Today, I want to explain the amazing benefits of being a minimalist. I think it may be becoming a lost art. I personally plan to make steps towards becoming a better one, however, it is not a competition of who can have less for more. Everyone does this at their own pace.
You know when you’re going through a closet full of items and wonder why you still move them from house to house? That may be what the inside of your head looks like.
If you had 30 seconds to grab everything you find most important in your living space, what would these things be? If you have a pet, I would hope they would be your first priority. Apart from animals, which things do you have the most love for? A charm necklace with a memory of every trip you’ve been on? A piece of art? Whatever the keepsakes are, they hold parts of you. Those possessions do matter.
Being minimal does not mean you can’t have nice things. It refers to selectivity of what you accumulate. There is minimalistic art or music, architecture or fashion. You may find that when you condense what you have in terms of possessions, you will breathe easier.
Clutter accumulates over time and we often make excuses as to why we have it all. The best question to ask yourself is “do I need this?” If there is hesitation, the answer is most likely no.
By no means should someone give up a routine or tradition that makes them feel centered, or one that brings them consistent happiness. If you get your hair done at the same place with the same person and it’s something you always look forward to, despite the cost, it might not be wise to eliminate. If you love to see bands live in concert and go to multiple concerts and festivals annually, and you practically mark your calendar for them, don’t eliminate them. These would quality as exceptions.
Spending is difficult to control for many people. I would say I would have more trouble with the clutter as opposed to spending, because I’m more of a saver and pack rat as opposed to a spontaneous spender. Some ways to reduce spending and begin to immerse into the minimalist lifestyle:
- Always ask yourself if you need it. If you don’t, practice telling yourself the money is better spent elsewhere.
- Start to separate “errands” and “shopping”
- Try to avoid buying a different version or brand of something you already have.
- Go for quality over quantity. For instance, wardrobe. Some people have a lot of clothes of lesser quality to choose from, and some have a more limited wardrobe of higher quality that required more investment. Quality clothing lasts longer and maintains shape, and a more limited wardrobe would mean less “stuff.”
- Set aside money for something in the future. Whether this is plane tickets to a summer in Europe or Coachella tickets (yes, they are very expensive), saving for something specific will give you the motivation to limit spending and give yourself practice as a saver.
If you focus on your spending and question all of your purchases, you are already making strides towards a more minimalistic lifestyle.
The next thing to tackle is clutter.
I still have all of my yearbooks, birthday cards dated back to 2004, and Harry Potter Premiere tickets from my hometown’s cinema. The Goblet of Fire ticket was honestly a work of art. So, to be frank, I have to de-clutter. I have moved from the Seattle area to Portland, then to San Francisco, and back to Seattle. Moving is tiring and makes me want to become someone who can live off of two duffels. Unfortunately, this isn’t as realistic.
The more realistic option is to eliminate junk. My list of ideas:
- Get rid of any duplicates. You don’t need two toasters unless you have the habit of destroying kitchen appliances.
- Have a clutter-free zone in your apartment or house that you can always rely on. When I live with my family, I always have a desk area that I keep perfectly tidy and de-cluttered. I use this space to write these posts!
- Practice traveling lightly. You don’t need three lotions with different scents for different moods. A particular skill I have yet to master is putting together more outfits than just stuffing options in until the bag explodes.
- In general, making a list of reasons why you simplify your lifestyle could prove as solid motivation to actually make it happen.
- Start small. If you’re not ready to start with your closet, you can start with a drawer or a small space. It’s more about making the effort to start and the task itself, rather than what you decide to start with.
Minimalism is countercultural. In a society that feeds into advertisements and consistent marketing strategies, people often pride themselves in what possessions they obtain. Let’s go back to the idea that a de-cluttered surrounding makes a de-cluttered mind. Clutter induces distractions and often stress. Having so many possessions that you somewhat like as opposed to having less but just things you love, it could be clear which one is more appealing. Will you make the distinction?
I’m not saying that everyone is the Gollum character from Lord of the Rings, desperately holding onto our flat screen televisions and various end tables, but we could all do better for ourselves.
Placing a higher value on what we have in terms of possessions brings more internal satisfaction. Think of it in reference to your life or your career. You want a quality life with a job you value and are passionate about. Why not hold everything to a higher standard, down to the miscellaneous cabinet?
As Nido Qubein once said : “change brings opportunity.”
Thanks for reading and happy organizing! xx