Less is more: 10 practical ways to be minimalist

Image credit: Scott Webb, Unsplash.

One nice trip this month would make me really happy. Does that mean that 10 trips this month would make me 10 times happier? Definitely not. I would enjoy a new pair of jeans, shoes, a couple of new books and one good online course. If I multiply all these by 10, what do I get? More joy? Nope. Just more mess.

We have a limited capacity to process and enjoy new toys and gadgets. We are also busy. So why do we persist in a constant battle to have more, do more, amass more? That’s not where our happiness is.

1. Work smarter, not harder

Working harder isn’t always the solution. More often it is an excuse to stay busy, do more of the same actions while expecting different results.

2. Minimalism

“If you don’t use it, lose it.”

Our possessions should be things that we like, use and that bring values into our lives. This set of things will be different for everyone and you should make your own conscious choices.

In her international bestseller “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” Marie Kondo talks about belongings as about beings that help us live good, comfortable life. And just like beings, things don’t like to be neglected and forgotten in dark depths of the drawer you never open. If they don’t serve you, they would be much happier to serve someone else. This approach may seem a bit woo-woo, but I think it makes a lot of sense. Clutter creates stress and distraction. Free yourself from unnecessary stuff and feel a huge relief.

3. Capsule wardrobe

4. Makeup

5. Reading slowly

Frantic reading makes us encounter an interesting idea, saying: “Hmm, this is interesting,” and move on in the search of next shiny solution for our problems. However, when we read slowly, carefully, when we highlight, contemplate on what we’ve read, when we try the ideas from the books ourselves, that’s when the books have the biggest potential to transform us.

6. Writing concise.

“I would have written a shorter letter but I did not have the time.”

It takes a lot of effort to go from a huge pile of hot mess that you just slammed onto a page to something that is thoughtful, concise and valuable. It takes a lot of experience to be able to say more with less. But it’s worth practicing. No one will skip your post because it’s too short. Long posts may have more likes, but people are skimming left and right, myself included (See the idea #5.)

7. Poetry

‘Breathe in life, breathe out poetry.’

(Wow.) Liz concluded that poets are definitely the masters of saying more with less. Short, sweet, easy to remember and to the point. We should all read poetry more.

8. Ingredients in your food.

“If it takes the lab to make, it takes the lab to digest.”

Real food has a handful of ingredients and it’s simple and nourishing. Stripping your food from unnecessary stuff will only make your life better.

(A resource that I love.)

9. Abstraction

Example: the heart (see the abstractometer below). The image on the right is the oversimplified form that doesn’t even look like a heart. The image on the left has too many details and looks a bit bizarre. The image in the middle is the right balance, it’s simple, we understand what it is and it doesn’t have anything unnecessary. That’s the abstraction, a powerful principle that can be translated into many creative realms.

10. Decisions

That depletes our willpower and mental bandwidth. That’s the reason that habits are so effective, they eliminate decision making. That’s why meal plans save time, money and energy. Capsule wardrobe, too (See the idea #3). When we stop obsessing over minor decisions, we can start thinking about deep and important things. And that’s the whole point.

It’s your turn. In the comments below let me know what is your favorite way of achieving more with less. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Before you go

Engineer, researcher, creator, obsessed with lists of 10 ideas.