How to Minimize Your Life to Maximize Your Enjoyment

In my younger years, I believed more stuff would make me happy—more events, activities, clothing, friends, and, of course, more money. But as time passes, I recognize that minimizing my life leads to more enjoyment. 

The law of addition by subtraction brings happiness in ways that more stuff never could. By reducing the excess in my life, I create more space for the things that matter.

Here are twenty ways I’ve minimized my life to maximize my happiness:

1. Minimize Possessions

When minimizing your life, start by reducing your possessions. If your house burned down tomorrow, what would you miss?

Sit in a quiet space and try to remember the stuff stored in your home. What’s hiding in your drawers and closets? What can you remember? Write down the things you recall. The property you wouldn’t want to part with under any circumstances.

Then open your closet doors and look at the objects hanging on hangers and sitting on shelves. Pull out your drawers and peek inside. Do you need to keep the stuff you couldn’t recall? If you can’t remember it, do you need it?

2. Minimize Your Clothing

If it’s hard to get rid of your stuff, start with a closet purge.

Find the clothes that match your style. Figure out what colors you like to wear and what types of fabrics feel good on your skin. Look for complementary shades and design a capsule wardrobe so you can easily mix and match your clothing.

After you narrow down what you love, toss anything too worn to repair. Donate clothes that don’t fit, those you don’t love, and duplicates.

3. Minimize New Purchases

The best way to minimize new purchases is to stop buying stuff you don’t need. Everything you own should serve a purpose. It may be beautiful, functional, or comforting, but if you won’t wear it, use it, or admire it for its beauty, then don’t put it in your cart.

Do you feel a compulsion to spend? Are you feeling insecure? Do you struggle to maintain control of your finances? Dig into your money mindset, understand your triggers, and say goodbye to needlessly buying more stuff.

If you still feel the temptation to spend, stay out of stores, cancel your Amazon Prime membership, or implement a no-spend month.

4. Minimize Digital Clutter

After cleaning out the physical clutter in your home, it’s time to minimize your digital clutter. Remove unwanted apps from your phone and old files from your desktop. Purge blurry photos and empty the trash in your digital garbage bin.

Sort through your digital directories in search of outdated files and clear out your inbox.

5. Minimize Toxic Relationships

If someone in your life makes you miserable, now is the time to minimize your interactions with them. Create boundaries, learn to navigate conversations, and reduce the number of times you meet with people who stir up drama.

If you can’t cut this person out of your life, avoid sharing personal information and never be left alone with them.

6. Minimize Your Mail

The mail is one of the quickest and easiest things to minimize. Unsubscribe from magazines by emailing the companies that send catalogs or call them to request immediate removal.

Add your name to the do not call directory, so your name, address, and phone number are deleted from direct mailing lists.

My goal is mailbox zero, like inbox zero. I only want to receive mail that matters. I’m happy to see personal letters and checks, but I don’t need paper bank statements and bills, which can arrive electronically.

Shred or recycle your mail the minute it arrives at your door. Prevent paper piles from overtaking your counters.

7. Minimize Your Inbox

Email constantly grabs our attention and lures us away from more important or enjoyable tasks. How often do you look over when your phone dings or the little mail icon pops up? 

To minimize your inbox, you’ll want to unsubscribe from stores, advertisements, and circulars. Purging your inbox is an ongoing process. Unfortunately, new purchases put you back on the list, so as soon as new ads appear, it’s time to unsubscribe again.

Create filters to parse your mail into specific folders. Highlight the things you need to take care of and throw out the stuff you don’t need.

8. Minimize Car Trips

Reduce the number of times you drive to the store. By reducing car trips, you’ll stay out of stores, reduce gas consumption, decrease your carbon footprint and save time.

Try to run your errands on the same day. Go to the grocery store, fill your car with gas, and meet a friend for lunch in the same afternoon.

9. Minimize Your Goals

Creating a long list of lofty goals almost guarantees you won’t accomplish all of them. Minimize your list of objectives by choosing one specific dream and devoting your attention to it.

Some people love New Year’s resolutions, but I’m not one of them. I prefer to focus my time on a new goal each month. Review your plan at the end of the month and decide if you want to switch to a different objective. By focusing on one small task you are more likely to achieve it.

Seek meaningful pursuits and minimize distractions that keep you from reaching your targets.

10. Minimize Multi-Tasking

Study after study tells us that multi-tasking decreases productivity, yet we spend our lives juggling tasks in our minds. We can’t accomplish one hundred goals in a day or one hundred tasks simultaneously. Instead, try to focus on one assignment or chore at a time.

Create a list of the three most important tasks you need to complete and work through them individually. Maintain a task list to capture other ideas that pop into your mind. If an idea distracts you, write it down, then return to your primary objective.

Ignore emails while you work on creative tasks, or set aside specific times throughout the day to check them. Turn off computer notifications and clear the area around your workspace so you won’t get distracted.

11. Minimize Your Financial Footprint

Minimize the number of banks you use by choosing the bank with the highest interest rate and lowest fees. Open accounts there and close similar accounts at other institutions.

By consolidating accounts, you can keep a watchful eye on your money and incur fewer fees.

Reduce the number of credit cards you use. Pick one or two that provide the best perks. Chasing rewards might earn you a few extra bucks, but it complicates your life unnecessarily. Aim for financial minimalism.

