hard it can be to let go of sentimental clutter; I also know how freeing and life-changing it is to do so!
One of my favorite tips is to declutter emotional duplicates.
You don’t need hundreds of items that belonged to your grandmother to remember her when only a few special items would do. Likewise, you don’t need to keep tons of blurry photographs of the same event when you can pick the favorites that bring you the most joy.
Make space for your favorites and send the rest on to a new life.
25. Let go
Letting go isn’t just about removing physical clutter but also downsizing mental and emotional clutter that drains your time, space, money, and energy.
It’s okay to make to-do lists, but it’s also essential to question your to-do lists and realize that not everything is given the same amount of attention or effort – or even done at all!
Whether it’s fear, toxic relationships, bad money habits, or even guilt about letting go, it’s time to release them all and start living your best life.
What are the best minimalist habits?
The best minimalist habits are the ones that simplify your life and bring you the most joy and satisfaction.
What’s your favorite minimalist habit?
Feel free to drop me a comment below and let me know – let’s make this the biggest and best list of minimalist habits out there!