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Why Minimalism Isn’t About Stuff

I became a minimalist because the idea of having a clean and clear home and mind was appealing to me. Once I got past the decluttering stage, I was able to see that getting rid of stuff was the easy part. When you have a clean and clear house, that is when the real magic starts to happen.

Why Minimalism Isn't About Stuff

Gaining Clarity

The first major change I noticed when adopting a minimalist lifestyle was the amount of mental clarity I gained. I didn’t have to think so much about what I wanted to wear in the morning, I didn’t have to keep a running to do list in my head anymore – because my life had become simpler. I had a streamlined schedule.

After the mental clarity came, I started to realize that while I was working full time and living a minimalist lifestyle (aka I had quit my nasty weekly shopping trips), I was able to save a LOT of money every month. I wasn’t living paycheck to paycheck anymore. Before changing my lifestyle, I had become stagnant in my life. I had a good job, I was able to afford my rent, and I did pretty much whatever I wanted. Enter financial freedom.

Living in Alignment With Values

When I realized that I was accidentally saving a ton of money, my dreams of buying a brand new Audi went out the window, and in came bigger dreams. I wanted to travel the world and I wanted to write. I knew I didn’t want to stay in my windowless office, creating Excel spreadsheets that I wasn’t sure anyone even looked at.

why minimalism isnt about stuffFollowing the minimalist movement, I realized that I had a lot more choices in my life than I ever thought possible. Being financially free gave me the opportunity to follow whatever dream I could dream up. I had time to figure out what I wanted in my life, how I wanted to live, and how to spend the resources that I had – and I became much more intentional with those resources.

I started spending my time and money in ways that aligned with my values. I strengthened my pact to live my life creating minimal damage to the environment. I learned more about living a sustainable life, I saved up $12k so that I could travel for a year, and I learned about working visas so that I could continue traveling after my savings ran out. I learned about long term plans to create my own business online and spent more time working on learning about photography, which was an undeveloped passion before minimalism.

Unexpected Benefits

When I turned to minimalism, it was largely due to not wanting to spend my weekends knee-deep in laundry. What I got from minimalism was so much more than doing my two loads of laundry per week now – I’ve been traveling for two years, I’ve visited 25 countries, I’ve worked abroad, I’ve met people who’ve changed my life, and I’ve changed myself.

I’ve done something that made me feel better than any change in diet could, something better than simply getting out of debt or decluttering my house. I’ve become intentional about how I spend my resources that I get in this short life. I’ve chosen exactly how I want to spend my time and money, and following through with that has given me the chance to follow my dreams and live more than I could have ever imagined.

Your Turn!

  • How has minimalism affected your life?
  • What benefits have you noticed from adopting a minimalist lifestyle?

Five Tips for A Mindful Home

Living a nomadic lifestyle means that I live in a lot of different homes. My home can change weekly – which has given me the opportunity to figure out exactly what works (and what doesn’t) in making a mindful and simple home just that, a “home.” These are five tips for a mindful and simple home.Tips for a Mindful Home

Keep Only What Adds Value

By surrounding yourself with things that add value to your life – in terms of usefulness or beauty, you are creating a more mindful home. When the clutter is cleared away, your home will become fresh, clear and a place of serenity and happiness. I like to keep my surroundings ultra minimal, and make sure everything that I keep has a purpose, and that I use it often.

Be Picky

I am pretty picky about the clothes I wear and the people I hang out with, so why wouldn’t I be picky with the stuff I surround myself with? I chose to keep my belongings in tip-top shape, and purchase high quality electronics and equipment that I’ll use daily.

Make Your Bed

Minimalists aren’t always clean. But making sure that your bed is easy to make ensures that you’ll actually do it. I like to minimize my blankets and throw pillows on my bed, so that I just have to pull up a duvet cover and viola – the bed is made. Making your bed is step one in being productive for the day.

