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Posts Tagged Minimalist

Why I Became A Minimalist

Learning about minimalism and adopting this lifestyle has brought me more peace, more meaning, and more happiness. This is my story of why I became a minimalist.

The Beginning

A few years ago, I had my dream job. I was working 9-5 and had my own office, I was on salary, I had a company laptop and double monitors. I was important, respected, and well-liked in my office. I worked in the wine industry and got plenty of opportunities to further my wine education. We had fancy company holiday parties and I was making more money than I’d ever made before. I thought I should be happy; I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t.

Why I Became a Minimalist

What Was I Doing?

During this time, I was living quite the lavish lifestyle. I had relatively low overhead costs. I was renting a one-bedroom with my boyfriend, and I had previously bought my used car in cash. I had a low car insurance payment, I got health benefits through work, and my only monthly bills were rent and my cell phone bill. I used most of my income on shopping sprees at Target over the weekend (to spruce up my home furnishings, pick up some new work clothes, or try some new makeup), happy hours after work, or dinners at nice restaurants. If I wasn’t shopping on the weekend, I was wine tasting – though I got free tastings for being in the industry, I’d still spend hundreds of dollars stocking up on fancy wines.

The Ted Talk

One day after work, I stumbled upon a Ted talk by The Minimalists. It was called A Rich Life With Less Stuff. I watched it three times in a row, and then forwarded it to everyone I knew. I made a plan to declutter my spaces and live a more minimalist lifestyle. I started with my living room, donating tons of books. I moved to my bathroom and decluttered heaps of lotions, creams, shower gels and old makeup. I cleaned out my closet and donated clothes that still had tags, bags of shoes, and a massive pile of accessories that I never wore.

Going Minimalist

I did a total of three rounds of decluttering. I had a few discussions with my boyfriend, who wasn’t interested in minimalism or getting rid of any of his stuff. Once I finished my last round of decluttering, I started to pay attention to the lifestyles of the minimalists I admired. I started to question my own lifestyle and the ways I was spending my resources – my time, my money and my energy. I decided to make some big changes.

Why Minimalism?

Intentional Living

One of the biggest changes that I made with minimalism was becoming more intentional with how I spent my time, money and energy. I quit my job, broke up with my boyfriend, and I started saving like I’d never saved before (it’s amazing what happens when you stop shopping and going out). For the first time in my life, I had a plan to do something just for me. I saved for five months, got my first passport, asked for a 44L backpack for my birthday, and left the US for a life of world travel.

The Happy Ending

Two years later, I’m still traveling full time. I’ve been to twenty-four countries, I’ve lived abroad in two, and I have lots of travel planned for my future. I spend my days how I want to spend them. Because I spend so little money, I don’t need to work full time to support myself. I am rich with time, my passport is filling up rapidly, and I’ve lived more in the past two years than the last twenty-seven.

As you can see, minimalism has been so beneficial to my life. I will be forever grateful to the minimalist movement and the people who introduced me to it. Thanks to them, I can now say that I live a Rich Life With Less Stuff.

Your Turn!

  • Have you tried minimalism?
  • If so, why did you become a minimalist?

 

How Minimalism Helps Me Live More

I originally turned to minimalism to clear out the clutter in my house. I had no idea the impacts a minimalist lifestyle would have on my mental state, and bank statements. This is four ways that minimalism has helped me embrace life even more.

minimalism live more

1. I Have More Time

Before minimalism, I didn’t think that having a lot of stuff took up a lot of my time. But when I looked at where my time was going, I noticed that I was spending a lot of my weekend time doing one of the following: laundry, shopping, cleaning, or organizing. If I wasn’t doing one of those things, I was most likely scrolling through Facebook or Instagram on my couch. After embracing minimalism, I have less things to clean, I spend almost no time organizing, and I do one or two loads of laundry a week, usually during the week. My weekends are spent laptop-free, in nature, doing something I love.

2. I Have More Resources

Because I have stopped buying unnecessary things, I’ve saved an incredible amount of money. My lifestyle is simple and extremely inexpensive to maintain. I consistently save at least 50% of my income, and spend a lot of time not working. I travel full-time, and sometimes I’ll even work in exchange for room and board. My minimalist lifestyle allows me to save so much money, while living more.

3. I Have More Energy

minimalism live moreAfter trading my 9-5 for a more flexible schedule, I’ve created tons of downtime for myself. If I feel like I need some time to unwind, relax, and take it easy, I can spend a day journaling or reading. I know that when I get sick, I am able to rest, and when I feel like spending time outside, I can go for a hike or walk to the beach. I can choose how I want to spend my time, which helps me create a better balance. I now spend some days working all day, and some days I’ll spend not working at all. By giving myself  time and space, I can live in a much more flexible way.

4. I’m Happier

Minimalism has helped me to create a better life for myself. I no longer dream of fancy cars and brand new iPhones; now, I feel happy with just a simple wardrobe, the technology that I need and use often, and a good, healthy diet. Having the ability to obtain everything I need and nothing more brings more joy to my life than I ever thought possible. It feels amazing to no longer feel like I need a new car, own a house, or have 2.5 kids to be successful. I have everything I need to live a happy life, and I am very happy with my lifestyle now.

