I’m not gonna lie. When I first heard about minimalism I pictured almost-empty and all-white homes, neutral wardrobes, and people sitting on the floor in a circle singing “Kumbaya”. So, when I heard about people who live minimally, it sounded a little out there, weird, and well…boring.
I thought that minimalism was great for other people, but not for me. After all, I was organized. I knew what my priorities were. I should be able to handle it all.
It wasn’t until after spending years going through cycles of stress, anxiety, and unhappiness that I finally realized what my problem really was all along:
Learning about Contentment
I wasn’t content with what I had, and I wasn’t honest about how much I could handle.
And really, I thought I was content before that. I understood that I already had more than I needed. I knew that I was blessed with a family, friends, a house, and all that fills it like a car, clothes on my back, and good food to eat.
But, I didn’t live like I was content. I was always accumulating more…always seeking out the next best thing. I was always looking for something to make the current state of my life easier and was blaming anything and everyone else for my problems.
The truth was (and I could finally see it!) that I had more on my plate than I could handle. I honestly couldn’t handle the amount of stuff in my home, cleaning and yard work to be done, all the things on my calendar and to-do list…
Well, it was too late to do anything about that last one, so something else had to give!
I had to be honest with myself, and I had to stop comparing how much I have and do with those around me. They aren’t the ones who have to live my life, after all.
This was my life, and I wasn’t even enjoying it! Sure, there were times of joy, fun, and laughter. But those times never seemed as frequent as all the times I was just plain overwhelmed.
My hope for you is that you will begin to see where you may have taken on too much. I want your life to be completely changed so that you are living the life meant for YOU again, not the life of your best friend’s sister.
Let me show you what it means to live minimally and why it just might be the solution to your frustrations.
You CAN live minimally without giving up what you love. In fact, it’s the ticket to the life you’ve always wanted.
What does it mean to live minimally?
So, first things first. What does it actually mean to live minimally? Here’s what the word “minimal” actually means: “of a minimum amount, quantity, or degree; negligible.”
If we use this definition and apply it to minimal living, we are left feeling like it’s about deprivation. It seems like there isn’t a whole lot of anything left in our lives once we choose to live minimally.
But the truth is, the “minimal” part only really applies to the excess or necessary evils of this world.
We all need to have furniture, but we can keep them to a minimum so they don’t add unnecessary clutter and stress. We all need to have clothes, but we keep the amount to a minimum so we are left with only clothing we love and actually wear.
And we all have things on our calendar. We have a job we must go to, friends and family to keep in contact with, and activities that are important to us. But, we keep the things on our calendar that we don’t love to a minimum.
Does that make sense? So, we really just try to minimize our things and obligations, but we don’t have to minimize everything.
The point of living minimally is that it allows us to have more and do more of what we love.
When you live minimally, you give your priorities the majority of your time, space, money, and energy.
How do I enjoy a life of less?
You might be wondering if you will truly be happy after you give up so much. After your home is decluttered and your schedule is less busy, is all that is left enough? Will your home feel empty and lonely? Will you not know what to do with yourself?
The answer is a definite no…as long as you know your priorities. When you declutter your life, all that is left should bring you so much joy. And not only that, you will feel a sense of peace, calm, and freedom you never knew possible!
Suddenly, life isn’t so overwhelming. You don’t see more to do at every turn. You don’t feel like you are barely keeping up. Life is enjoyable again because it is finally yours!
Because, let’s be honest, up until now your life has been controlled by the things you own and the stuff on your calendar. You have very little control of your life because you have let everything and everyone else take over.
Maybe you are working a job you hate just so you can support your lifestyle. Or maybe you don’t pursue a hobby or spend time with the people you love because you just don’t have the time.
We ALL sacrifice something when we choose to live with excess. We give up our freedom, time, joy, space, money, and even our mental capacity.
How do I live minimally without giving up what I love?
Here we go. Let’s get to the good part and talk about how you can just stop. Stop sacrificing what you love, stop taking on too much, and stop wishing your life was different. Make it different.
1. Start by evaluating your life.
What is working and what isn’t?
What is causing you to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and unhappy? Which of these things do you have any control over?
And what do you love about your life right now? What do you wish you had more time, money, space or energy for? What’s missing from your life?
2. Identify the excess.
Now that you know what you love about your life and what is causing you stress, decide what needs to go.
Of the things that are causing you stress and overwhelm, which can you minimize, and which can you eliminate all together?
If you can’t minimize or eliminate the excess right now, what steps can you begin to take to get yourself to the place where you can?
3. List your priorities.
You have already identified the excess in your life that needs to go, so now you can decide what you want to replace it with.
What do you want out of life? Who do you want in it? What do you want to do?
Make a list of your priorities, even if you aren’t currently making them a priority.
4. Decide on a plan.
Take your list of excess and your list of priorities and make a plan. You need to have a plan for two things that really go hand-in-hand:
(1) How are you going to minimize or eliminate the extra stuff that doesn’t bring you joy?
(2) How are you going to ensure that your priorities are getting the majority of you?
I suggest that you begin with whatever is stealing the most of your joy and minimize the heck out of that. Focus on minimizing one thing at a time.
And more than that, keep your mind on your priorities! Remember that it’s okay to sacrifice unimportant things for the things and people who mean the most to you.
Look for ways every day that you can choose your priorities. Make it a habit to put your priorities first, and learn to be okay with letting go of the rest. Keep your eyes on the prize: a life you love!
You CAN live minimally and still have and do what you love! In fact, living minimally is precisely what will allow you to have more and do more of what you love and live the life you have always wanted.