These practical ideas will show you how to live with less in a world where consumerism is praised and encouraged everywhere.
You may feel that living with less will improve your life, but maybe you don’t know how to do it.
Or maybe you’ve already taken steps to minimize some areas of your life, but now you’re on the lookout for some other practical ideas you can try today.
You’re in the right place!
In this blog post, I share 13 practical ways to live with less.
But not only that: you will also learn how to live WELL with less, which is far more important.
What does it mean to live with less?
Living with less can mean different things.
Most of us think of living with less stuff and fewer physical belongings in our homes.
Living without clutter is definitely one of the main ways we can embrace this lifestyle.
But it goes far beyond that!
That’s why not only do I share tips to live with less stuff, but I also include some practical ways we can live with less in other, less tangible (but no less important) areas of life.
How might life be better with less? Reasons to live with less
In this society, one might think: “How might life be better with less?”.
We are taught to think that more is better.
But actually, it is not always the case.
I even find that less is often better than more.
When we live with less, we are less overwhelmed in our homes and lives.
We have fewer chores and tasks to do.
We are calmer and have less anxiety.
Moving and traveling become a lot easier.
Children also thrive with fewer toys and are more creative.
There are countless benefits to living with less and staying away from the chaos of this modern world and consumerism!
How to live with less? 13 practical ideas to try
1. Declutter regularly
This one must be the first item on this list because it will make the biggest impact if you want to learn how to live with less.
As human beings who have jobs, families, friends, hobbies, and special interests, we accumulate things over time.
Whether that’s clothing, papers, books, games, or all kinds of knick-knacks.
Things continuously change in our lives, which means that some things that we wanted to keep at some point may not be that necessary anymore.
This is why we should be decluttering regularly throughout our lives.
If we do not, things that we don’t use anymore pile up and clutter up our spaces.
So get into the habit of getting rid of unwanted things regularly.
Let go of anything that does not serve a purpose anymore or that you haven’t used in a while.
Above all, declutter things that are distracting you or weighing you down.
2. Do “no spend” challenges
A “no spend” challenge is a challenge during which you commit to only buying the things that are necessary for your life.
It means that you don’t allow yourself to buy any extra stuff.
During that time, you ask yourself questions before buying something and shop with intention.
These challenges can be difficult and restrictive, but they have so many benefits!
Besides helping us save tons of money, they help us understand what we need in life (to live well, not just survive).
When we voluntarily restrict ourselves and become mindful of how we spend money, we realize how many unnecessary things we used to buy in the past.
We also become aware of what contributes to our happiness and well-being and what does not.
Overall, “no spend” challenges help drastically reduce how much stuff we bring into our homes.
This is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to live with less!
We need to stop consuming so much BESIDES decluttering regularly.
3. Create a capsule wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is a carefully curated, minimalist wardrobe consisting of clothes you love and wear often.
These clothes usually go well together and can be mixed and matched easily.
When you build a capsule wardrobe, you only pick the pieces that fit you well and that you use often.
Usually, you end up with a limited selection of options.
Since you have fewer clothes to choose from, you experience a lot less decision fatigue when getting ready in the morning.
This saves you time and energy!
Another significant benefit is that your closet is not overflowing anymore and is very easy to keep neat and tidy.
So declutter your clothes and only keep your favorite, most worn pieces.
4. Use up the things you already have
Before buying anything, use up the things you already have.
For instance, if you already have several bags of rice in your pantry, refrain from buying another one the next time you go shopping.
If you already own three pairs of jeans, do you really need that extra pair you find cute?
Also, do you really want to buy that book when you still have dozens of unread ones on your bookshelf?
You can apply the same principle to many things in your home, from toiletries to clothing to food.
Using things up means that you do not stockpile things in your home but you also use them before eventually getting rid of them.
It’s one of my favorite ways to live with less without much effort!
5. Focus on experiences
When we start focusing on experiences rather than physical things, we realize how much joy we can get from them.
Physical things are temporary in life.
They can break, get damaged, get lost, or we might no longer have an interest in them after some time.
But when we focus on experiences, we create memories that we’ll want to remember forever.
Experiences can transform our lives and how we see the world.
They can shape us into totally different people and can contribute to our long-term happiness.
And a great thing about them is that they do not take up valuable space in our homes.
Instead, they fill our hearts and souls with unforgettable moments.
So let go of your need to accumulate meaningless stuff and focus on spending your time and money on creating memories.
6. Go paperless
For many people, papers are the bane of their existence.
They certainly are for me.
Over the years, I’ve drastically minimized my paper clutter, but I still find myself sorting through papers regularly and it’s always such a tedious task!
To reduce how often I have to do that, I’ve taken action to go paperless for as many things in my life as possible.
