Posts Tagged simple living

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?

 

 

 

What is Minimalist Living?

Minimalist living is an all inclusive lifestyle – having a minimal, clutter-free environment is a large part of it, but it’s so much more than that. The minimalist lifestyle includes looking at the way you spend your time, your money, and even the way you think.

minimalism nature quality time

1. Owning less stuff is a large part of it…

Keeping your environment as minimal as possible will ensure a less cluttered mind. I’ve noticed that I tend to focus better in a clean space, with just a few necessary items. Even when I’m not working, I feel more calm in a minimalist environment. When I am in a cluttered or crowded environment, I tend to feel anxious and unproductive. When you don’t have a lot of clutter, your mind is freed up for other, more important things to think about.

2. …But minimalist living doesn’t just apply to your house

minimalist homeI’ve started taking a more minimal approach to the way I structure the desktop on my computer, to the way I plan my days and even the foods that I eat. With less clutter on my desktop, I can look at my computer and focus on what I need to do, instead of getting distracted by photos and documents that are scattered around. With a more simple diet, my body functions at a more optimum level, and I have to think less about what I’m going to eat that day. Life becomes more simple, easier, and much more intentional.

3. Mindfulness and minimalism

Minimalist living can have a wonderful effect on the mind. When you are living a less cluttered life, you will have much more focus and intentionality in everything you do. Instead of seeing clutter and thinking about how you need to clean it up, you’ll have a clean environment, a clear head, and the ability to focus more clearly. Instead of living reactively, you’ll have the opportunity to think about what you want to do, and focus completely on that.

4. Freedom

Minimalist living has given me something that I will be forever grateful for: freedom. Through living simply, I’ve been able to create a life in which I feel completely free. I’m free to spend my time how I’d like, I’m free to pursue passions that I want to explore, I’m free to go to a cafe in the middle of the day on a Tuesday.

Before I took the journey to minimalism, I was working in a 9-5 job. I was making a salary, but I still was required to be there from 9-5 PM, whether I had already finished my work for the day or not. It started to feel like I wasn’t in control of my life anymore. I was looking for meaning in a career, but I found meaning in minimalism and pursuing my passions.

minimalism time

5. Quality Relationships

Minimalism has led me to create even stronger friendships and relationships than I had before. Because I spend my time in a more intentional way, I am able to connect with people on a deeper level. Instead of just “hanging out,” I now only spend time with people who inspire and motivate me, which brings great value to my life.

Minimalist living has changed my life and helped me accomplish so many goals. I’m now focused on actually living instead of just keeping up with the Jones’. To learn more about minimalism, see my post on what defines a minimalist (link to post when published).

Your Turn!

  • What does simple living mean to you?

 

Setting Goals As A Minimalist

Setting a few simple goals throughout the year and working toward them can create some amazing life changes and give you a more pleasurable daily routine.  However, my approach to goal setting has changed over time. I used to love sitting down with my calendar and colorful pens and stickers, planning out my month and week and days, making my life look beautiful and glamorous.

goals as a minimalist

Now I keep it simple and from a minimalist approach.  Here are my favorite tips for:

1. Give yourself enough time

One of my worst traits is that I can be extremely impatient. Because of my impatience, I tend to give myself nowhere near enough time to accomplish my goals. By thinking out a proper amount of time to accomplish a goal (for example, give yourself a couple of weeks to declutter the kitchen, instead of a couple of weeks to declutter the whole house), you’ll ensure that you don’t feel overly stressed or worried about your goal.

Your goal should bring you happiness and excitement, not stress! I did two to three sweeps of decluttering over six months. That worked well for me, but I was also a single person living in a one bedroom apartment with someone else, and the other person owned a lot of the stuff in our place, so not a lot of it was mine. It was still helpful to give myself time. Minimalism is a journey which can turn into a lifestyle. Enjoy the journey.

2. Set goals that are complimentary to your lifestyle

Another mistake that I very often make is looking at someone else’s life and thinking that if I want to achieve what they have, I should just do what they do. If I follow the same journey that they took, I should end up at the same spot, right? Wrong.

