Updated: Dec 9, 2019
I like to think I've always been a minimalist at heart. The rejection of excess not in a legalistic sense for the sake of less or being able to count your items, but in favor of abundance. For as long as I can remember I have thrived off decluttering, purging + organizing my room. I only wished I could have applied my minimalist magic throughout the rest of my childhood house. Not everyone appreciated my eagerness to simplify (aka: never, ever get rid of other people's belongings without their permission; this has been a continual learning opportunity for me, sorry babe! learn from me--read: how NOT to get your family on board with minimalism). Excess + clutter never sat well with me even at a young age. Learning to appreciate white space + defining how much is enough to live with gives me so much joy. I could talk about this all day long because it truly has changed my mindset, mentality + lifestyle. Before I bore you with too much minimalist talk, I wanted to share some of the ways minimalism has brought value + abundance to my life.
peace - picture this: a home brimming with too much stuff that doesn't have a home, stray toys, rarely played with, spilling over into the dining room where they don't belong, a stuffed closet full of unworn clothes that makes you dread getting dressed every morning, one too many junk drawers scattered throughout the house filled with who knows what, eyeshadow, blush, mascara from junior high. How does this make you feel? Stressed, anxious, irritated? In contrast, picture your ideal home: you walk into a space where there's a home for everything + everything in it's place (no I'm not saying strive for perfection, trust me, I'm the mama of a toddler + know this isn't realistic, but aiming to live with just enough is the goal), plenty of space on the sofa to cozy up with your favorite throw + book at the end of the day, organized drawers where things are put in their appropriate place making it quick + easy to find necessary items. Now how do you feel? Happy, content, at peace? I know we all live differently, but regardless of personality, temperament, interests, lifestyle, minimalism can function as a tool to achieve how you want to feel. After all your home + belongings are a reflection of what's happening on the inside.
time - believe it or not, when you only have what you need + are ruthless about not letting in the excess, you have extra time. I've said this before, but living small (1941, 1210 sq ft cape cod) enables me to constantly examine what's coming in + going out. We've adapted this minimalist lifestyle over the past 6 years so we're at a point where maintenance is a breeze. At the end of the day it takes me 7 minutes to reset the house (wipe down counters, clean up toys, sweep + vacuum). When you're not busy managing your stuff, you have the beauty of time.
togetherness - I love my little family so much. Because we've defined our values + minimalism translates to all aspects of our life including our schedules, we maximize our time together. This time with our littles is brief; to think we only have 18 summers with them living at home is crazy! As much as we love friends, we really treasure just us time. What this often looks like is leisurely weekends for short nature walks, family coffee dates at our favorite local spots, perusing the farmers market to gather local ingredients for a slow weekend meal, baking a new recipe just because it sounded yummy.
hobbies - I'm realizing all of these benefits coincide, but when you aren't bogged down by excess stuff physically, mentally + emotionally like saying yes to too many things, overcommitment, juggling an unrealistic amount of activities; you have time to enjoy + explore your passions, interests + things that actually matter to you.
joy of missing out - I used to struggle with serious #fomo. I would tell myself the story that "everyone else is hanging out together, doing cool things, taking amazing vacations, going places," and while this may be true, I allowed it to steal my joy. Ridiculous right?! In this fast-paced, instant gratification, ever socially connected world we live in, I know I'm not alone. Now I artfully practice #jomo because no one is going to live my life for me but myself.
intentionality - I enjoy shopping. (gasp) I know, isn't it crazy that I can be a minimalist and enjoy shopping? Contrary to what you may think, these two are not mutually exclusive. I do however ask questions like, "why do I want to purchase this item?" do I already own something similar to it?" "what's my motive + what am I trying to solve?" "does this company align with my values?" When you define your values everything else becomes clear because you have a lens to filter it through.
zero waste living - ok maybe not zero, but I can aspire. I wrote more about tangible ways to live a more zero waste life here. When you practice the minimalist lifestyle it reverberates into other areas of your life in unexpected ways. For us this looks like living lighter. Small wins for us mean downgrading our weekly trash bin, increased composting, forgoing plastic, using cloth whenever possible over disposable, even attempting to drive less + combine errands efficiently. Living lighter means stewarding the resources we've been given + taking care of this beautiful earth God's graciously provided.
Minimalism isn't only ever just about stuff. I hope this brought some clarity to a word that's overly used + oftentimes misrepresented. Allow it to be a tool in your life that ushers you into living your best life; a life filled with what matters.