For instance, I rarely receive mail now as I’ve unsubscribed from most mailing lists.
I also receive all my bills by email and they are paid automatically each month.
Besides these helpful actions, I always make sure to print as few things as possible.
This helps save trees and minimizes paper clutter!
Plus, I digitize documents that I want to keep but do not need physical copies of.
A single sheet of paper does not take up a lot of space, but piles of them are very heavy and voluminous.
Get rid of as many of them as you can; it’s so worth it!
Read more: How to declutter paperwork in 8 easy steps
7. Appreciate what you have
Companies and ads are always trying to make us feel as if something is lacking in our lives.
And sometimes, with the chaos of our busy lives, we forget how lucky we are and fall into their trap.
We buy things thinking they will fill a void or make us happier.
But they don’t!
When we start appreciating what we have, we realize how abundant our lives are.
As a result, we are a lot less tempted to acquire things and accumulate stuff in our homes.
So when you use the things in your home, be mindful of them and consciously think about how lucky you are to have them.
You’ll see that you won’t feel the need to go shopping as much and will spend money a lot more intentionally.
8. Live below your means
You can learn how to live with less by committing to only living below your means.
When you live frugally and never above what you can afford, you make sure to not overspend and buy useless things.
You stop accumulating so many things and become minimalist with your finances.
You save more money and can start building an emergency fund for whenever you need it most.
Thus, you feel less stressed about your finances and you see money as a tool rather than a problem.
It’s a great way to live with less in so many ways!
9. Spend less time on social media
Living with less does not only mean you live with fewer physical belongings.
What is awesome about minimalism is that you can apply it to many areas of life, including social media!
Try minimizing the time you spend on social media as much as you can.
While social media has some benefits, it sucks up so much of our time and energy.
We are also more likely to compare ourselves to others, which can make us feel miserable.
We see many ads and are tempted to keep up with the latest trends.
So embrace digital minimalism today and free yourself from social media, even if it’s just for a few hours here and there.
One helpful tip is to set time limits on your phone for how long you can be on those apps.
You can also put your phone in another room or delete the apps for a few hours.
10. Tell people about your wish to live with less
If you want to live with less, let your loved ones know about it.
While you decide how you live and how much you own, telling other people you want to live this way might encourage them to respect your journey and act accordingly.
For instance, they will be less likely to give you useless gifts or things they know you are not interested in.
They will instead think about giving you something more useful or meaningful, or they will ask you what you want.
Don’t forget to also tell the people you live with.
They might encourage you, and as they see you reaping all the benefits of living with less, they might even start decluttering their lives too.
11. Minimize your to-do list
Living with less can also mean trying to be less busy and have as few tasks and commitments as possible on a daily basis.
I know it’s easier said than done, but take a look at your to-do list and see what you can eliminate.
Consider removing any task that is not urgent or important.
I find that we sometimes fill our to-do lists with lots of things to achieve each day.
Yes, we are all busy.
But most of us can reduce the number of things on our to-do lists.
Myself included (whoops)!
Doing this will free up time you can use to do whatever makes you happy!
12. Eliminate visual clutter
Visual clutter is anything we see in our homes, on shelves, tables, or any other surfaces that we don’t like, use, or need.
The problem with visual clutter is that no matter what we are doing, we see it.
Whenever we spend time in a room, we can see all the clutter around us and it can bother us.
Not only is having too much clutter on surfaces not looking good, but it can also make it harder for us to focus on the task we are doing.
Whether we are working, reading, or resting, we see it.
Sometimes without even realizing it!
People who are very affected by their surroundings can especially find it annoying and feel bad about their spaces.
So try to eliminate visual clutter around you.
Hide the items you don’t use every day in a closet, or consider decluttering them entirely.
This will make a massive difference to how your home feels, and it will motivate you to declutter your home even more!
13. Borrow things instead of buying them
In this capitalist society, we are all used to buying whatever we need or want.
And because of that, we fill our homes with more and more things.
But there is another way.
For some items, we can borrow them from our friends and family members.
I do this all the time with my parents!
I often borrow their car and tools, and I lend them many other things as well.
Borrowing is ideal for things that we don’t use regularly!
Not only is borrowing things more sustainable than buying them, but it also encourages us to meet our neighbors and see our friends and family more often.
It creates a sense of community that is oh-so-needed in our individualistic society!
Final thoughts on how to live with less
Hopefully, you could learn how to live well with less and are happy with your new lifestyle!
If you find it overwhelming, do not try all these ideas at once.
But instead, try incorporating one or two of these habits at a time to make sure you will stick to them longer.
What are your favorite ideas on how to live with less?
What has helped you simplify your life the most?
Don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends to inspire and help them learn how to live with less!