Tips for a Mindful Home

Pay Attention To Noises

I have always been super sensitive to noise. The sound of a television in the next room drives me absolutely up the wall. I much prefer sounds of classical music or even silence. I have noticed that I am much more productive, happy, and positive when I’m surrounded by uplifting sounds or silence.

Clean Up

A clean home equals a clear mind, right? I notice a huge difference in my mental clarity when my home and area is clean and tidy. Minimalism makes my life so much easier in terms of cleaning. I hardly ever have to dedicate more than 20 or 30 mins of time to cleaning – and when I do dedicate time to cleaning, it is always only to deep clean.

These are five simple tips that have helped me enjoy my living space a bit more, even if that space does change regularly.

Your Turn!

  • Which tip would make the biggest impact for you?

The Connection Between Clutter and Mental Health

Before minimalism, I was constantly surrounded by clutter. Laundry, trinkets and souvenirs, mail – I was swimming in it. I didn’t notice the impact it had on my mental clarity until I cleared out this clutter. When I was living in this constant state of chaos, my mind was always jumping around from one idea to the next. My to-do list seemed endless. I was always distracted, and hardly ever productive.

Clutter and Mental Health

Once I cleared out the chaos and simplified my surroundings, my mind became decluttered as well. It was an unexpected side effect of minimalism, but a welcome one. I felt that I had the time and clarity to finally think clearly. My to-do list became shorter, not only because I didn’t have a constant overflow of laundry, but also because I became more intentional. I gained clarity in my priorities and what I wanted from my days, weeks, and months. I found my passions and made some serious goals (and then I achieved them).

When the clutter was gone, I noticed a bunch of little changes that added a lot of value to my life. I didn’t want to spend my weekends shopping anymore – I became happy with the way that my home looked. I wanted to keep it clutter free, which ended up saving me tons of money on home furnishings.

Clutter and Mental HealthPreviously, I’d been in a consistent pursuit of home perfection. I wanted my home to be clean, clear, and look like it had been decorated by an interior designer. When I cleared the mess, I realized that I loved the way my home looked when it was clutter free. It was easier to manage, and I no longer felt like I needed to find the perfect throw pillow to attain home perfection.

Another change I noticed quickly was my wanting to use my new surroundings to my best capabilities. I finally had a room that had good energy and made me want to keep it tidy. I started making my bed every day and putting my dirty laundry in the laundry basket instead of on the floor. By doing these little tasks, I was able to save bits of time that all added up to a lot of time. When I got rid of all of my excess clothes, I was able to spend my weekends hiking around Northern California instead of doing 10 loads of laundry (I’m still not sure how I was able to make that much laundry in a week, with only 2 people in my household).

I noticed that I had more energy and drive after clearing out my house. I didn’t feel weighed down anymore (though I hadn’t even realized how weighed down I felt until I got rid of the stuff). I felt light, free, and motivated.

I never expected minimalism to give me so many benefits. These little changes came from just clearing the clutter in my surroundings – I’ve experienced even more benefits from living a fully minimalist lifestyle.

Your Turn!

  • Do you live clutter-free?
  • If so, how has it changed your life?

 

How Minimalism Helps Me Travel The World

I found minimalism about two and a half years ago, and I’ve been traveling the world for about two years now. This is how minimalism helps me travel the world.

The Stuff

Being a minimalist to me means that I have only the stuff I need and nothing more. The challenging part of this is finding out how much or how little I actually need. Either way, I can easily fit everything I need in a backpack, which makes it easy to travel the world full time. I travel carry-on only, which means that I am not only traveling light physically, but I’m saving a ton of money on checked baggage (and a bunch of hassle when getting to and from the airport).

Minimalism and Travel

The Financial Side

Minimalism has helped me figure out the best ways to spend all of my resources, including my time, money, and energy. When I turned to the minimalist way of life, I decided that my 9-5 job was not making me happy and taking up way too much of my precious time. Life is short, and I am not about to spend 3/4 of it bored, in an office without a window. I saved quickly and persistently for five months, then quit my job and left the country, with just a backpack and a passport. Having a year of travel and no income is a great way to teach yourself how to budget – I knew that if I wanted to make it for a whole year without going home to get another job, I’d have to be good with money. And I was.

