I am so glad to have discovered this path. Minimalism. At first it felt like I was part of a top-secret society, a club with a special handshake and a growing following – minimalism was this different, novel, mystifying and enticing new world and I felt like I had stumbled onto one of life’s best kept little secrets. The greatest part is that two years down the track, two years into my journey with minimalism, I still feel like that. She is still an enticing, awe-inspiring and ever surprising gift.
Perhaps it is because I have connected with some wonderful resonant souls on this journey – fellow minimalists, fellow bloggers whose writing and teachings have become something I look forward to reading almost daily. Perhaps it is because I am in awe of the progress it has allowed me to make within myself and within my priorities for this life. Or perhaps it is because even when you think you’re there, at that point of having minimalized the clutter, the busy, the excess – you remember that is is a non-linear evolution, a process of continuous growth, calling for daily diligence and practice, and providing the most wonderful personal rewards.
I have been surprised in the best way possible by the connections I have made with people through starting this blog. While it is a passion project for me to write, and to record my journey into what I would say is the most profound values shift I have ever experienced, the icing on the cake has been the responses I have had from old friends, new friends, work friends, acquaintances and strangers who have read some of my posts and reached out to me. Connecting with another soul over a common joy or interest is a pretty wonderful feeling. And hearing that people have been inspired to take action to simplify within their own lives is just brilliant.
People are getting excited. Inspired. To take action. They are de-cluttering – wardrobes, bedside tables, kitchen cabinets, linen cupboards, garages. They are saying no to activities that don’t add value – stress sucking, busy-building activities. They are making deliberate attempts to slow down. Cut back. Reduce excess – objects, activities, media, stimulation. They are re-evaluating their own value system and bringing the desire to be intentional to the forefront of their mind, so that everyday, they go to bed with a sense of satisfaction that they are moving in a direction that feels good and right to them.
Minimalism is becoming more mainstream. People are seeing that despite the connotations in the terminology, ‘minimalism’ is not an extreme sport of deprivation. It is a case of re-assessing and re-tuning according to what. matters. most. If this isn’t the best feeling, I don’t know what is.
Like anything, the life-altering impacts usually don’t come in the form of a sudden boom, a big sparkly purple cloud of realisation or profound change. They usually come about from a series of small decisions and small steps that, when taken consistently, lead to big results. This has certainly been the case for me when it comes to minimalism.
I don’t look different because I am a minimalist. I don’t live in a house with bare walls, one chair and a single pot plant for decoration (where would Greg sit?!). I don’t limit myself to only one cup, only one set of cutlery. I actually don’t particularly like the ‘minimalist’ artwork or design style. I am not anti-consumerism. I buy stuff. I have seen the memes out there about minimalists (we elusive folk!) and I laugh about it because like anything unfamiliar, we humans tend to jump to seeing the extremes when it comes to novel ideas or ways of doing things. And actually some of those memes are pretty funny!
My everyday minimalism is not an extreme sport.
My husband and I did do a big purge when my we needed to move houses a few years ago. There have been smaller purges since then – we had a lot of stuff, but no more I believe than the average couple living in Australia or in a developed country.
We decided to stop habitually upgrading our possessions because it was waste of money, a waste of space, an unnecessary stress.
I am mindful on a daily basis of the powerful impacts of marketing and media and make choices accordingly about what I watch and how this may influence my buying habits. When I do buy things, I practice the pause and think about the utility of what I am buying, if it is needed and why.
I am working on my capsule wardrobe and I will absolutely share the funny and somewhat disastrous moments that have led to my current capsule wardrobe in an upcoming blog.
I am work on building intentionality in my everyday life through mindfulness, slowing down, thinking about what I am doing rather than reacting habitually, and enjoying the important moments I can create when I say no to other things that don’t matter.
I am inspired to share a few ideas here for the evolving minimalist in you. The best part is – most of these ideas have been shared with me by everyday people giving it a go and feeling the benefits.
Ten Ideas for Everyday Minimalism
Try removing one activity (no matter how small) that does not add value and is not necessary out of your daily routine to add time and reduce wasted energy.
Clear the clutter in your ‘hot spot’ – the place you work from – and deem it a clutter-free zone. Let other people who use the space know it is a clutter free zone.
Use the ‘one in, one out’ rule for just about everything you purchase. If you buy something new, out goes the old worn out version or some other old worn out object that you do not use.
Pause before purchasing. Anything. Do you really need it? What is the emotion causing you to want to buy it? Get mindful. Outsmart the advertisers and choose from a place of clarity rather than reaction.
Keep your flat surfaces clear. Kitchen bench tops, desks, bathroom cabinets.
Don’t believe the hype. Disconnect from value-sucking and stress-inducing media in a way that feels right to you. Turn off your phone, the radio, take a break from emails and delete some apps. You won’t die and neither will anyone else.
Work with what you have – clothing, objects, skills – create more and consume less.
Put people first. Focus on experiences and relationships and then build your day around that. The rest will follow. The crap will get left behind.
Involve the ones you love. They may not understand your sudden interest in minimalism, but they will understand that you want to focus on spending time with them instead of hitting up Ikea.
Slowing down is possible. Saying no to things is too. I have been doing it and so far it is working out pretty well. No one has imploded. I feel more connected to the ones I love and have more time to do things my soul calls for. Winning.
Anyone can start to practice minimalism. I have not yet heard of one person who tried it and said – “I just can’t live without all this stuff, this debt, this stress”. Funny that. Go you good thing.
Until next time – simplify, focus pursue, and count your blessings.
Photo Credit: SnapbyThree MY