Last week we looked at a minimalist lifestyle is, and why it could be such a good idea to adopt it. And, as my grandmother, who was the wisest women I’ve ever met, always said—the how follows the what. Now that we’re beginning to understand minimalism, let’s get down to how to actually begin living it.

You may be someone living in the outskirts of Singapore or smack in the hustle and bustle of the city’s busy districts. But one thing is undeniable, Singapore is a materialist’s paradise.

Yup, there are gadgets and gizmos aplenty here. Clothes—you bet. You’d think with the hot weather there would be fewer clothes choices, but no way. Not here. Jewelry—ah, it seems like there is bling all around. Make-up—absolutely—in almost any and every brand you could think of. Books, furniture, cars…stuff… you name it, you can get it here. (Or shipped here.)

No wonder they call our little red dot a shopper’s paradise.

But you’ve decided on embracing a minimalist lifestyle, what can you do? Don’t worry, here are five steps to help start your journey in becoming a minimalist in Singapore.

If you missed the first part, make sure you check out Is the Minimalist Lifestyle for Me? first!

The New Savvy -Life-5 Steps to Beginning your Journey to Minimalism in Singapore-2

1. Write out a plan.

Everything starts with a plan. Especially something as important as a lifestyle change, I might add.

Get a notebook and start writing down your goals in becoming a minimalist. Remember, minimalism is not about deprivation, it’s about freedom. Be honest with yourself. Also, be practical. Don’t try and be a minimalist and live in its extreme forms of rule-keeping and counting everything you own. This will suck the joy out of it faster than you can say, ‘Marie Kondo.’

Be realistic in your attitude and mindset. Here are a few questions to
reflect on before you begin your minimalist journey:

  • Why do I want to be a minimalist?
  • What do I expect to happen when I live the minimalist lifestyle?
  • What is truly important to me and in life? Which of these things are my priorities right now?
  • What do I know that I need to let go of in my life? (both materially and personally)
  • What will I do if don’t immediately see the results I want?

Of course, you’re not limited to only these questions. These are really just to get you started. Keep on writing your thoughts about why minimalism is important to your life right now until you have a strong sense of determination and purpose.

When you have realised the gut-honest answers to these questions, commit. And get ready to enjoy the journey that awaits you!

Do you have the mental strength to adopt this lifestyle? Check out our article Are you a mentally strong woman? to help you build some inner fortitude.

2. Declutter

The most tangible aspect of becoming a minimalist is revamping your living space. Again, there are no strict rules to follow.

The point is to make your home a home for you and NOT your stuff.

Here are a few tips on how to do this:

Take all (yes, all) your stuff and place it before you. Find the biggest area in your home to place them in so you could see it all at a glance. Begin to sort your items in the following: a) Keep b) Throw c) Donate or Give Away

Although Marie Kondo is not necessarily a minimalist, she does have fantastic tips on decluttering. Her book is a good place to start. Try out The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. If you don’t find the Konmari method to your liking, try The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker.

3. Schedule.

Now that you have prioritised what really matters to you, begin the art of scheduling your days to fit your joys and passions. This is one of the main benefits of minimalism.

With this new lifestyle, both your time and money are now used more importantly on the things you truly enjoy. For example, instead of spending your time and money on buying clothes you don’t really need and will use only once, you can now spend it more purposefully with your best friend over coffee and cake on a bright Wednesday afternoon.

Schedule all that you love in your days and you will begin to love your days!

4. Be mindful.The New Savvy -Life-5 Steps to Beginning your Journey to Minimalism in Singapore-3

One huge advantage of minimalism that we haven’t talked about yet is that it’s good for the environment. We human beings have exacted such a toll on the earth that many climate experts are alarmed. And so, every little bit helps.

Bring your own water bottle and commuter cup for hot beverages. Never leave home without your eco-bags so you don’t have to keep buying new ones. If you can bring your own food container, eating utensils and bamboo or metal straw, that would be awesome, too. When you get takeout food, only ask for the cutlery, napkins, and condiments that you’ll actually use. You’d be surprised at how much waste we produce.

5. Sustain

Living a minimalist lifestyle may not be easy at first especially if you encounter quizzical, or even incredulous, looks from your peers or colleagues. They may ask “Really, all your clothes just fit into two suitcases?” Or “You took the 100-item challenge and survived?”

They may not understand you initially or may even disagree with you. This can be discouraging as you feel peer pressure closing in on you to keep up with the Joneses (or the Lees). When this happens, always go back to why you decided to this. Let your purpose fuel your commitment.

Part of sustaining this lifestyle is doing periodic checks. When does stuff accumulate in your life? I know I get frazzled shortly after Christmas or my birthday and I have no room for the gifts people gave me. Make no mistake, I’m grateful for people’s thoughtfulness and generosity. But a lot of what I get—especially from acquaintances or people who don’t know me all that well—is not very useful.

So after major gift-receiving holidays or visits to Mom or Grandma’s house, survey what you have and make another three piles for a) Keep b) Throw c) Donate or Give Away.

Honestly, you’ll be surprised at how quickly stuff accumulates these days. Periodic checks keep clutter at bay.

Pro-tip: Friends with small children do one thing that prevents their homes from being overrun with toys. For every one toy they receive for a special occasion, that’s how many they have to give away to a children’s home or care center. For example, if little Riley got a racecar, a firetruck, and a monster truck from his grandparents at Christmas, he has to choose three toys to give away. I call this a fair exchange, don’t you? And it teaches kids not to be hoarders, too.

6. Connect

You are not alone. Minimalism in Singapore is a growing movement. Many are beginning to see its appeal and have the same questions you do. Those who have practiced it for a while know what you are going through and the experiences you encounter. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people keeps you inspired and motivated. So, connect with the community! You can join the Facebook page, Minimalism in Singapore, and meet with fellow minimalists.

Posts include their tips, stories of their journeys as well as holding regular meetups around Singapore. Build relevant and long-lasting relationships with your fellow minimalists in this movement and watch how the lifestyle truly changes your outlook on yourself, others, and the world!

Final thoughts…

I feel that I’ve only just scratched the surface concerning minimalism, but it’s a good place to start. And finally, I wish you luck on your journey! I hope that the minimalist lifestyle gives you the freedom and joy you’re looking for.

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business owner/writer @ Victorious Joe
Victoria Polintan worked as a preschool teacher for many years. One day, Vicki traded in her love for small children for her passion for cooking, and she went back to school for a culinary arts degree. With her partner, a fellow foodie, Vicky opened a Tex-Mex pop-up restaurant in Manila and they’re now planning the next one. Aside from tiny tots and food, Vicki is a certified running buff. (She calls it her secret to staying Zen.) She also enjoys reading and writing about her various passions—relationships, career, lifestyle, travel, parenting, mentoring, podcasts, the ocean and much more. Her current ambition is to visit one new country or territory every year, and is looking forward to seeing New Zealand, Cuba, or Palau sometime in the near future.  

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