This article is part of an ongoing feature at The Vantage to share great posts from fellow bloggers and writers who cover unique perspectives on the world of money and personal finance. This post was originally published by Joe on Give. Earn. Live.

What emotion comes to mind when you read the title? Would you describe it as mostly good or mostly bad?

If its bad, skip this post…there are seasons for minimalism, and if you’re not in the right season, there are other things to be focusing on…like investing, or reversing entropy.

If the idea of minimalism DOES bring a smile to your face, scroll down…

Minimalism. The simple life. Focusing on the important things. Removing distractions and possessions that use up your time, cause you stress, shatter your focus.

Last year I was not a minimalist… I was running three businesses, had 5 houses, 7 vehicles, many meetings, bids, networking events. There was a lot to do! I look back at my to-do lists from those days and go “wow!” No wonder it ended so badly. I wasn’t focused. I had so much stuff and so many things to do to take care of that stuff.

What does minimalism mean to you?

To me, its come to mean…one job, one car, one house, less spending, shorter to-do lists, time to relax… no piles of paper on my desk, no cluttered inbox, peace. That’s really what minimalism means to me…peace.

Everything becomes easier with minimalism. I like to say your mind is like a computer, it bogs down when there are too many windows open, too many processes running. It works best when you’re focused.

What about adopting minimalism so you can focus on what’s important to you? What else do you desire besides happiness and peace? Time to spend with people you love? More money as a buffer between eating and not eating? Time to read, to play with the kids, to work on your hobby?

Peace, focus, happiness.

Now, like any other success in life, success with minimalism takes work! Yep, no kidding. Minimalism takes action!

Here are 7 ways to take action today to minimize your stuff and enjoy life a bit more!

One.
One credit card account

Let’s start with money. Dave Ramsey style, cut up all your credit cards except one (preferably save the debit card). Login to each account and shut it down. It takes more than a plasticectomy to get rid of credit cards these days. Now you may have automatic payments as well. You need to cancel the card to stop the bleeding. Transfer any important payments to your main card. You may have to go all out and start a new account to get a fresh start. I’d recommend USAA if you’re eligible. If not, choose some other major bank that you’re familiar with. Why a major bank? Another topic I’ll discuss is bank feeds. Many of the popular personal finance tracking sites like PersonalCapital and Mint work with many different banks, but if you choose a small bank or a local bank, you may not be able to automatically connect to these sites. Automatic is good, when it doesn’t refer to spending. Automatically pulling your transactions into one of these helpful sites saves you time…and time is money.

Two.
Two garbage bags

Garbage bag time! Walk around your house and fill up one garbage full of anything you don’t use regularly and doesn’t have any value. Fill it up and throw it away! Those already living the minimalism lifestyle will have trouble with this, but for most one bag is easy, almost too easy. In that case, you’d better fill up two bags.

Three.
Three hours saved

Let’s free up some time. Is there an event you regularly go to each week that you don’t really enjoy? That puts pressure on you to spend? That just isn’t necessary? Just say no.

Four.
Downsize for more money and time

Alright, lets go for something BIG! Downsize one of your biggest expenses. This will take some more thought and time than the others, but the potential for savings of time and money are also that much larger! Can you do with one fewer car? One fewer payment? One fewer inspection? One fewer set of tires? One fewer headache? Sell a car! We’ve gone from seven vehicles to one and its awesome! My wife stays home with the kiddos and I’m able to catch a ride to work a couple times a week, so it’s really worked out well. Want to go BIGGER? Downsize your house. Bigger things cost more of everything. Time, money, processing space in your brain… A smaller yard equals less to mow, a smaller house equals less to clean, less to heat/cool, less to re-roof when it starts leaking. Pick one and think about it. House…car…minimalism. It makes cents.

Five.
Five hours less tv

Drop the cable tv. Read a book. Take a walk. Stick to Netflix. Do you really need Netflix and TV? Let’s do some math. A quick Google search shows the average American watches 5 hours of TV per day. 5 hours X 365 days = 1,825 hours/year. Let’s say you’re 25 and you plan to retire at 65. That’s 40 years until you retire. Or 73,000 hours of TV. Malcolm Gladwell said that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. Do you want to become an expert at TV? Think about it. You could become an expert at 7 different things over the rest of your working years.

Six.
Sell your sixth screen

Now that you’re watching less TV, could you possibly sell a screen? You probably have a monitor or two, a laptop or two, a smart phone or two, maybe even a tablet. Sell a screen or two. Save time, make money, be happy!

Seven.
Read seven days a week

Keep reading! Reading is the key to many things. If you read approximately 41 minutes each day, you’ll be an EXPERT at reading in 40 years. That’s a worthy goal.

What do you think? Leave a comment below about what minimalism means to you and how I could improve this list. Thanks for reading!

This article is part of an ongoing feature at The Vantage to share great posts from fellow bloggers and writers who cover unique perspectives on the world of money and personal finance. This post was originally published by Joe on Give. Earn. Live.