Your journey is unique to you, and your lifestyle will have different needs than anyone else’s. For example, I really enjoy scrubbing my face. It sounds weird, but call it a guilty pleasure. I love using my Clarisonic. Most minimalists do not own a Clarisonic, but it is something that I have been obsessed with for years. I carry it around the world with me, so that when I have a bad day, I can go home and scrub my face. It’s a necessity to me to have my Clarisonic, where most people I know would definitely not carry a Clarisonic around the world.

If you love something, don’t let it go for minimalism. I believe that the most common misconception about minimalism is that you need to get rid of all of your stuff, when in reality that is not true. Minimalism is about getting rid of stuff that doesn’t serve you anymore. Keep the things that are valuable to you and get rid of the things that aren’t.

3. Have a “Why”

Why is it that people always intend to start a new diet on Monday but never do? It’s because they know that along with that diet comes restriction and discontent. And that sounds terrible. Understanding WHY you are doing something can be the key to long term motivation. Many people hold back on the minimalist journey because they consider minimalism as lacking. You don’t have enough stuff, you can’t spend money, why would you want to do that?

Once you take a hard look at WHY you want to do something, you’ll realize the benefits you’ll gain. A minimalist lifestyle has less stuff because you don’t have unnecessary, stressful clutter. A minimalist lifestyle needs less money because you are spending your time focusing on your passions instead of material possessions.

Focus on the downsides of not achieving your goals as well. This can help clarify why you are making the goal, and also give you motivation to keep working toward your ultimate goal.

photo credit

4. Focus on the Process

My favorite part of living minimally is my new attention to everyday moments. The journey to your goal is the most fun part – make sure to enjoy it and savor the feeling of working toward something. Focusing on the journey, even more than the outcome, can ensure that your daily life is enjoyable and less stressful.

Your Turn!

  • Are you a goal setter?
  • What are your current goals?

 

 

Why Minimalism Isn’t For Everyone

Becoming a minimalist can be beneficial for some, but is it right for everyone? I became a minimalist about two years ago, and in that time, I’ve discovered a few reasons why minimalism might not be for everyone.

1.It’s hard

Going through the decluttering process, changing the way you spend money, and choosing new hobbies that don’t involve excessive amounts of money are all situations that will not be easy to implement. The decluttering process alone took me about a year, as I did it slowly and intentionally. Finding things to do with all of my new free time really forced me to think about what I actually want out of life.

2. It will force you to grow

Once I went minimalist and started finding loads of free time, I had to figure out what to do with that time. I started reigniting passions that I’d pushed aside long ago, becoming a better photographer, writer, friend, and person. I learned about traveling on a budget, and I quit my dead end job to pursue my dreams of traveling the world.

I read more and I started learning how to make videos. I focused more time on my health and relationships and learned how to ease my anxiety. I learned how to cook. I started making my own beauty products. I learned more about how consumerism impacts our environment and took steps to create less waste in the world. If I’d continued my consumer-focused lifestyle, I probably would not have learned about any of these topics.

 

3. It might change your relationships

The simple process of decluttering my one bedroom house (which I lived in with my boyfriend) forced to me acknowledge the hoarding tendencies of my partner. It also forced me to acknowledge that the status of our relationship was less than ideal. We had been together for four years, and in that time we grew more apart than together.

Minimalism made me look at my relationships and really implement a bird’s eye view of how I was spending my time, and with whom. I started spending more time with people who were positive, people who were interested in a non-consumer based lifestyle, and people who inspired and motivated me to continue on my journey of growth.

4. It will reveal your priorities

Priorities are shown through action. When you are choosing how to spend your time intentionally, versus spending your time by doing what you feel you should be doing, you are revealing your true priorities in life. After going minimalist, I made sure that the time I was spending with others was quality time.

I no longer spent time just hanging out at my parents house – now I go there, talk with everyone, and catch up properly. This way I still have time to focus on my other priorities like photography, writing, cooking, and self development.

Minimalism can change your life in such a deep and real way. Maybe minimalism isn’t for everyone, but for some, it can be a truly life changing shift.

 

Your Turn!

  • Are you a minimalist?
  • What was the hardest part about becoming a minimalist?

 

 

Ten Ways to Start Minimalist Living Today

A minimalist lifestyle is an enviable one; it can give you more time, energy, and money in the bank. Living minimally can give you time to focus on your hobbies, relationships, and health, while cutting back on most of those dreaded household chores like excessive laundry or cleaning.

