4 signs it’s time to give minimalism a try and value the things that matter
Minimalism is NOT just for ‘cool’ fashion magazine spreads. Small but valuable acts of minimalism can sometimes help you smoothen your soul, too.
One of the things that brings me the most pleasure in life is decluttering and organizing different areas of my home. I am perfectly happy to park myself in front of a closet on a Saturday morning and spend the day dividing its contents into the things I wish to keep, those that can be donated, and what belongs in the trash. And when everything is clean and ready to be put away, I absolutely love carefully organizing what’s left. “A place for everything and everything in its place” are words I live by.
As hard as it is for me to accept, not everyone is as conscientious about clutter and organization as I am. We’re all wired a little different, after all. However, if you’re looking to get your organizing game on to make a positive change in your life — it might be worthwhile to consider minimalism.
What Exactly Is Minimalism?
Minimalism is a philosophy that encourages reevaluating your priorities and figuring out what matters most and what’s simply excess. It advocates eliminating the things in life that don’t provide value. Doing so is said to offer freedom from those things that fail to bring peace, joy, and purpose to your life.
Minimalism is different for everyone; the things we value are unique and personal to each of us. That’s why there’s so much room to bend and shape minimalism to create whatever version of the philosophy works best for your lifestyle
Furthermore, living a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything you own and live in a 200-square-foot house. It doesn’t mean you can’t engage in a hobby or curate a collection that requires stockpiling physical objects. What minimalism really boils down to is enjoying the things you need/love. You don’t need to worry about “keeping up with the Joneses.”
The Benefits of Minimalism
Minimalism brings with it a multitude of positive and life-changing benefits. They include:
You Shop Smarter
Minimalism guides you in considering each purchase carefully, thinking on whether or not you truly need an item, how it will add to your life, and if you can actually afford it. Being so intentional with your purchases greatly reduces the temptation to impulse buy. What’s more, minimalism also advocates doing research and buying quality items that will last for years.
Your Finances Improve
Spending money on only the things that matter — rather than a bunch of stuff you don’t need — means extra money in your pocket. You can use that money to pay off debts, give to charity, or bankroll unique experiences.
You Have Less Stress
Minimalism helps you to acknowledge in a deep sense that possessions don’t indicate your self-worth. You can stop comparing yourself to others, rediscover yourself and consider what’s really important in life. This can help you to become more at ease, more centred and more compassionate.
You Have Less Clutter
When you eliminate unnecessary, valueless physical items from your home, you may just find yourself with a lot more room to breathe. This also makes cleaning and organization much easier — which means spending less time cleaning and more time following your passions.
You Need Less Room
After you finish decluttering your home, you may discover you need less space to store all the things you’ve collected over the years. This means you may even be able to move into a smaller home, which saves on utilities and rent/mortgage payments.
Signs It’s Time to Give Minimalism a Try
Now that I’ve shared some of the reasons why I think a minimalist lifestyle is beneficial, let’s look at a few signs it might be right for you:
You’re in Debt
If you have a mound of credit card debt, minimalism might be able to help. By shopping smarter and spending your money intentionally, you can stop adding to your monthly bills, end up with a little extra in your bank account, and use that money to pay off your debts faster.
You’re Always Stressed
Did you know that physical clutter can be one of the causes of stress? By choosing to live minimally, you can remove this clutter and the stress that it generates.
You Spend Too Much Time Cleaning
If you’re spending more than a couple hours cleaning your house every week, there might be a problem. One of the simplest ways to cut down on the time you spend tidying up is to have less stuff to clean, and more open spaces that can be cleaned easily without poking round objects or into hard-to-reach corners.
You’re Environmentally Conscious
If you’re environmentally minded and wish to help curtail both the squandering of our natural resources and destruction of our planet, minimalism may offer one part of the solution. By choosing to consume less, you can help lessen front-end production and decrease back-end waste, thus reducing your effect on the environment.
As fascinating as it is, minimalism isn’t a lifestyle choice for everyone. Changing your habits is never easy — it takes a lot of time, energy, and dedication. Furthermore, if you cohabitate with someone who is predisposed to hoarding, it can exacerbate their condition. Finally, those who live on a low income may not have the means to shop “quality over quantity.”
However, if you are interested in giving the minimalist lifestyle a try, spend the weekend decluttering one closet or room and see how you feel when you’re done. If that works for you, consider spending an entire week being intentional with your purchases. It’s important to ease into minimalism — don’t go gung-ho and start throwing everything out. You want to make sure this lifestyle is right for you.
Ultimately, minimalism is designed to make your life more meaningful. When we take the time to remove from our lives the elements that don’t contribute to our happiness, we can work toward achieving a real sense of peace. Essentially, less really is more!
Sort your wardrobe into clothes you wear regularly, clothes you don’t wear regularly but wish to keep, clothes that can be donated and clothes to be thrown away.
If you have space for storage, consider if you need all your clothes readily to hand. You could try packing away seasonal clothes you don’t need, storing your winter or summer items away until the time is right to get them out again. Fewer clothes on display in your wardrobe will help you find it easier to think about what to wear each day.
If you have a shelf covered with knick-knacks, remove everything and clean the shelf. Now put just one item back. The one you think most needs to be there. Reflect on the shelf with your one most treasured or appropriate item, and consider how it makes you feel. Then allow yourself to return two more items. This will help you consider what items are most important to you, and how it makes you feel to let them have precedence in your space without other sundry pieces around. Then look at any remaining items and consider if you want to return each one to the shelf or find another solution for it.
If you create a donation bag, consecrate it with good energy and the intent that anyone who re-uses your donated items will find them a benefit in their life. This small act of reflection will help you appreciate what you have, and freely release what you no longer need. It will also help you value any new things you bring into your life in future.