Tag Archives: becoming a minimalist

becoming a minimalist means learning to let go

Letting go of an obsession and/or attachment to things is essential to becoming a minimalist.  I have indeed read this many times, but actually experiencing it  along my minimalist journey has proved its truth. 

I have always been good about clearing out stuff I no longer want or use (for the most part), but seem to acquire new stuff just as fast as the old stuff gets loaded on to the Goodwill truck.  This is not being minimalist, and this desire must stop- and has for the most part.  I’m not perfect, I’ve purchased a new dress and shirt in the past couple months.  But I can see how easily these small purchases could have triggered my old habits and pulled me back to where I started.

The difference now though, it that I have had a shift in consciousness.  Stuff is not important and too much of it can keep you stuck and imprisoned in many ways.  My favorite quote from the movie “Fight Club” sums it up perfectly:  “The things you own end up owning you.”  I no longer have the desire to acquire everything and anything in my path, I only buy what I truly need and love.  And the rest is discarded.

So letting go, and rebelling against a society that is bombarding us with advertisements and reality tv shows telling us to buy, buy, buy to make our lives better is imperative.  There is another way, and from what I’ve experiences so far and read about on other blogs, it’s a better way!

As a recovering spend-a-holic and new minimalist in the making, I need to remind myself of the great benefits of minimalism everyday.   Buying a bunch of new stuff might bring happiness in the moment, but will inevitably end up causing more damage. 

So just let go and ask yourself…..

“Am I willing to trade my money, time, freedom, and ultimately my life for stuff?”

 


5 reasons to become a minimalist

1.  Create more physical and mental space.  Minimalism is generally about reducing possessions to only what you need.  Creating more physical space and in result, creating more mental space.  Pairing down possessions is the start of minimalism, but it’s really a state of mind.  Less possessions= more space, more time, more money, and more mental clarity and peace of mind.

2.  Gain control of your finances (and sanity).  I speak from personal experience on this.  Money issues can ruin relationships, send you into a state of constant worry or even provoke panic attacks.  Heading towards minimalism really does quiet your money noise and give you control over your financial situation.  Since I’ve chosen to live a more minimalist life, I have stopped obsessing about money.  I’m not on the trail of mindless consuming and buying everything I possibly can anymore.  Thus my money noise is fading day by day.  I still have a lot of debt and not a lot of savings, but I’m not stressed anymore about it.  Money is not my main focus.

3.  Go green!  When you move in the direction of a minimalist lifestyle, you automatically lighten your environmental impact.  Whether you have simply cut down on consuming stuff or have gone more extreme and sold your car, going green is inevitable with minimalism.

4.  Strengthen relationships.  When you don’t have so much stuff to obsess over, acquire, worry about, keep clean and organized, etc., more time is available to cultivate personal relationships.  Relationships are so much more important than material things.  Your stuff can’t hold your hand or laugh with you at the movies, or go for a hike (well technically I guess it can, but you know what I’m saying).  People are what matter, things are not.

5.  Find what you love.   What are you passionate about?  Do you even know?  It’s very typical for people to get so obsessed with acquiring money and things, that they can’t even answer those questions.  Once you have shifted your focus to a less-materialistic minimalist mindset, you will have the space and time to find your passions.   Take that yoga class, sign up for that art course, start the small business you’ve been dreaming about but never thought was possible.  Stop focusing on things, and start focusing on the present and find what you love.


5 easy things you can do this week to become a minimalist

1.  Pick a drawer, a closet, a cabinet, a corner…some space in your home/garage/workplace.  Remove everything.  Only put back the essentials.  Recycle, donate, and/or toss the remaining.

2.  Clean out your purse or wallet.  It’s amazing how many receipts, pennies, rewards cards, and if you’re like me….exta junk!  can pile up inside.  After you’ve minimalized down to what you truly use (do you really need to be carrying around 50 pennies and 20 store discount cards?), vow to clean out unnecessary items every day.

3.  Unsubscribe from 5-10 email subscriptions.  Last week I took about 10 minutes and unsubscribed from about 20 email subscriptions from Borders Rewards, GAP, etc.  Not only does my inbox stay tidy, but I don’t have the urge to shop and spend money on unnecessary things.

4.  Practice meditation or yoga for 20 minutes.  What does this have to do with minimalism you ask?  My belief is that a minimalist lifestyle is not just about clearing out physical clutter, but mental clutter as well.  Yoga and mediation are fantastic ways of calming and clearing your mind.  My yoga classes are my therapy, my workout, my peace of mind.

5.  Pick one goal or task you would like to accomplish, and start working towards it.  No matter if this is small, like finally taking the donations to the Goodwill truck, or big like starting a home business, pick a goal, focus all your energy on it, and take steps to accomplish it.  This is the minimalist approach to accomplishing goals and it works.  Too many goals at once can be too much pressure and stress.  It can be very easy to throw up your hands and say “Forget it, I’ll never be able to accomplish all this!”.  Pick one goal, and start taking the necessary steps today.


why “barely” minimalist?

I started this blog and this path towards “barely” minimalism, because I’ve realized that I need some big changes in my life.  I’m not happy in my current situation and instead of waiting for something or someone to change that, I need to look inside myself and make the changes on my own.

I let go of someone I love recently.  It was the hardest decision I had to make, but it was the right one.  After he was gone, I was forced to focus on myself for the first time in a decade.  I took a hard look at my life and realized there were many things I had accepted as “reality” for so long, that I could change if I put the effort in.  I always wanted to change my habits, but I always put it off till next week, or next month.  But next week, or next month never came, I was still stuck doing the same ‘ol, same ‘ol, not committing to any changes.  Let’s be real, change can be hard until we decide enough is enough.  Life is too short to live an unfulfilling and unhappy life.

About a month or two ago, I came acrossed and started following some awesome blogs on minimalism, and different individuals living “minimalist” style lives.  I’ve studied simple living and frugality, but all I knew of minimalism was interior design related.  This idea of being a minimalist sparked a big interest inside of me and a lust to learn more.  This idea of living with only the necessities and weeding out all other clutter seemed alluring.  I have been living the opposite lifestyle for a while and it’s never made me happy.  I’ve spent so many hours and so much money shopping, it actually makes me cringe to think about it.  I actually had gotten to a point where I hated going shopping, and my ever-growing possessions were stressing me out as I felt I had no room to breathe as the drawers and closets got fuller and fuller.  But I kept doing it because it just seemed “normal” and buying stuff was supposed to make me happy, right?

It didn’t, it actually kept me stuck and unhappy.

In addition to the decluttering and downsizing, I also see minimalism as putting life and people before things.  It’s easy to focus on stuff, because it keeps us busy from having to deal with people, relationships, failed dreams, childhood issues, personal issues, etc.  Stuff can be an easy distraction from living life.  My life has been full of stuff, and lacking in close relationships, passions and well, living.

So I started the blog to chronicle my journey, make myself accountable, and maybe meet some like-minded people along the way out in the blog-o-sphere.  I titled it “barely minimalist” because at this point I am barely a minimalist.  I have too much stuff for one person still, I work in a corporate job in a cubicle, I make payments on a car,  I still like shopping for new things (on a much smaller scale), and I probably won’t be fitting all my possessions in a backpack and traveling around the world any time soon.  I’m doing minimalism my way.  I don’t believe there is one way to be a minimalist, and I’m on my path to finding my place in it.