You may find yourself waking up one day and just feeling suffocated…or maybe you are looking for a fresh start (btw- if you are looking to move out here are some tips for your move and you will find a list of essentials here). Either way – you are wanting to change things. Whether you are here to make a change or you are curious about minimalism, you’re in the right place!
What is Minimalism?
Well, what it is NOT is living in a space that you don’t see as your home. It does not mean that you live your life on the floor and only have the clothes on your back! That would be an extreme that would make very few people truly happy. AND, minimalism should not be only something to practice on your living space but spiritually as well.
Minimalism is the art of removing things that you find you don’t need and only want because it’s too hard to throw them away. It is also the art of clearing your head space so you can heal emotionally from wounds caused in the past.
I got started on my journey when I read Spark Joy by the Queen of Minimalism – Marie Kondo. If you would like in depth de-cluttering per category and read more on “less is more” – she is your go-to!
My Journey with Minimalism
I grew up in a tough childhood. This is an understatement and maybe one day I can share with the world. My living space was always cluttered and messy. My mother loved to hold on to things in more ways than one (she hoarded items as much as she hoarded pain).
Growing up like this, I thought this sort of living was normal. If the house had nothing on the floor but everything on counters and shelves that to me was “clean”.
This early learning experience extended to when I moved out on my own for the first time. I was hoarding all my items that no longer brought happiness and was holding on to things that hurt me.
It was not a good place to be and more than ever I wanted to improve my life. I didn’t want to be unhappy. Living in clutter was not happiness – both my physical and mental space had so many things that needed to be removed.
It was as if I woke up one day and decided that enough was enough. There were clothes that no longer fit me. I kept them hoping that one day I would go back to the size I thought was “perfect”. There were items that I kept because it was just too hard to give them up. I didn’t use them but I didn’t want to let them go.
That day I took a 13-gallon bag and began putting everything that no longer fit me in there. Everything.
I cried so much that day. I thought I was letting go of my dreams and goals. When I finished with that bag, I realized it wouldn’t be enough. So I took three more…
I immediately got in my car and went to my local donation center. I knew if I didn’t do it then, I might go into each bag and pull out clothes to keep.
When I came home and saw the free space, I was so relieved. It sounds cliche but a weight was lifted from me. I no longer had to keep carrying around this baggage with me. The next step was to do the same with everything else aside from clothing. Bit by bit I cleared my space. It made me feel good knowing that everything would be going to someone else that would appreciate these items. Something I could no longer do.
This was not an overnight process. It took weeks for me to get to a point where I progressed to the point of wanting to keep this as a lifestyle instead of a yearly “spring cleaning”. If you too are on the road to de-cluttering your life, below are some reasons you should live with a minimalist lifestyle.
Why you should live a life of Minimalism:
1. Donating the items you can will help others and yourself
By learning to let go of the physical, the hope is that you will begin to let go of the mental. When you donate your items or give them to people you know will appreciate them, you are making others happy. This will help you feel better about letting these things go and may motivate you to do this with more items than you anticipated!
2. Environmentally Friendly
You are helping the environment by recycling items that others can use. Do you have any idea how many pounds of clothing are thrown away a year?! The number is in the hundreds of thousands! By donating clothes instead of throwing them away, you are helping make the world more efficient.
3. Ability to concentrate more on things you need your complete focus on
Ever try to do homework or work? And you look up from your computer or paper and find yourself wandering? By the time you are able to focus back on the job at hand, it’s been 30 minutes and you’re watching a dog and cat video!
This happens to me all the time when the space that I’m in is cluttered and filled with items. By clearing out your space and only keeping the most essential items out in the open, you are allowing yourself to fully concentrate on whatever you’re working on.
As I’m typing this – I have worked hours on this post. I keep having to pause and rewrite it due to the clutter that is on my desk (aka my table). I get distracted by looking at the papers around me and then I’m on my phone and the cycle continues…less clutter = more concentration!
4. Better head space
Like I mentioned earlier, by learning to enjoy letting go of items that don’t bring you joy – you will learn to do the same within yourself. When you clear out your physical space, you can’t be distracted by the items that surround you! This gives you the time, opportunity and focus to search through the memories or thoughts you need to settle.
It will make you a happier person because if you are even 10% successful with this, you will still reap the rewards. You would have gained more insight and peace while letting go of mental baggage that distracts you from being amazing. Learn to let go and a better you will surface from this.
5. Healthy confidence
This journey will not only make you happier but will also build your confidence. You are learning to take control of the items you own. Instead of them controlling you – you’re choosing to own them! You will have a pep in your step knowing that you are in a better place in your life.
This change will lead you to see how much we live in a materialistic world where quantity overrides quality. And this is a perfect transition to the next tip!
This is one of my favorite “whys”! Because you are de-cluttering and getting rid of items, you will question the necessity before buying more. When I was on my journey to minimalism, I saw myself pick up trinkets at the store only to put them down later. I decided I wasn’t going to add items to my living space because I knew deep down it wouldn’t make me happy in the long run.
Since taking on minimalism three years ago, I have saved thousands of dollars! This is not an exaggeration. You too will save this much and maybe more when you start to buy less and less “stuff”. Living a life of minimalism is just that! -You are letting go of an impulse to buy items for the heck of it in order to maintain a healthier life.
7. Less pick up!
Hehehe maybe this is my favorite! Because my space has a minimal amount of items – my picking up around the house is not as arduous. All I have to do is the usual cleaning. You will find that your chore list may decrease significantly as well. By having less items, you are picking up after less mess.
I live with my doggo @banebarks and my partner. It is essential for us not to have as many items around the apartment lest we become overwhelmed with things all over the place! Minimalism has saved me so much time and money!
You are reading this and maybe you live in a bigger household that you co-manage or manage yourself (you rock!). If you choose to live a minimalist lifestyle, you will save precious time and set an example for the people you live with as well.
8. Giving value to the items you own
When you look at the aftermath of items you have left – I truly hope the items that remain make you happy – and they should! These are the items that you’ve deemed worthy of your space. They may bring you joy due to the amazing memories attached or it’s something new that adds a splash of “bright” in your living space.
Your space represents you and you will give more value to these items. After all, they are something you hold dear. By cherishing your items, you are learning to identify items you buy in your future as “something I will love forever” or “something I will like for a couple of months”.
9. Better lifestyle
Minimalism will help you in more ways than one. If you’ve read this far then you know it can positively impact your life. It will adjust your decision making and improve your lifestyle.
A clear space, a good head space, better finances and saving time are a bundle that you can enjoy too. You are bettering your lifestyle and maybe even the relationships you have!
Don’t be scared to take the leap. This may take months or even more than a couple of years for someone to achieve. For some of you it could take weeks and days (you guys work fast). Work on a process that is best for YOU.
Have fun with it the you-est way possible
What ever the reason for this journey, be prepared to do this knowing it will bring you laughter, tears and satisfaction. You can have people closest to you start this process with you or you can ride this one out alone. However you choose to approach this – make it as amazing as you. And if there are any questions you have please feel free to leave a comment and I will try my best to answer them.
Don’t forget to check out Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. She is an inspiration to all that are looking to minimize! She got me started on this journey before I made it my own and you can too!