Becoming a Minimalist – Why You Should Be One
The idea of becoming a minimalist interests me greatly. The thought behind it is essentially “the less you own, the less that owns you”, or in other words, reducing the amount of things that you need, and being able to live happily with less.
De-cluttering the spaces around you is suggested as one of the first steps to becoming a minimalist. Which, while this is important, doesn’t seem like the hard part. I think the hard part is changing the way your brain operates so that you aren’t continually wanting new things.
So in an effort to figure out how to go about this and incorporate it more into my own life, I have searched for some advice which might be as helpful to you as it is to me!
As I mentioned above, one of the first steps in starting down the minimalism journey is to clear out spaces around you. This includes your closet, your work space, your bathroom and kitchen. Any space where you feel cluttered, and where there are items that you do not need or do not use. If items are still good quality then donating them is a great option.
One thing that I have found to be extremely helpful when it comes to weeding out my closet, is doing a 2-day de-clutter.
I find that when I am going through my closet, there are always some items where I immediately think “I need that”, or “I will wear that again”, but in reality I won’t. And usually it takes me the night to sleep on it to realize this.
So what I suggest, is going through your closet as you normally would on day 1, then that night think back to some of the items that you thought you wanted to keep. Are they justified? Will you actually wear them again? Are you just keeping them because they are good quality? It is okay to get rid of things that are good quality because someone else might give them the love they deserve.
This is a little trick that has changed the way I go through my closet, and I think it could help you as well!
I suppose you could apply this to other items like shoes, but I find we hold onto clothing for no reason and that sleeping on the decision to get rid of them definitely helps the process!
Another aspect about minimalism that I feel others may have a hard time with is reducing the amount of time spent online. Being online all day increases our chances of being bombarded with ads, or examples of people whose lifestyle we want to have – thus furthering our mindset for “keeping up with the Joneses”. We spend so much time on email, or social media that time just slips away and before we know it we have wasted more time than anticipated.
This gets to my next point. Along with de-cluttering your physical spaces, you should try to de-clutter your email. That means going through your email and unsubscribing from emails that are not useful to you – such as ads. De-cluttering your email can also mean deleting old emails that are no longer relevant. If you want to take it one step further, you can also organize your email by setting up and automatic organization structure. This could mean having a school folder and a promotion folder (for ads). Having a system in place that filters your emails will make it much quicker when you want to go through and delete some.
Now that you have more time, because you aren’t on social media or the internet as much, you can pick a new hobby! Something that is relaxing would be good choice. Whether that be going for walks, doing some artwork, writing in a journal. Something that allows you to be reflective.
One thing that I think about “becoming a minimalist” is that it doesn’t seem to be a one-time action. What I mean is that, I don’t think you just clean out your closet once and become a minimalist. Rather, I think it is a series of repeated actions, which will eventually change your habits and your way of thinking, and let you lead a happier life.
Read more in my post on the pursuit of happiness!
As I mentioned above that I think the connection between our brains and wanting to have the newest stuff is strong, and I think it will take quite a bit of work to change the way we think (unless we have a predisposition to not care what other people think – I wish).
I am going to try to incorporate as many minimalist actions as I can into my own life. I already have my email sorting automatically, and I routinely go through it and unsubscribe from emails that aren’t bringing value to my life. Creating a simpler life is something that I feel is valuable, and will allow me to carve out time for the things that I really want to do. Maybe you can incorporate these ideas into your life as well!