In my post about Life Lessons During Quarantine, I touched on how I’ve been more present in my home and have worked to make it more cozy, but something else that has transformed my home – and life – is adopting a more minimalist approach.
My journey into a more minimalistic life began a few years ago after reading Marie Kondo’s The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying up. I purged what felt like a majority of my belongings before our cross-country move, yet we still had so much to haul with us! Since then, I’ve condensed our belongings even further, and I’ve experienced immense rewards in doing so.
Obviously, becoming more of a minimalist means letting go of a lot of stuff,
what is more interesting is what I’ve gained along the way.
Less clutter means less to clean.
This aspect of minimalism alone is beyond life changing. When your house isn’t stuffed to the brim, suddenly you free up a big chunk of time because there isn’t much to clean! No more tripping over piles of things, no more knick knacks to dust. Less dirty dishes and laundry to wash.
My home has never been cleaner! There aren’t tons of things to pick up off the floor, so I can quickly vacuum and mop. There is very little that needs dusting. Sorting and completing loads of laundry is easier. Putting away the dishes takes very little time! Having less junk has streamlined the process of maintaining my home.
Less stuff means less stress and mental burden.
It wasn’t until I purged my house that I realized the emotional tax of all of the things around me.
When I rid my home of excessive belongings, suddenly I felt an immense sense of clarity. When we are surrounded by a lot of things, our mind is subconsciously processing data input; colors, patterns, and words. Couple this subconscious processing with emotional underpinnings to various objects and it can be very overwhelming.
Rather than continue to let my home feel chaotic, I decided to create a space that is very calm and peaceful. I thought about some of my favorite places to visit…hotels and yoga studios were some of the first places that came to mind. Narrowing down some of their similarities; typically both of these places are clean, streamlined, and contain just what’s needed to be functional. They also tend to have calm colors and non-busy patterns, and are sparkly-clean.
As I emptied my home of extraneous belongings, I began to feel more content being in my surroundings. By minimizing my stuff, I’ve achieved a zen like space. Our home has been intentionally curated. Being home feels effortless, and I can focus on what actually matters – my family.
Living with less means changing spending habits.
This is a major perk to living with less;
you will likely save money.
I’ve learned that I have a lot more wants than needs…and I truly don’t need much.
In the process of clearing out my home, I sold a lot of things which is one way my wallet grew, but the biggest benefit to this radical life shift is the money saved by not buying things unnecessarily. As I got rid of more, I really asked myself why I bought certain things in the first place. As I identified those reasons, I concluded that it was often because I was bored or fomo (fear of missing out).
Boredom is a really bad reason to spend money; I ended up with a bunch of crap I didn’t really want or need, and I still felt bored after I made my purchases! Trying to fill our lives with things doesn’t solve our core emotions or feelings. Oftentimes, it will make us feel worse because we’ve wasted money, have an item we don’t need, and still feel that void. Once I identified this cycle of spending, I was able to change my purchasing habits.
Another big lesson for me was recognizing my propensity for comparison and fomo. It’s easy, especially in our modern culture with social media to compare ourselves to others and what they have. Someone else will always have more than us, and yet they can still be unhappy because things don’t fill lives with joy.
The antidote for comparison is gratitude.
Simply being thankful that I have enough often eliminates my feelings of desire for more, and I no longer feel the need to spend money on things that won’t make me happier in the long run.
I will also add on to the financial aspect of minimalism by saying when you aren’t constantly buying cheap replaceable things, you may find that you have saved enough money for really nice things that will last you much longer – and with great care, possibly a lifetime. Because of this, I have become a much more conscious consumer and invest in the best quality I can afford.
Less decision making.
Have you ever opened up your overflowing closet only to feel like you have nothing to wear? Or went to put on your makeup but didn’t really know where to start because you have so. many. options?! I’m willing to bet the answer to this has been yes at least at some point – it definitely has been a big fat yes for me!
Having more options often makes life more complicated. By reducing my things, I have simplified my decision making processes throughout the day, and in doing so, have saved myself a lot of time! Less material stuff means more fun in my day because I can make quick decisions on mundane daily details, and move on to the good stuff!
I love sharing this journey with you all, and I hope it can inspire you if you’ve been looking at ways to change your own life.
There is this interesting phenomenon I’ve experienced throughout this process where the more I purge, the more I want to purge. The lightness that comes with living with less is craveable when you start reaping the benefits. When we pare down our lives to just the essentials there is more room for the people that matter, time for the experiences we don’t want to miss out on, and an appreciation for the things we do have.
The great news is minimalism can look different for everyone. You don’t have to live with one spork and a canteen to call yourself a minimalist. You can start the process of scaling back the things in your life at any time, and if you do, I am sure that you will experience some of the key benefits I’ve mentioned above.
Your life can be anything you want it to be!
Live it well.