12. Minimize Your Time on Social Media

Don’t let social media suck the minutes out of your day. Focus on ways to carve out time for healthy and enjoyable endeavors that you will remember over the long run.

Keep your phone out of your bedroom at night, or vow not to hop on social media first thing in the morning. Turn off notifications, so you aren’t lured by the thought of new Facebook posts or Instagram stories.

Limit the number of people you follow and put daily limits on your app usage.

13. Minimize Regrets

To minimize regrets in life, it helps to think about your death. I know that sounds morbid, but it’s true.

Imagine you are lying on your deathbed. Imagine the actions you’ve taken and those you were too afraid to venture into.

According to Bronnie Ware, there are five common regrets of the dying:

  • I wish I dared to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  • I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  • I wish I dared to express my feelings.
  •  I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  • I wish that I’d let myself be happier.

To minimize regrets, you must act with intention. Take the time to step away from work, spend time with your family, tell others how you feel, stay connected, and find the activities and actions that bring you joy. 

14. Minimize Inactivity

Combat a sedentary lifestyle by minimizing inactivity. Our health should be our number one priority, but most of us ignore our bodies until they ache or fail. 

Get up every hour to stretch. Ask a friend to go for a hike. Head to the gym before your kids wake up and walk around the house when you talk on the phone. It doesn’t matter how you move your body. The goal is to minimize idle time.

15. Minimize Negative Thinking

I am a recovering perfectionist who spent way too many years focused on everything I did poorly and very little on the things I did well.

If you do nothing else, try to minimize negative thinking. Create a brave list of former accomplishments and learn to believe in yourself.

Surround yourself with cheerleaders and seek out positive affirmations. Clear money blocks and concentrate on positive feedback rather than focusing on the negative.

16. Minimize Negative Influences

What negative influences are draining you? Negative influences are all around us. It might be a pessimistic coworker, the adverse effects of social media, or a family member constantly weighing you down. How can you limit negative influences in exchange for creativity, positivity and joy?

Limit time spent with people who evoke negative energy. Seek out positive friends, coworkers, and family whenever you can.

17. Minimize Commitments & Activities

Learn to say no to commitments you dislike and yes to things you enjoy. Minimize your schedule by ditching events that don’t bring you joy.

Outsource tasks so you can use your time for more joyful moments. Use Instacart to pick up your groceries each week or pay your kids to wash the laundry.

Delete unnecessary, recurring meetings from your calendar. If an activity doesn’t add value to your life, then why are you doing it? If you don’t need to continue, give it the boot.

Create a time journal to document how you spend the hours and minutes of your day. Figure out how much time you are wasting on unpleasant activities and aim to get rid of non-essential activities that don’t fulfill you.

18. Minimize Stress

Find ways to reduce your stress. What is keeping you on edge? Do you need to change careers, limit your after-work obligations, or outsource tasks to other people?

Take time for self-care, which nourishes your spirit. Meditate, find ways to laugh, get a full night’s sleep, and talk to others when you feel overwhelmed.

Limit screen time, exercise, reduce caffeine, and explore mindfulness techniques.

19. Minimize Consumption

Minimize the amount of artificial ingredients you ingest each week. Cut back on the amount of sugar in your diet and fill your body with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables instead.

Minimize consumption by switching to reusable products, eating plant-based seasonal foods, decreasing your electrical usage, and biking or walking rather than driving when you can.

20. Minimize Advertising Influences

Minimize the influence of advertisements by upgrading your television subscriptions. Netflix, Hulu+, and Paramount+ provide content without ads. 

Put a blocker on your browser so you don’t have to see ads on websites (yes, you can block ads like the ones you see on this site). Unsubscribe from store emails and catalogs as detailed above.

Minimizing Your Life is About More Than Purging Your Stuff

As you can see, minimizing your life is about more than purging your possessions. After you get rid of the physical clutter you can clear out the mental clutter too.

How about you? What have you minimized? After you cut stuff from your life, did you find more space for joy?

6 thoughts on “How to Minimize Your Life to Maximize Your Enjoyment”

  1. “Minimize Toxic Relationships” that’s amazing. I think “friends” are overrated, and we don’t really need that much casual people around us.

  2. I smiled while I read this article. I have never been a minimalist (less is more), instead I am a (press the easy button) person. As much as possible I have done what I wanted to do. For example: I always wanted to live in a high-rise building in the city. Since downtown apartments have always cost more I decided not to own/drive a car. Not having the cost of car payments, maintenance, gas and insurance has saved me a fortune. Since 1982 I have lived in a walkable area that has all my goods and services within a mile. My neighborhood has bus, streetcar and light rail outside my door. The largest apartment I lived in was 1149sf, and now that I am retired I’m living in a 487sf condo and I spend very little on housing, upkeep and utilities. I am a collector of things, art, antiques and books, but my collections are small. I love being able to sit in my apartment and see everything I love. My daily existence is all about small things. People watching in small cafes, browsing book stores and reading good books, baked goods and comfort food, brunch and afternoon tea, the symphony, sitting in the park with a picnic lunch, and vintage shopping with friends. I consider my life to be one of contentment. The only area I have regrets is in family relations, but I have made peace with that.


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