Does the minimalist lifestyle appeal to you? If so, you are not alone. Many working adults make the decision to do a major downsizing sometime after they settle into their careers. The urge strikes for various reasons, and people work through the process in a number of different ways.
No matter the reason, there are some common steps for getting the job done and eliminating excess stuff, assets, and responsibilities from your life. After all, that’s what the minimalist movement is all about.
What’s the smartest way to get started? Rule one is to move slowly but deliberately, testing the idea as each month passes. Once you reach a point where everything feels right, it’s probably time to settle in and enjoy the new simplicity that comes with living a life without excess. Here are a few of the strategies people use to begin the process.
Make a Detailed Inventory of What You Own to Become a Minimalist
Devote a week of free time to making a list of your assets. Even list things that have no apparent monetary value. The goal is to have a complete inventory of both tangible and intangible assets. Don’t overlook all that junk. This includes the stuff in your attic and basement, the life insurance policies you forgot you owned, items in storage lockers across town that you haven’t looked at in months, valuables in safe deposit boxes, IRAs, and more. If you want to join the minimalist movement, step one is knowing what you have.
Sell Your Life Insurance Policy
Part of going minimal is cashing out of assets you no longer need, like life insurance coverage. The first step is to find out how much your policy is worth. Note that when you do decide to sell, the buyer pays the premiums from that point forward. You are no longer obligated on the policy or connected to it in any way. But you do receive a cash payment in lieu of a death benefit. The best part is that you can review an online guide that explains everything about selling a policy and get an estimate of what yours is worth. Many people use the proceeds as a financial cushion for retirement, to purchase a small home for cash, or whatever else they want to do with the money. There are no restrictions on how you can spend it.
To Be a Minimalist, You Can Downsize
For most wannabe minimalists, moving into a smaller, more efficient home is the single most significant part of the lifestyle transformation. If you do it right, you’ll have money left over from selling your current home when you buy a new, smaller place. People are often pleasantly surprised that they can live comfortably in a small condo or townhome, after residing in a large house for decades.
Sell, Give Away, Trash, or Donate Excess Belongings
One of the top minimalist tips is to organize all of your belongings. After deciding which furniture, kitchen, and other essential items you wish to keep, put everything else into one of four categories: sell, give away, donate to charity, or put in the trash. Don’t forget to obtain fair value tax receipts for the stuff you give to legit charities. Those documents can turn into cash should you decide to itemize them on your next tax filing.