I kept putting this blog off, saying I would write about my current experiences and thoughts on minimalism when I was more knowledgeable about the topic. Then I figured what the hell, I’ll just bring you guys along on this journey with me, even if I am still in the beginning stages. Maybe some of you can even give me some insight on the topic after you keep reading…
What is Minimalism?
The main idea of minimalism (in my opinion) is being happy with the items that serve a purpose in our lives and bring value. Not feeling like you need materialistic things in order to be content. Let’s face it, materialistic things are just that…things. Stuff.
In today’s society we put so much emphasis on “retail therapy”. When we are upset, we shop. When we are feeling empty, we shop. When we feel a void in our lives that has to be filled, we shop. More often than not we buy things thinking it will make us feel good, feel important. Only to realize that shortly after, we easily feel empty and unsatisfied yet again. And so the cycle continues.
Minimalism is about appreciating the things that you own that serve a purpose. That purpose may be an actual need (hygienic items for instance), or maybe something that holds value to you and brings you peace (everyday when I walk through my apartment and see my mason jars full of flowers it puts a huge smile on my face…I don’t necessarily need them in my life, but they add value).
Why I’m Exploring and Choosing a Minimalistic Lifestyle
I’m guilty of putting my happiness on things. Buying new clothes, workout gear, home decor, electronics and gadgets. I become satisfied in the moment, and then realize not too long after I need to fill that emptiness yet again. Money wasted on items that either sit in my closet never worn or the back of my kitchen cabinets (I hoard coffee mugs like it’s nobody’s business). Not to mention in my family we are neat freaks. We like everything to have it’s order, so having a constant build up of unused items in our house makes both my husband and myself anxious. What to do about it then?
To be honest I didn’t go looking for ways to become a minimalist. My husband and I came across other articles on the topic when we first started our blog. The idea of minimalism caught my attention. Soon enough I started doing more research and read endless articles on the topic. It wasn’t until after I watched the documentary Minimalism that it all truly began to make sense (checkout the trailer below). Something in me just clicked. I need to make my own happiness. I need to find a way to be content with my life and my experiences. No new shirt, pair of sneakers or the latest iPhone will help me feel complete.
Obviously the first thing anyone would do on the road to minimalism is declutter. I went through every article of clothing I owned. If I hadn’t worn it in over a year, I gave it away. If something was uncomfortable, out it went. Even my favorite items, if they had a hole or were extremely worn out, I got rid of them.
Next was my sneaker collection. I had about 12 pairs of sneakers, yet I only wear 2-3 pairs on a weekly basis (and this is only because I live at the gym, otherwise I would only realistically need 1 pair). Why? Why do I clutter my life with items I never intend on using?
Fortunately for me I have a lot of cabinet storage in my kitchen. That is also very unfortunate for me because it’s just more space for me to save items that are completely useless. Although, maybe I went a little over board with the kitchen items. When my husband came home from work one day and I was 2 seconds away from tossing our microwave, he made me realize we can transition at a gradual pace. I admit when I become passionate about something I get a little dramatic.
So I decluttered, and I felt exhilarated for a bit. Until I went scrolling through Instagram and saw an ad for these workout pants I just had to have because the model looked so good in them. I excitedly whipped out my credit card ready to make the purchase. I stopped myself and finally realized the biggest change I needed to make, my mindset. Every where I turn there are advertisements, posts and commercials trying to convince me I need to constantly spend money in order to live the “American dream” and seem important. So really, I could clean out my closets all I want, but nothing will change if I’m not making daily choices to keep the clutter out and stop purchasing stuff I don’t need (or even really want for more than a week before it’s thrown in the “I’ll use this at a later time” pile).
I’ve become conscious of what I spend my money on. I’ll ask myself over and over before making a purchase, do I really NEED this, or am I just being frivolous all over again? I’m living with intention and this is something I’ve never done before. Intention. It’s my new favorite word. Doing anything with specific intentions makes a huge difference.
I’ve realized these changes I’m making in my life won’t happen over night and I need to be a little more patient. I am happy though, that this type of lifestyle is helping me to find more joy in my family and experiences. I don’t allow myself to make impulse purchases anymore and I’ve also learned to appreciate the things I already have. With every day that passes, my desire to randomly clutter my life with more “stuff” slowly goes away. I’m happy and satisfied, a lot more than I use to be.
I hope this blog helps you realize what is really important in life. Often times we love our things and use people. Really, it should be the other way around.