While the concept of minimalism has been around for some time, there is not one universal definition of what living a minimalist lifestyle means. Yet this idea that minimalism can be something different to each of us is what continues to draw me to it the most. As I continue my journey to applying minimalism to all areas of my life, I look forward to being able to define it in a way that is both unique and personal to me.
Minimalism in a Nutshell
Though the expression of a minimalist life varies for each of us, the end goal — which is to reach a place of true freedom — is the same. When I say ‘true freedom’, I mean freedom from the attachment to things, like possessions and relationships and even freedom from unfavorable thoughts, like those of inadequacy or fear or guilt. Those of us practicing minimalist lifestyles understand that living with less allows us to get closer to a place where we are no longer tied to so many of these heavy and burdensome ‘things’. And as we get closer to that place, it then becomes easier to assess what we actually want and need, allowing us to direct our time, energy (and money) solely to those areas.
A Minimalist at Heart
I have been, somewhat unknowingly, pushing my ‘live with less’ philosophy onto those around me for quite some time. My instinct to constantly purge has manifested itself in various ways, and has earned me the labels of ‘the neat freak’ or ‘the organized one’ over the years. It has also earned me the reputation of being the one who (allegedly) visits others’ homes, volunteers to help tidy up or organize, and — by the end of it all — has packed up just about everything they owned into bags, either for charity or for trash. To this day, my parents refuse to let me touch anything when I come over. I admit it. I have an aversion toward excess that can sometimes make me go overboard.
Taking The First Steps
We all want to own, do, and experience the possessions that we consider to be valuable or attractive. But how do we accomplish that while still achieving the benefits that minimalism brings? I don’t know that I have the answer, though I’m much closer to it than I’ve ever been. What I do know is that starting on that road toward a fully minimalistic lifestyle starts with a few small steps. For me, it started with my closet. In three rather simple steps, I successfully relieved myself of the weight that ‘things’ bring. Here’s what I did.
- First, I pulled out anything in my closet that no longer represented who I am today. For me, it was anything with peplum, neon, or heels over four inches.
- Then, I pulled out anything that had ‘potential’. These are all of the things that have stayed in my closet for months, or even years. Those items that we tell ourselves could maybe, possibly work one day, when we magically become 5 inches taller, 20 pounds lighter, and 10 years younger. Instead, I choose to use that space for the items that work for me right now.
- Lastly, I pulled out anything that I knew would make someone else much happier than it made me. Giving it to that person or people felt much better than keeping it for myself, as just another piece in my collection of stuff.
Once I gathered all of these possessions, I made sure to quickly remove them from my space, whether it meant giving it away, throwing it out, or dropping it off for charity.
In future posts, my intention is to share the ways that I am incorporating minimalism into all areas of my life. Until then, check out some of my favorite minimalist blogs: Zen Habits, Well / Aware, and Into Mind.