How Becoming a Minimalist Changed My Lifestyle for the Better

I turned 31 a few months ago.

Yep, that means the original Jurassic Park movie arrived in theaters almost 24 years ago. Plus, ABC’s TGIF is older than Justin Bieber.

I grew up in that funny era of old-school merged with new school.

It was a juxtaposition of going outside on the daily and binge playing Pokemon Red on rainy days (using a now “vintage” GameBoy, I might add).

Reflecting on day’s passed made me realize how little I needed as a kid. A roof over my head, food and camaraderie were pretty key to a normal upbringing.

Sure, I lacked a lot of the other luxuries kids had, but it made me resourceful and grateful for the things I DID have.

It’s one of the main reasons I decided to pursue a minimalist lifestyle. If I was able to live without TONS of material possessions as a child and have a kick-ass time, why not now?

So, what is minimalism?

I think Becoming Minimalist has my favorite definition:

Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality. And as a result, it forces improvements in almost all aspects of your life.

I started my journey a little over a year ago at a slow pace. However, after watching a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, I jumped into overdrive.

Below, I provide a breakdown of my process.

Sidenote: Minimalism is what YOU make it. It doesn’t mean you have to live in a home with one utensil, one stool and empty walls. Minimalism is YOUR version of pinpointing the intentional endeavors that add value to your life.

I purged EVERY square foot of my house

My first step was what I like to call: THE PURGE.

Basically, anything my wife and I didn’t use was sold, discarded or given to charity. My mantra was simple:

“If it hadn’t been used in the last 3 months, it’s gone.”

Some of the items PURGED included:

  • 300+ DVDS
  • A HUGE Rower Machine
  • Dozens of OLD Books
  • Old Dresser
  • TONS and TONS of Clothing
  • Unopened Gifts
  • Old Desks

The list goes on and on. We had a garage sale, made countless trips to the Salvation Army and sold large ticket items on eBay.

When the deed was complete we did a massive cleaning. There was no better feeling than a house empty of clutter and full of potential. Plus, it’s made future cleanups SO much easier.

WARNING: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT dump your significant other/roommate’s/mom’s stuff out without permission. I learned this the hard way. It’s NOT a good look. Believe me.

I turned off almost ALL digital notifications

Smartphone/Desktop notifications are a nuisance. Let’s just be honest.

One Instagram notification can turn looking at a friends photo to viewing a video about how to make an Avocado spread 15 minutes later.

They’re a distraction.

My suggestion is to turn almost all of them off. On my phone, I only have 7 apps that push notifications to my phone. These apps are reflective of my business as a Digital Marketer and my personal life. Those include:

  • Inbox
  • Facebook Ads Manager (manage client accounts)
  • Shopify (for my eCommerce store)
  • Google Voice (business
  • Phone
  • Slack (it’s like Whatsapp for business)

Every other app is OFF. Totally off. No banners, pings or anything. These include Facebook, Instagram, App Store, Mint, Chase…the list goes on.

This DRAMATICALLY helps productivity. Just think about how much time you spend on social apps once you get a notification. Notifications can break your grind faster than you can say vibrate.

I limited reckless spending

I never thought I was materialistic.

That is, until I saw I made more than 102 purchases on Amazon in 2016.

What the hell was I buying, you ask? Phone cases, action figures (I really needed that limited edition Boba Fett, dammit) and just countless other items I really didn’t need. I’d spent thousands on BS that hardly added any value to my life.

So, what did I do?

If I wanted something, I would wait a month. If I still wanted it, then and only then, would I make a purchase.

It made me accountable and rational with purchase decisions. Amazon’s Prime (which promises 2 day shipping) made the compulse purchase ability so much easier. This was the best way for me to negate the effect.

I ate/wore the same thing everyday

I’m a pretty simple guy.

Owning my own business does make this easier, but this can be replicated in corporate/startup life, as well. Here’s my closet:

  • 10 T-Shirt’s (a few colors, all about $7 from Old Navy)
  • 4 Pairs of Jeans (a few colors, Five Four Club and Old Navy)
  • 5 Collar Shirts (Five Four Club)
  • 5 Shoes (White Sneakers, Black Sneakers, Brown Shoes, Tan Canvas Shoes)
  • 2 Suits

Having the same shirt in a few different colors works wonders. Old Navy ALWAYS has high quality knit T’s for the LOW.

When it comes to food, I keep it simple, as well:

Monday — Friday (Lunch)

  • Salad + Chicken or Tuna or Salmon
  • Chobani Yogurt (with almonds)
  • Fruit Bowl
  • Water

Simplifying my diet makes the thought process about lunch simple. I don’t need to scramble to figure out what to eat. Or, travel and spend money to find a location. Also, shopping at Trader Joe’s makes the process SUPER affordable and healthy.

Enjoying Paris!

I chose experiences > things

When it comes to BIG purchases, we choose experiences over things. I’d much rather enjoy a 4 day cruise to the Caribbean than a 60″ TV screen (which isn’t what everyone would choose).

Creating experiences with family is one of my favorite things to do. Period. It’s a great way for us all to unplug, enjoy each other’s company and embrace new cultures. After buying all that junk on Amazon what did I really have to show for it? Not much. However, after investing in a trip to Europe, the culture, food and experience was priceless.

I automated my work life

Lastly, I worked my hardest to automate work life.

I’m a Founder of a Digital Marketing Agency in South Florida.

My entire team works remotely close by and around the world. So, automation is CRUCIAL to our success.

We use several different software to work in unison and created an internal process for training, managing and overseeing specific client jobs.

This allowed me to step out of a day-to-day role to focus on overall strategy and client relations. It’s taken time to build and automate the process, but it’s alleviated time on my end to focus on BIG picture and other outlets. It continues to improve every day.

If you’re interested in the Minimalist lifestyle, here are a few additional sources! Also, comment below if you’ve already started the journey!

The Minimalists

Becoming Minimalist

Ditching Suburbia