When I first went minimalist, I was shocked at how much free time I was able to reclaim. I had so much more time on weekends; I was able to really explore the area that I live in, try new hiking trails, learn to cook, and even plan a trip around the world. Minimalist living can truly open your eyes to what you care about and give you time to focus on your passions. Minimalist Home Office

If you are interested in trying out a more minimalist lifestyle, consider implementing some of these tips:

1. Get rid of the junk. 

Get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you happiness.  Decluttering is the first step in obtaining a truly minimalist lifestyle. Decluttering is a process and can take time; just try to do a little bit each day. Clothes that don’t fit, anything broken, anything you have multiples of – chuck them to the side for donating. When I started decluttering, I was shocked at how many clothes I had kept that just didn’t fit right. It felt so good to donate them to someone who could actually use them.

2. Ask yourself if you really need it. 

Impulse shopping used to be my weakness. I’d go to Target for laundry detergent and walk out $100 later with new clothes, lotions, and stationary. When I chose to take a more minimalist approach, I would go in and tell myself that I am only buying laundry detergent. If I left Target with only the things I needed, I’d give myself a little pat on the back.

Minimalist desk notebook

3. Become a handyman (or woman). 

One perk of minimalist living is learning to reuse things. Learning to repair or fix things will not only help you live more minimally, it will also help keep your bank account high and lessen your carbon footprint. Also, you’ll feel like a boss after repairing something for the first time.

4. Know you don’t have to get rid of everything. 

Often, minimalism is misconstrued as meaning that you can’t have things that you love. Quite the opposite! The point of minimalism is to focus on things that you love and get rid of the other stuff. If you are an avid reader and book collector, keep those books! But if you have tons of clothes that you never wear cluttering your closet, maybe look into donating those. Minimalism can enhance your life so much for the better, just keep in mind that you don’t have to get rid of all of your stuff. A minimalist home can mean something different to everyone.

5. Take a look at your calendar. 

How do you spend your time? minimalist houseIs your calendar full of things that you don’t want to do? A minimalist lifestyle includes being conscious of the way you spend your time. Think about what kinds of activities you get the most value from, and get rid of the ones that don’t bring you joy. I like making sure to have one day a week that is purely mine – to go for long hikes, spend time coloring or taking pictures, or even just binging on Netflix.

 

6. Invest in high quality when you do buy something. 

Buying a really nice t-shirt that is made out of the best fabric, fits you perfectly, and will hold its shape and color for years will bring you so much more happiness than buying a cheap t-shirt made from low quality material that may not fit you well. One of the best parts about minimalism is that now that you have less, you can get the best.

7. Simplify your meals. 

Learn to cook at home. Make a few simple meals that you love. Cooking at home and having a few recipes on standby will drastically reduce your grocery bill and make meal times so much simpler. I’ve started cooking simple curries that are not only delicious, but they are super cheap to make and hold really well for leftovers.

8. Open a savings account (if you don’t already have one). 

Now that you’re living like a minimalist, you’ll be able to contribute regularly to your savings, because you’ll be saving so much money. Create a goal for an emergency fund to work toward. When I started my minimalist journey, I would create small and large financial goals. The first $1000 warranted a celebration, but the first $10k gave me the most incredible feeling.

9. Look at your relationship with stuff. 

Are you putting emotional value into things? Do you keep old shirts because of memories associated with them, even if you never actually wear the shirt? You can keep those memories without keeping the physical item. For some, taking a picture of the item before releasing it can help. Instead of keeping that ratty t-shirt from a concert you went to five years ago (that you never wear), consider creating an online photo album of pictures from that day to keep the memory alive.

10. Practice gratitude. 

travel to pragueTell yourself that you are enough, that you have enough. You have everything you need. Share what you don’t need with those who do. It may sound a bit corny, but I would tell myself on my way to Target to buy soap; “I have everything I need, I don’t need anything other than soap.” It’s a bit funny to look back on, but when you shop with a simple and straightforward mindset, you are so much less likely to purchase things on impulse.

 

I hope you enjoyed my ten tips to start minimalist living. I can’t wait to hear which ones you want to try first! 

 

Your Turn!

  • Which tip are you going to try first?
  • Which tip do you think will be the hardest?