If You Want To Live A Minimalist Life, Stop Doing These Things

If You Want To Live A Minimalist Life, Stop Doing These Things

Is your house overflowing with stuff you don’t need or even like? Feeling stressed trying to keep up with it all? Minimalism can be your superpower! Break free from the endless cycle of buying, organizing, and cleaning. Discover how a minimalist lifestyle leads to more time, money, and peace of mind.

1. Impulse buying

Minimalism isn’t about deprivation, it’s about intentionality. Before swiping that credit card, ask yourself: Do I really need this? Will it add value to my life? If the answer isn’t a resounding “Yes!” then leave it on the shelf. Channel your inner superhero of self-control every time that little voice tries to convince you that you absolutely NEED those sparkly shoes. Per CNBC, Americans spend more than $5,400 a year on average on impulse purchases. Imagine what you could do with that money!

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2. Comparing yourself to other people

Those Instagram-perfect homes and overflowing closets? They don’t bring true happiness. Focus on what YOU need, not what everyone else has. Social media is a highlight reel, not real life. Those people with overflowing closets might be drowning in debt. Choose contentment over comparison every single time.

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3. Looking for happiness in material things

That new gadget or trendy outfit will give you a fleeting dopamine hit, but lasting joy comes from experiences, relationships, and personal growth. Shift your focus from accumulating ‘stuff’ to accumulating memories. That weekend trip with friends or the laughter during game nights will bring way more lasting happiness than buying another throw pillow.

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4. Shopping for entertainment

Bored? Hitting the mall isn’t the answer. Rediscover hobbies, connect with friends, or spend time in nature – there are far more fulfilling ways to fill your time. Feeling restless? Instead of window-shopping, go for a walk, try a new recipe, or start that book that’s been on your bedside table. You might be surprised how enriching those simple, free activities can be.

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5. Holding onto items “just in case”

Let’s be real, when was the last time you actually needed that spare waffle iron from 1987? If you haven’t used it in a year, it’s time to let it go. Those “just in case” items might feel like a safety net, but they’re really just anchors weighing you down. Trust that if a random, unlikely need arises, you’ll figure it out and won’t regret donating those extra spatulas.

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6. Buying stuff just because it’s on sale

A bargain is only a bargain if you truly need the item. Don’t fall for sales gimmicks that trick you into buying more unnecessary clutter. Resist the siren call of clearance racks! Those flashing red “SALE” signs are designed to short-circuit our rational brains. Before getting excited, step back and ask yourself if you truly need it – even if it’s an amazing deal.

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7. Equating sentimental value with clutter

messy living

Cherish memories, not every physical object connected to them. Minimalism doesn’t mean being heartless – it’s about mindfully curating what you keep. Instead of a box full of every ticket stub you’ve ever owned, maybe keep the most meaningful ones in a small scrapbook. That worn-out childhood teddy bear? Snap a photo for your memories, then donate it so another little one can love it.

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8. Trying to keep up with the Joneses

Forget about what others think. Live a life true to your values and your wallet. Their fancy car and designer handbag won’t make you happier. Remember, most people are secretly drowning in debt trying to maintain that image, Forbes notes. Prioritize your own goals and dreams, not impressing people who don’t really matter.

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9. Feeling guilty about saying “no”

woman smiling cheekily outside

No to invitations you don’t want. No to gifts you don’t need. No to obligations that don’t serve you. Your time and energy are precious. Saying “no” isn’t rude, it’s self-care! Free up mental space to focus on what truly lights you up, and politely decline those energy-sucking events you always dread.

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10. Letting stuff control your time

smiling asian woman outdoorsiStock

The more you own, the more you have to clean, organize, and maintain. Free up your time by choosing quality over quantity. Imagine weekends spent enjoying hobbies or exploring, not fighting an endless battle against clutter. Imagine not scrambling through piles of stuff to find that one missing item – that’s the kind of freedom minimalism offers!

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11. Cluttering your calendar

Minimalism extends to your schedule. Embrace white space. Focus on what matters, and leave room for the unexpected (and for just relaxing!). Overstuffing your calendar leads to burnout. Instead of rushing from one obligation to the next, be intentional and prioritize what truly rejuvenates you. A decluttered calendar feels a whole lot more peaceful!

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12. Trying to do it all

You’re not a superhero! Saying no to some commitments frees you to fully engage in what you do choose. Quality over quantity applies to your to-do list too. Trying to cram everything in leads to half-hearted efforts and constant stress. Give yourself permission to SLOW down, and prioritize the tasks that truly make a difference in your life.

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13. Letting fear drive your decisions

“What if I need this someday?” can keep you stuck. Embrace uncertainty and let go of the fear of missing out on potential future needs. Trust that you’ll find a solution if an unlikely scenario arises – maybe you can borrow it, rent it, or find a creative workaround. Don’t let fear chain you to a house overflowing with “maybe” items.

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14. Procrastinating on decluttering

tired woman sitting down between chores

Waiting for the perfect time? It won’t come. Start small, 15 minutes a day is better than doing nothing. Momentum is your friend! The daunting task of decluttering the whole house is paralyzing. Instead, pick one small area (a drawer, a shelf) and just start. Once you see the progress, it becomes addictive in the best possible way!

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15. Accepting gifts you don’t really want

Awkward, yes, but be gracious and clear. Suggest an experience together instead, or let them know their thoughtfulness is enough. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but remember, it saves you from the clutter guilt later on. Help your loved ones understand your minimalist mindset and maybe you’ll inspire them to consume less too.

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16. Clinging to your past.


Past regrets or dwelling on “what could have been” keeps you stuck. Focus on the present, and on the life you’re building right now. Minimalism includes letting go of the emotional baggage too. Holding onto the past only weighs you down – choose to create a lighter, more fulfilling present instead.

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17. You stop making excuses.

“I don’t have time”, “I don’t know where to start” – these are obstacles you put in your own path. Start with a single drawer, and let the small wins motivate you. Those excuses keep you exactly where you are – choosing to take action, even a small step, is how you create real change in your life. Every journey begins with a single step, even towards a minimalist lifestyle!

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18. You stop focusing on what you’re missing out on.

blonde woman serious looking at camera

Minimalism isn’t about deprivation, it’s about living a richer life with less. Celebrate the freedom, the peace of mind, and the space it brings. Instead of fixating on that one outfit you didn’t buy, focus on the savings you’re making! Imagine the goals you can reach when you aren’t throwing money away on impulse buys. Every time you resist an unnecessary purchase, celebrate a victory towards the life you want.

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Harper Stanley graduated from Eugene Lang College at The New School in NYC in 2006 with a degree in Media Studies and Literature and Critical Analysis. After graduating, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Atlantic before moving to the UK to work for the London Review of Books.

When she's not waxing poetic about literature, she's writing articles about dating, relationships, and other women's lifestyle topics to help make their lives better. While shocking, she really has somehow managed to avoid joining any social media apps — a fact she's slightly smug about.