When you think of minimalism, what do you think of?
- White walls?
- Empty spaces and no furniture?
- Drab clothing?
- Decluttering until you don’t own much of anything?
That’s certainly what an internet image search brings up.
For me, minimalism did start with decluttering. Miss Minimalist, Francine Jay, was the catalyst. I happened upon her book and before I knew it I was reading blogs by Joshua Becker, Leo Babauta, and Courtney Carver, to name a few.
Was this what I had been looking for? It certainly felt like it. When I looked around my house and saw that I didn’t have space for everything I had, that I didn’t know where anything was, and that I had to move lots of things to get to what I wanted, I realised that those things were weighing me down.
It was time for them to go.
Then I realised that there were other things that were weighing me down. The way I let other people annoy me, that I got upset by things I couldn’t influence, that I was too dependant on what other people thought of me.
Then I started to let those things go too. I started to be free of the excess baggage.
I’m still learning, but I’m encouraged by reading about other people’s experiences. Minimalism not only takes away, but also adds something else.
Still not sure what minimalism can do for you other than empty spaces and white walls? Read on.
What is Minimalism?
Knowing Where Everything Is
How often have you thought you were organised but then spent the whole day looking for your passport, the sewing kit, or an elastic band? Once you’ve got rid of the excess, the duplicates and the rubbish, you can organise your stuff and develop a system for putting it back where it belongs.
Feeling Put Together
When you finally clear out your closet of the clothes that don’t fit, won’t wear again and should never have bought in the first place, you may realise that what is left are the clothes you go to time and time again.
Then you might realise that’s your style, your uniform or that you already have a capsule wardrobe that you can add a few additional items to and never feel like you aren’t “you” again.
Having More Time
Adopting a minimalist mindset gives you freedom to say no to the events (and maybe the people) that aren’t a priority for you. You regain control of your time by pushing back on the activities that you feel obliged to be part of rather than want to be part of.
For you, that might mean giving up a high pressured job that makes you ill and takes you away from your family, or it might be a simple as saying no to extra commitments.
A Possible Path to Financial Freedom
Chucking out a few old books and clothes or selling your furniture on eBay isn’t going to be a quick win against bankruptcy.
Yet becoming more mindful of the purchases being made, and the importance you place on the people in your life and not the things in it, might help to prevent spiralling credit card bills and foster a mindset of saving for the future “unknowns” over consumerism.
Valuing Everything You Own
By embracing minimalism you will know that everything in your home is either useful or wanted for any reason. Perhaps it will Spark Joy for you, maybe it will be just really good at lighting up the room.
Choosing Quality Over Quantity
When you do make a purchase, you are more likely to think about the purpose it will serve and how long you want it to last based on how often it will get used.
Plus, you won’t want to keep going out and replacing it.
Okay, so sometimes it is empty spaces. It’s space under the bed, a spare shelf in a cupboard, and kitchen counters free from appliances that don’t get used that often.
Yes, really, you don’t have to have the toaster out all the time. Or the blender. Or the other, very specific gadget that you bought for that very specific thing that you do once a year.
After all, it’s a kitchen, not a museum of electronics.
In fact, many kitchen items can be used for more than one thing. You could use the grill instead of owning a toaster, or purchase a blender that has both smoothie making functions and coffee grinding functions.
Do you really need an ice-cream maker? And if so, does it need to be sat on the counter all the time?
Easier and Quicker Chores
Clear spaces and surfaces means not having to keep picking things up to dust or move tons of things to hoover. This means that you get to spend less time on that and more time on fun stuff.
As a minimalist, you spend less time comparing yourself to others and what they have, and more time appreciating the little things in life.
This will lead to a more fulfilled feeling.
A better diet
When you are thinking more about your choices and how light your home feels, it might give you the courage to change other aspects of your life too, like your eating habits.
A Chance to Make a Positive Impact on the Environment
If you are no longer purchasing things you don’t need, there will be less stuff going to rubbish tips / landfills and this has to be good, right?
Minimalism also has an uncanny way of making you think a lot more about where your purchases are coming from and how they are made, leading you to think more about how your purchase will affect the environment.
What Minimalism Isn’t
A quick fix for your problems
Sure, you can declutter your house in a week if you put your mind to it, but that is just the start. Decluttering will get rid of the junk but it won’t address the issues that led you to accumulate it in the first place.
Letting go of stuff can be hard. Changing the behaviours that led you to hold onto all that stuff is even harder.
It may also be hard to convince your closest friends and family of your new choices: to spend less on things, to spend less time taking part in activities you don’t want to do.
The Same for Everyone
There are people who live in tiny homes, and there are people who have huge houses to hang their art collections in.
There is no award for being the most minimalist person on the planet. There are games you can play to get you started on your decluttering journey, but minimalism is all about individual choices and what you love, not what others choose to love.
Why Try Minimalism?
Try minimalism if you want to see your kitchen worktops again.
Try minimalism if you want to spend more time doing things you enjoy with people you love or on your own.
Try minimalism if you want to break your spending habits and take a break from consumerism.
Try minimalism if any of what you have read today appeals to you.
Some people might say that minimalism is a selfish mindset but if everything we do serves to keep us content and doesn’t harm others, how can that be a bad thing?
Have you ever given minimalism a try? What about decluttering? How far have you taken it? Has it extended to relationships, food and your schedule?
Share in the comments below, we’d love to know about your experiences.
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Until next time, remember, if the excess baggage is weighing you down, you can always leave it in lost luggage.
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