You may find yourself waking up one day and feeling suffocated. Looking around you, you notice all the items you own. Some are distant memories and some are for your “future” self. But what about your “now”? Are you able to focus with all of these items hanging over you? The answer is probably no. This is where Minimalism can begin to change your life for the better.
Minimalism can help you reign in the items you own. It allows you to make a breakthrough in your life. Below, I’ll go through the benefits! Happy Reading 🙂
What is Minimalism?
Well, what it’s NOT is living in a space you don’t see as your home. It doesn’t mean you live your life on the floor with only the clothes on your back! That’s an extreme that would make only a few people happy. AND, minimalism shouldn’t only be practiced in your physical realm. Minimalism is something that should ascend to your mind. I’ll explain more below.
Minimalism is the art of removing things you don’t need. 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 Marie Kondo. She goes in depth on how to declutter your physical space. This allowed me to reflect on my surroundings and want to improve.
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 living like a hoarder was normal. My childhood house was hardly ever clean. Clean to me was stuffing everything away where guests couldn’t see. It was a hectic mess!
This early learning experience extended to when I moved out on my own for the first time. I was hoarding items that no longer brought happiness and was holding on to things that hurt me. For one reason or another I kept items that resonated more with my past self than they did presently.
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.
The Day I Started
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.
Everything that once made me happy – just gone.
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 cliché but a weight was lifted off me. I no longer had to keep carrying around this baggage with me. The next step was to doing the same with everything else. Beginning with my clothes was possibly the hardest starting point for me. Marie Kondo’s decluttering starts with clothes too.
Bit by bit I cleared my space. It made me feel good knowing everything would be going to someone 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 my new found space was acceptable to me. I eventually progressed to loving all of the space I had! I fell in love with Minimalism and have been in it for years now! 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 Items Makes You Feel GOOD!
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’re 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’re 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’re helping the planet stay green!
3. Improved Focus
Ever try to do homework or work? And you look up from your computer or paper and find yourself wandering? By the time you’re able to focus back on the job at hand, it’s been 30 minutes and you’re watching cat videos!
This happens to me all the time when the space that I’m in is cluttered. By clearing out your space and only keeping the most essential items out in the open, you’re allowing yourself to fully concentrate on whatever you’re working on.
4. Mental Decluttering
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’re even 10% successful with this, you’ll still reap the rewards. Letting go of mental baggage is essential to a better you. Learn to let go and a better “you” will come out.
5. Healthy Confidence
This journey will not only make you happier but will also build your confidence. You’re 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 you’re in a better place in your life.
This change will lead you to see how much attention we give material objects. We give too much attention to quantity over quality and it hurts our pockets! And this is a perfect transition to the next tip!
This is one of my favorite “whys”! Because you’re de-cluttering and getting rid of items, you’ll 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 “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. My post on Reducing Impulse Buying is perfect if you’re looking to reduce impulse spending.
7. Less Clean 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’re picking up after less mess!
If you’re reading this and you manage/co-manage a large household, Minimalism will save you so much time! If you have less items in your home, you won’t have to spend precious time cleaning up. The usual 10 minutes a day should work!
8. Giving Value to 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 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 will now represent you and you’ll give more value to items you own. After all, they’re something you hold dear. By cherishing your items, you’re learning to differentiate between what you’ll use for a long time and what you’ll only use 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’re 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’ll 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!