Have you ever taken a really great vacation?
Was your trip to a completely new and different environment than what you are used to?
Did you have to live with less, adjust to new habits and learn new things?
If you had to move to that new location it might be overwhelming or scary. But you knew this vacation was just an experiment.
In the same way you can make it a lot less scary to live with less by making it an experiment.
Learning is Fun!
Let me give you an example. I am a small town girl used to the bigger is better American way and lots of personal space.
I just traveled to two major cities, London and France. When I was there I had to get used to WAY LESS personal space and smaller quarters in general. I also had to learn how to navigate the metro and pay attention to cars coming from the left side instead of the right.
Does that mean I didn’t enjoy my trip?
Of course not! I loved it! And guess what? All that adjustment and learning was half the fun. And it made me really proud of myself when I proved that I can get around a big city just fine!
Traveling is kind of like an experiment. We love it cause it shows us what an alternate version of our lives could be like. It’s a trial run with no commitment.
So what if you could take a “vacation” into the minimalist lifestyle? What if you could try learn how to live with less in a specific way or for a specific time frame? Wouldn’t that feel less scary than deciding to live with less from now on before you even know if you would like it?
So let’s try it! Minimalism for beginners! Here are 5 ways to take a vacation into the living minimalist so you can see if you would truly like to live with less.
Live With Less Clothing- Try Project 333
One of the biggest things most of us needs to simplify is clothing. The great majority of us are drowning in clothing, buying it all the time, and still can’t find anything to wear.
It must be that we don’t really know what we like to wear, what our personal style is, and how to combine things in different ways.
So what’s the solution?
Live with less.
And guess what?! The best part is you don’t have to get rid of ANY CLOTHES…yet.
Simply try Project 333. This minimalist fashion challenge was designed my Courtney Carver as a beginner minimalist when she realized that living with too much was causing a lot of stress that was detrimental to her health.
What are the Project 333 rules? Simply choose 33 items to wear for 3 months. That includes your shoes, belts, coats, and jewelry but does not include pajamas, work uniforms, and workout clothes you actually work out in.
Once you have chosen what you will wear for the next three months simply pack the rest away.
When I tried Project 333 I learned a lot about my personal style and how a little can go a long way. I don’t strictly adhere to it now but it’s still a minimalist experiment I am glad I tried because it showed me once and for all how great it can be to live with less.
If you want to take it a step furthur you could try wearing the same dress for 100 days like my friend Amanda.
Live with Less by Packing Some Stuff Away
Do you want to live with less but find decluttering hard?
Are people in your family always mad when you let go of stuff?
Or are you the one that always makes excuses to keep stuff?
That’s ok! I get it. Decluttering can feel really final but it doesn’t have to be. What do I mean?
Well why don’t you declutter some stuff and put it in a box that you simply put away for awhile? This can work great for stuff you are not sure you are ready to let go of or things that your family claims attachment to.
Simply put that stuff in a box and see if you can live without it for awhile. See if anyone notices that it’s gone. And see if you like the open space better than having the items.
If you find that you need it or miss it just pull it out. And if you family asks about it mention to them that you just put it away for a little while and you can bring it back out if they want it. If however it took them more than a month to notice that item was missing do go ahead and point that out to them.
Now you don’t want boxes sitting around forever so set a time limit of like 1 month or 3 months or at most through the next season for items that are only used seasonally like skis or ski clothes.
If you can’t remember what’s in the box or you never needed it then take it down to donate before you even look at it again!
Packing stuff away before you declutter is a great way to see if you would like to live with less without the pressure. Try it today.
Live with Less and Try a No Spend Month
So why do you want to live with less? Probably because you know it will be a lot less stressful than your life right now. Am I right?
So what is one of the most stressful things in life?
It seems like we are always trying to make ends meet and the minimalist solution is to “have fewer ends”.
Minimalists understand that keeping things simple makes it easier to make the money you need and even save money too!
So how can you get in the habit of saving money? What can you do to practice the live with less mindset in regards to how you spend money?
Try a no spend month!
Now some people do a no spend month by choosing to avoid ALL non-essential purchases for an entire month. That is a great way to save money fast and nip a bad shopping habit in the bud.
BUT, it can have a rebound effect and it doesn’t necessarily change your spending habits in the long term.
What I suggest is that you try to have 10 no spend days a month. That means there are at least 10 days in each month where you buy nothing at all. No snacks, no coffee, and not even any groceries.
On these days you just live off of what you have. You pack a lunch, make coffee at home, prepare a home cooked meal from the groceries you already have in the house, and resist the Target run or the Amazon order.
When you successfully avoid spending money for an entire day put a star on your calendar and pat yourself on the back if you can do that at least 10 days a month. You are well on your way to creating great spending habits that will help you live with less!
Go On Vacation and Live with Less
You know how we compared your minimalist experiments to an vacation where you try out the minimalist lifestyle and see if you actually want to live with less?
Well, why not take an actual vacation?
Whenever I go on vacation I enjoy life with less. Gone are conundrums about what to wear because I only have what I packed. When you stay in a vacation rental you only have what they’ve provided for dishes and cookware.
And guess what? It’s relaxing!
Sure you might have to improvise a little but that just makes you proud of yourself.
There is nothing like a vacation to help you see how little you really truly need to get by and be happy. And with less stuff you focus more on the people your with and the experiences you can enjoy!
So if you want to see how it is to live with less go on a vacation! A vacation from all your stuff might just inspire to let go of some of it.
Say No or Wait
And finally, there is one more minimalist experiment you can try to see if you really want to live with less. It’s a little less concrete than the other ideas but it might be the most important one of all.
Try saying no or waiting on something.
How? What do I mean?
Well let’s say you are asked to add something to your busy schedule that neither interests nor benefits you. You may normally say yes because you feel like it’s the nice thing to do. But is that really true? It is nice to say yes to something you will do half-heartedly or resent?
Instead of saying yes simply say no. You might need to figure out how to say no in a smart way but you can still avoid committing yourself to something that you don’t really want to do.
In that way you simplify your schedule. You learn to live with less distraction from your true goals and less busy work that just exhausts you.
And what about waiting? How can waiting help you live with less?
Here’s a scenario. You run into Target for some medicine and you see a cute shirt. It’s just your style and they have it in your size so you want to snatch it up! But could you wait?
This is one of my favorite ways to avoid impulse shopping. I just wait. If I think about that item I “LOVED” later and I really want it I return in a day or two and buy it.
BUT if I get home and see that it’s just like another shirt I have or I forget it entirely or I’m too lazy to get back to the store I’ve saved myself money and kept my life one item simpler!
This of course can apply to bigger items as well! Maybe you are just dying to buy a camper but could you try one summer with a tent? Are you excited to start a new hobby? Could you wait to buy all the supplies till you have borrowed them and tried it out first?
So this is your last minimalist experiment. Learn how to say no and learn how to wait. See if you don’t just enjoy how it feels to live with less more than how it feels to get everything you want the minute you want it.
Do You Want to Live With Less?
You know how you used to HATE a certain food and your mom told you that you had to at least try it?
And then maybe it wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be. Maybe you even liked it!
Well, everything in life is like that! You have to try something out before you decide if it is right for you.
So why not sample what it’s like to live with less? Why not try one of the experiments above and see if you enjoy having less clothing, fewer items in your home, a little money in savings, a relaxing vacation, and a little more free time?
If you do like how it feels to live with less you can try applying the minimalist lifestyle in your life more. You can see how to make minimalism fit your life and serve you.
For practical steps and lots of motivation check out my e-book Doable Simplicity (minimalism for normal people).