The simple and hard truth is that there is no simple “guide” to minimalism. There is no “first step” to minimalism. Minimalism seems to have become like a fad diet where people decide to “give some things up” for a month because it looks good on their facebook page and then they go rebound shop the month following like binge eating after the atkins diet.
If you’re asking the question, I have to assume it’s because you are feeling some drive from within to simplify. To reduce and do with less clutter. To experience a newfound freedom and lightness. Minimalism is indeed an answer to these questions, but reading every blog post and book on the planet about the subject isn’t going to suddenly get you to be one. I could happily link you to many posts I and others have written on the topic… but most won’t help you either.
Minimalism is simply a state of mind that you want to make do with less. That means you start buying less and start getting rid of what you have. There are no steps required for that. Buy less and get rid of (some of) what you have. Done.
I know…that sounded terrifying didn’t it?
The true beauty is that you don’t even have to do it all at once. You don’t have to go cold turkey. You can just decide to do with what you have for a few months. You can just take one bin-full (or truck-full) of stuff to the goodwill next month. Any of these will suddenly make you start feeling the benefits of moving more lightly and likely will make you continue. For us, it became like a drug…our best day of the month was purge day. The more we got rid of the lighter we felt and the more of that feeling we wanted.
If it doesn’t feel good or isn’t a good fit than stop…you’ll have plenty of people who understand (in fact nobody will even notice). But if that craving you’ve already started to feel which prompted this question/discussion gets a bit of an answer and you feel good about letting go of those items (you know, the ones you hadn’t seen or used in a few years anyway) than continue on and speed up/ramp up as it feels right.
If it seems weird to you and like you’re fighting against society…surround yourself by others who have similar interests/goals. I assure you it won’t seem weird if/when everyone else you know is pulling into goodwill with you, or dropping bins off at your group yard sale. But it also doesn’t matter if you’re the only one you know (we certainly were).
Other than your friends starting to ask why you seem happier, less stressed or how you suddenly have the money/freedom to travel more, live abroad, quit your job or chase your dreams…they also probably won’t even notice (until you can suddenly fit all your belongings into your van as you drive away to explore new lands…then you’ll probably get plenty of questions). =)
Good luck, and enjoy the journey!
Bryan Danger, freedom seeker, life hacker, small home designer, vanlifer