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Living with less may sound easy, but paring down can be difficult process. Minimalism offers great potential for financial savings as well as peace of mind, but the hardest part is often getting started. Here are some tips on becoming a minimalist if you are ready to start living with less.

1. Make a Plan

It’s important to create a list of all the reasons you want to pare down. If you are sick of living in debt, don’t have enough time with your family, can’t sleep from all the stress or just want to travel lighter, having a compilation of your motivations will help you remember what matters in the future. This is something you can always go back to when you need motivation.

2. Condense the Clutter

Consider what can be minimized in your life – from paperwork to clothing to entertainment devices. First, it’s a good idea to get rid of any duplicates (this happens – like you got a new bike but didn’t get rid of the old one). Then tackle a zone in your home that seems particularly crowded. This can be a corner of a room or a single dresser/bookcase. If you enjoy the clean, clear environment as well as the feeling of accomplishment, expand the zone a little bit each day until a clutter-free countertop becomes a clutter-free room. Eventually that clutter-free room can turn into a clutter-free home.

3. Categorize & Organize

When you have the purging underway, filter your belongings. Each item should fit into a category of sell, donate, recycle, discard or keep. The items that you keep should be items that you use regularly. You don’t have to get rid of sentimentally valuable items or pictures, but you might want to organize those photos so you can better enjoy them.

4. Downsize

Once your remaining items are in order and you can find what you need easily, you may realize how much extra space you now have. Consider buying a smaller home or renting a smaller apartment. This way you can save on housing costs and won’t have the temptation to fill up the space again with stuff. You might even decide to live out of a suitcase and a storage unit if you want to become a minimalist jetsetter.

5. Reap the Benefits

From more time for hobbies and health to more freedom and confidence, leaving room for only what is important can change your world. You will also be able to streamline your financial accounts, cut down on your debt and save at an expedited rate. Cutting your debt can minimize the impact it has on your life in the long term, especially when you consider what that debt can cost you down the road. (Seriously, crunch the numbers — if this lifetime cost of debt calculator doesn’t inspire you to get debt-free, it’s hard to think of something else that will.)

You may be surprised at how quickly your savings add up when you focus on what you have and need instead of what you want. Even if you aren’t cut out to make a full conversion, everyone can benefit from a general less-is-more approach, so what are you waiting for?

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