The Mindset

So many people tell me that they could never be minimalist because it feels like they are depriving themselves. They think that minimalism is all about saying no when you want to say yes. I think of it as the opposite – you are saying no to things that you don’t want to say yes to things that you do. I started saying no to happy hours with coworkers I didn’t like, invitations to events I didn’t want to attend, and weekend shopping sprees at Target, so that I could say yes to something I wanted even more – a lifestyle filled with passport stamps, new cultures, exotic food, and valued friendships. Minimalism helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

Minimalism and Travel

Giving Back

Though I don’t agree that it’s necessary to work 9-5 to give back to society, I first felt like I was lost and ungrounded. I was traveling and experiencing so much; I was learning and growing, but I wasn’t sharing this knowledge with others. I eventually started a website and youtube channel about my journey and what I learned along the way, and even wrote an ebook. I have worked abroad in one country (soon to be two), and I have plans to go on volunteer trips when I can save up enough money to do so. Before minimalism, I was giving my time and energy to building a business that wasn’t part of my vision. Now, I’m giving back to the world in terms of time, resources, and information.

Minimalism led me from an unfulfilled life to an exciting adventure. I’m so grateful for finding this lifestyle when I did – I’ve benefitted from it greatly.

Your Turn!

  • How has minimalist living impacted your life?

Everyday Habits for Sustained Simplicity

Living a simple lifestyle is something that takes work daily. The benefits of this lifestyle are endless, and there are a few everyday habits that can help make this way of living even easier. These are five everyday habits for sustained simplicity.

Make It Easy to Put Things Away

I used to have a dresser filled to the brim with clothes. I would often opt to throw my clothes on the ground after a long day instead of putting them in the overflowing laundry basket or back in my dresser. Once I decluttered my wardrobe, it was so much easier to fold my clothes and put them away or chuck them into the laundry basket – which wasn’t overflowing anymore.

Sustainable Minimalism

 

Declutter Before Organizing

I used to be a big fan of organizing. I would watch YouTube videos of people’s perfectly organized homes, with different compartments for every item you could imagine. Once I found minimalism, I decided to declutter instead of organize. Decluttering first meant that I would have less to organize, and I wasn’t organizing things that I wasn’t even using (or didn’t need in the first place).

One In, One Out Rule

Every time I buy something new, I get rid of something. This helps a lot, especially because I used to buy multiples of something that I only needed one of. I used to stock up at Bath and Body Works during their sales and I’d buy more cheap jewelry than I’d ever need. Now, I have a rule that I can’t buy a new lotion/soap/piece of jewelry unless I get rid of one that I already have. This means that I don’t buy anything perishable until I run out of the one I have, and I hardly ever buy jewelry or clothes. This rule works only after you’ve decluttered, of course.

Sustainable Minimalism Tips

Don’t Be Afraid to Repeat

I am known for wearing the same sort of clothes all the time. Creating a uniform is one of the easiest ways to streamline your life. Planning and repeating the same meals helps me save a ton of money on groceries but still ensure I’m eating what I love. These are only two practices that I’ve adopted that have helped me save tons of time and money – and has made my life so much simpler and easier.

Simplify Your Finances

Have a simple budgeting system that ensures everything gets paid on time (including yourself). I used automatic payments and have my banking and credit card system set up so that I have a very small amount of input. I am very conscious of my spending and only spend on things that will have a positive and fulfilling impact on my life or my day. This way I am spending less than I make, saving some, and not worrying about creating debt.

These are just five tips for making your everyday life easier. These everyday habits for sustained simplicity have changed my daily life for the better.

Your Turn!

  • What habits do you have to make everyday life easier?
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