Simple living, or minimalism, is my new lifestyle. It has always been alluring, but it didn’t take hold of me until a couple of years ago. Until then, I was constantly feeling stressed, and I didn’t know why. I didn’t do as much as so-and-so, so I didn’t think I had the right to be as overwhelmed as I felt.
It’s taken a lot of self-reflection and exploration to determine the problem.
I began to think about what was causing me stress and what I could do about it. I knew that cleaning up after my family was causing me unnecessary stress. But how could I get them to stop leaving messes around the house?
And I knew I was always in a hurry and exhausted, but who isn’t? It’s easy to compare yourself to those around you and think, “This is just the way life is these days,” or “Why can’t I keep up like everyone else?”.
How Can We Live More Simply?
The truth is, there is much I have zero control over. But there’s also much that I can control. I can control how we spend our money, how much we own, how much we put on our schedule, and how much time we spend on priorities vs. non-priorities.
There are many reasons why we sometimes think we don’t have control over our lives. But they are our lives, aren’t they? We might think that certain people expect certain things from us. Or we might think our kids will hate us if they don’t have ALL the toys.
But the truth is, people’s expectations of you will gradually change after you change your expectations for yourself. If living more simply is something you really want or need, you shouldn’t worry about what others will think. The people who love you will support you even when they don’t understand.
So, what does simple living mean? You might call simple living minimalism. Because being a minimalist has many assumptions and sometimes negative connotations, I want to address what minimalism is and isn’t.
What Is Minimalism?
In short, minimalism is living with less. How much less is up to you.
Minimalism is living simply. How simple is up to you.
Minimalism is about getting more out of life. What you want to get out of life is up to you.
And minimalism is about only having and doing what you love. What you love and need in your life is up to you.
What Is Minimalism Not?
Minimalism is NOT having an empty house with white walls. You decide how much stuff you need.
Being a minimalist does NOT necessarily mean depriving yourself of life’s luxuries. You decide how to spend your money and time.
Being a minimalist does NOT necessarily mean having no job and traveling the world. You decide what you want to do with your life.
Minimalism is NOT a set of legalistic rules. You set your own rules.
So Why Might Minimalism Be for You?
Although being a minimalist can sound too tricky of a goal to attain, it doesn’t have to be. This is why I repeatedly say that it’s up to you. Only you can know what you need to give up to live a more fulfilled life. Only you can know what you need to start doing to get more out of life.
If I could sum up the benefits of being a minimalist in one word, it would be contentment. Minimalism is all about contentment– the only thing that truly brings you joy.
The Benefits of Minimalism
So what about being minimalist causes you to learn to be content and experience more joy? Here are just a few benefits of minimalism that lead you to contentment and joy:
- Being a minimalist allows you to give who/what you love more of your time because you aren’t wasting your time on unimportant things.
- Minimalism causes you to have more energy because you aren’t wasting energy on unimportant things.
- Being a minimalist makes you less stressed because you don’t have more or do more than you can reasonably handle.
- Minimalism gives you more space to live and be you because your house, schedule, and mind aren’t cluttered.
- Being a minimalist saves you money because you buy less and are intentional about what you spend your money on.
- Minimalism provides more freedom because your money, possessions, health, or other people aren’t dictating your life.
My Journey to Becoming a Minimalist
On my journey to simple living and becoming a minimalist, I gradually worked my way here.
It took being super stressed about keeping up my house to push me to pursue having less. Over the years, I have decluttered and decluttered again so many times. In doing this, I realized that there was a flaw in my system. I was still buying too much. I was still buying things that looked cute on the shelf but didn’t have much use in my home.
Purchases I made that were inexpensive were now causing my home to be cluttered and me to be overwhelmed.
For a long time, I have adopted the one thing in, one thing out method. Essentially this means that when I bought something new, something in my house had to go.
I found that it was a little too easy, perhaps, to find something I no longer needed or loved. Now, I’ve taken the intentionality one step further and taken the time to assess my purchases. I try not to bring anything into my home or life that won’t add GREAT value.