Everyone has their own reasoning for seeking a simpler lifestyle whether it be more financial stability, a cleaner diet, more functional home space, or combating the stress of constant busyness. Seeing sustainable and significant changes in your life won’t happen overnight but exploring minimalism is a good way to assess what is really important in your life aside from material things.
What is minimalism?
To put it simply, minimalism is intentionally making an effort to live with only the things you really need and disposing of everything else that is unnecessary in your life.
Modern culture has glorified the social status and validity that comes with owning things, feeding the desire to possess as much as possible. Minimalism brings freedom from the passion to possess. It is easy to get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle of life which can cause us to spiral and lose sight of what is really important. People work endlessly to pay bills, only to fall further into debt while juggling all the other aspects of their busy lives. Minimalism aims to slow down the chaos and the need to live faster by removing the impractical junk from your life and focusing only on the essentials. Minimalism values the intentional ventures that add value to life.
What are the benefits?
The old saying, “money can’t buy happiness”, rings true here. People are often discontent with their daily lives and possessing more is a temporary cure for that feeling. A minimalist lifestyle helps eliminate discontent and allows a person to refocus on the truly important things in their lives, giving the opportunity to reclaim their time and live in the moment. Social media makes us think that we are connected and relevant to the world but in reality, we are lacking in personal, life-changing relationships with people. Minimalism can help reconnect a person with themselves to focus on their health and well-being and also reconnect with important friends and family.
Experiencing real freedom is another benefit of this lifestyle. Freedom to become your most creative selves. Freedom to grow as an individual, not with social norms. Financial freedom. Freedom to discover purpose and pursue their passions. Freedom to rid yourself of anything holding you back or weighing you down.
Helpful First Steps to Take
Read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, and watch her new Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. “Marie guides people who are at a crossroads and resolved to finally tackle the clutter blocking their joy, transforming lives in emotional and surprising ways,” says Netflix.
Watching this Netflix series sparks some serious inspiration and will most likely motivate you to evaluate your belongings and lifestyle. Seeing other people go through the process and following Marie Kondo’s steps can make the transition so much easier!
Get after it! Begin decluttering your spaces. Leading a simple lifestyle starts with a simple living space. It may be difficult at first but try to really buckle down and only focus on the things you deeply value and throw away the things you no longer need. Declutter at your own pace, there is a lot to go through and it is typical for people to take up to 6 months to fully declutter their space.
TIP: Don’t try to finish all in one sitting. Go through your belongings several different times and start taking notice of things that you do not use on a daily basis. After several sweeps, you should be left with only the things that serve a purpose to you consistently.
Be mindful of your spending. Decluttering will not help if you are buying too much in the first place. Just like not storing useless things, eliminate the habit of buying and signing up for things that do not serve a purpose. Really pick apart bank statements and see what expenses can be taken away like automatic subscription charges to a magazine you no longer read, a gym membership you don’t utilize, and any conscious purchase that are not critical to your everyday life. Along with not spending, start saving! Instead of an automatic charge to your account, set up automatic savings from your direct deposit. Increasing disposable income can allow you to experience so much more outside of your home.
Be mindful of your time. Busy lives stem from saying yes to every social event we are invited to. Cutting back on outside events and spending time doing whatever you want. Start to feel an obligation to yourself and your personal time rather than feeling obligated to everyone else's affairs. Get outdoors, explore for a weekend, sign up for a dance/art/yoga class, give yourself the time to do the thing you’ve always wanted to do.