This was just four of many ways that minimalism has helped me live more. Minimalism changed my life drastically for the better, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Your Turn!

  • How has minimalism helped you live more?

 

Minimalism & Family: Minimizing with Kids

When the topic of minimalism comes up in my conversations, often times it’s followed by a comment that it would be so much harder to be a minimalist with kids. While minimizing with kids isn’t easy, it’s entirely possible, and maybe even more important that minimizing on your own. Here are some tips on minimizing when you have a family.

minimalism family

1. Have a Packing Party

A packing party is a fun way of saying to throw all of your stuff in boxes, and pull things out as you need them. This could work very well for kids, because they will have to ask for specific toys before you get them out of the box. After a couple of weeks, donate the toys still in boxes.

2. Explain the Importance of Donating

By telling a child what it means to donate, you are giving them the option to do something good. If you teach your children to share, why wouldn’t you teach them the importance of donating and charities? Teach the importance of giving and sharing to your children to help them learn that things and stuff aren’t the most important things.

3. Gain Inspiration

Read blogs by minimalists with families. They are out there. My favorite is Leo Babauta, a minimalist with six kids who lives in San Francisco. Other popular ones are Joshua Becker, Courtney Carver, and The Minimalist Mom. Minimalism is a personalized lifestyle, but seeing how other people do it has always been helpful to me in determining how I want to go about it.

minimalism with kids

4. No Gifts, Please

Most kids toys come into the house as gifts. By asking for something other than gifts (donations to a college fund would be a good start), you will be cutting down on clutter and giving a better gift in the long run. If you definitely want to get a toy as a gift, consider buying your child one or two toys from yourself – it’s much easier to get rid of things that you buy a year or two down the road versus things your family or friends buy.

5. Minimize the Available Space for Toys

By creating a smaller storage space for toys (for example, a chest versus an entire playroom), you will be able to cut down the amount of toys your child has. Less space for toys should equal less toys. Less toys means that cleanup and maintenance is so much more simple.

These are five simple tips to start minimizing in a family household. I’d love to hear in the comments below which ones you plan to try out!

Your turn!

  • What is your best tip for minimizing with kids?

Simple Living Survey

I’m looking for new ways to help the people who come to this site in their journey towards a simpler way of life.  As part of this I’ve put together a survey that I’d love your help with.  The survey will only take a few minutes and will be very helpful in shaping the future of the site.

If you’d be willing to take the survey I’d be grateful!

  • Use your mouse to drag and drop the items so most difficult/bothersome is at top, least at bottom
    • Email
    • To Do Lists
    • Decluttering
    • Managing Daily Tasks & Schedules
    • Setting Goals
    • Figuring Out What To Wear In The Morning
    • Making A Budget
    • Digital Clutter: Files, Photos, & Messy Desktops
    • Putting Down Your Phone /Social Media Break
    • Detatching From Consumer Culture

 

Five Reasons People Never Achieve Minimalism

Minimalism can have a tremendously positive impact on anyone’s life; it’s easy to see that living with less can create financial freedom, less stress, and more free time. But it’s not common to simply jump right in to minimalism. In fact, some people never even try. So why do some people never achieve minimalism?

1. They don’t know where to start

The most common reason I hear for not giving minimalism a try is that people just don’t know where to start. It can be daunting to look at a house full of stuff and wonder how you can get from point A (house full of clutter) to point B (organized, minimalist home). If you need help getting started, check out the post I did on how to start minimalist living today [insert link].

2. It’s too much work

Looking at that full storage unit, the overflowing closets, and the cluttered bedrooms may just be too overwhelming. It’s no secret that the decluttering process is time consuming, but taking it day by day can make the process less stressful and more productive. I started by decluttering one small area per day, and if I missed a day I just continued my list the following day. Giving yourself a generous time frame can definitely be helpful.

3. Their family doesn’t want to be minimalist

Living with a family is a great way to introduce the benefits of minimalism in from a first hand perspective. By showing your family how beneficial it is to live minimally, perhaps they will jump on the bandwagon sooner than you think. Even if they don’t come around to it, it is still possible to keep your space as minimal as you’d like, and reap the benefits of minimalism yourself.

4. They just like buying things

This was my personal excuse for a while. I loved taking trips to Target, picking up new clothes, accessories, and stationery, when all I really needed was laundry detergent. I didn’t need any of the other stuff I bought, and I usually didn’t keep it around for long, but I just liked going shopping and getting new things.

I later realized that I was buying things because I was lacking fun in my life. Buying things will make you temporarily feel good, but after a while that feeling goes away. Try having more fun in other ways instead! Spending more time outside helped me tremendously, and once going minimalist, I became an avid hiker.

 

5. They worry they’ll regret getting rid of something

When decluttering, you will have to make choices about what to keep and what to get rid of. I have gotten rid of things that I later regretted – but those were spur of the moment, sporadic decisions. 99.99% of the things I’ve thrown out, I could not be happier to have let go.

I like to think of letting go of things as giving them to someone who will love and cherish them more – and that makes me happy.

Minimalism has made such a positive impact on my life – in fact, it helped me go from living in debt in a packed one bedroom house, to traveling the world out of a backpack. I think that everyone can benefit from living with less.

Your Turn!

  • What is stopping you from trying minimalism?

 

 

 

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