Posts Tagged Minimalism

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?

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?


Minimalism Tips for Beginners

Minimalism has changed my life in so many positive ways. There are so many aspects of your life that can benefit from minimalism, I recommend getting started as soon as possible. These are four minimalism tips for those looking to live a more minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalism Tips

Declutter Instead of Organize

I used to be a big fan of organized. Having everything in it’s designated place made me so happy. Though I was relatively organized and tidy, I still had kitchen drawers overflowing with stuff and clothes that I never wore folded perfectly into my dresser. When I chose to declutter instead of continuous organizing, my drawers became emptier and easier to work with. Getting dressed in the morning was so much quicker when I didn’t have to sort through clothes I didn’t usually wear.

Question Everything You Bring In

I used to buy things on impulse much more often than I like to confess. It was a regular habit for me to pick up a new shirt or pair of cheap earrings when I’d go out for soap or paper towels at Target. But once I started questioning why I was buying something and if I really needed it, my impulse shopping slowed way down. When I started asking for how long I’d use it and how often I’d wear it, the impulse purchases stopped almost completely.

Want Versus Need

Minimalist TipsDetermining the difference between things you want (because it’s cute, you like it, or it looks good on you) versus what you actually need can make all the difference in living a minimalist lifestyle. Though you may need a dress for a special event, you don’t necessarily need a new one. Using what I have and being conscious with my decisions to purchase new items helped me keep my closet minimal and clean.


One in, One Out Rule

The one in, one out rule means that every time you purchase something and bring it in to your space, you must get rid of one thing. This helps keep clutter to a minimum, and is especially useful after you’ve done a few rounds of decluttering. This rule helps prevent me from replacing items that I already have, which haven’t seen their fair share of use. It also means that if you decide that you need a wardrobe overhaul, you can do that by replacing the same amount of items that you already have, guilt free. I do recommend buying clothing from thrift stores for budgeting and environmental reasons.

These four simple rules have helped me to maintain my minimalism and keep my closet clean, clear, and clutter-free. Minimalism not only helps me maintain a clear closet, but it helps me maintain a clear mind and simple, happy life.

Your Turn!

  • Do you use any of the tips I mentioned?
  • Which tip will you try first?