As I find myself on my debt repayment and frugal lifestyle journey I notice that I’m leaning more and more toward embracing minimalism. In a nutshell, I’m buying less, working more, and looking for more free time and ways to gain back time and energy overall.
When I first heard of minimalism, I actually thought it was just a fad and I really dislike jumping on the bandwagon and doing things that other people are doing without my own reasoning behind it, so I avoided minimalism and anything to do with it.
Plus, I didn’t want to get rid of my stuff. I needed my clothes, kitchen supplies, jewelry, books etc. I didn’t get how some people could simply have a bed, a lamp, and a few pieces of clothing in their room. It sounded so basic.
Then I started noticing how much stuff I had in my quaint two-bedroom apartment and began a decluttering mission. That was last year, and I can honestly say that today, I’m over it. I’m tired of cleaning, organizing, and decluttering. The things that I’ve managed to throw away I don’t miss and it actually makes me feel better.
Why Embrace Minimalism?
There are quite a few reasons why I decided to embrace minimalism. For starters, minimalism is not just some new fad. The term has been around since the 1950s and actually was initially related to an artistic movement.
Today, minimalism is based on intentionality. It’s basically the practice and promotion of maintaining things we value most and removing everything that distracts us from our values. Physical and emotional clutter is real, and I can fully understand and support what minimalism stands for without calling myself an actual ‘minimalist’.
Embracing minimalism helps me save money by practicing intentional value-based spending and avoiding other purchases. It also helps free up more of my money since I am no longer looking to buy something new when I get paid and this relieves a bit of pressure to earn so much money.
Wondering if you should embrace minimalism but don’t know where to start? My family had a lot of ‘stuff’ and we are still purging lots of things. Here are 5 ways to embrace minimalism when you own a lot of stuff to begin with.
1. Start Getting Rid of Stuff You Don’t Want
Obvious one right. You must start somewhere so choose a section of your house and start going through items and questioning whether you truly need them or not. Does a particular item have less worth to you now? Do you still feel the same way the day that you bought it? Have you actually forgotten you had something in your home?
That last one happens to me all the time. I actually believe your surroundings can numb you and allow you to start to look past clutter after you get comfortable with it being there.
Right now I’m sitting on the couch facing our patio and I see my husband’s broken bike sitting on the porch. He hasn’t ridden it in over a year and I doubt he’ll use it this summer. I’ve gotten so used to seeing it on the porch though all year-round so it feels natural for me to overlook it but now since I’m in a decluttering and minimalist mode, I realize how it’s adding absolutely know value to anyone and I’m going to ask him if he’d like to get rid of it if he has no intentions of getting it fixed.
Once you gather up a round of items you want to get rid of, hold a garage sale, sell them online, or just donate them as a last resort.
2. Stop Hoarding
Hoarding is another issue I had. It wasn’t that noticeable either because I like to keep a clean and organized house, so at first glance, no one would ever know that I held onto useless binders from college, old clothes I hadn’t worn in years, and other items people got me that I never really used.
I was good at masking my clutter by putting things in storage or storing it neatly on shelves in our closets. Hoarding is a really bad habit that can get out of control if you allow it to build up.
While you may find yourself emotionally attached to some of your items like I was, continue to let go and be okay with the fact that you anticipated you’d need to use something but that hasn’t been the case.
It’s okay to be wrong about something’s value and it’s okay to throw things away as well.
3. Start Spending Intentionally
If you’re like me and you like to buy things that are on sale (perhaps simply because it’s affordable) ask yourself if you would buy it if it cost twice as much as the price it’s currently listed at. If the answer is no, it’s probably not that valuable to you and you probably don’t truly need it.
4. Go Digital
Embrace the digital world by going paperless with some aspects of your life. Paperless banking and bill pay is something you should try if you hate paper clutter or feel overwhelmed by it. You can even read books digitally these days. In my household, we also use streaming services like Netflix to play movies online so we don’t have to buy the actual DVD.
Also, one of the main reasons why I use Facebook is to post images and pictures of my son and my family so I don’t have to store a bunch of photo albums at my home. We print only a few pictures to keep and I have an entire scrapbook of his first year at home, but sometimes I just post images and albums online privately so only I can see them, just so I can store some memories to show him when he gets older.
With digital storage, you also need to worry about digital clutter. Just like at your home, don’t fill your computer or device with lots of ‘things’ you don’t really need or value. Try to keep your desktop clean and delete files you no longer need and organize the ones you do need in folders and backup your storage.
5. Enjoy the Benefits of Minimalism
Once you’ve done all these things, the fun part is getting to enjoy the benefits of minimalism. Like I said, having to clean and organize less and not feeling pressured to spend as much money are truly great rewards of this lifestyle.
Embracing minimalism means you no longer have to feel trapped and overwhelmed by your things. Physical and digital clutter don’t have to cloud your values anymore and you can live more intentionally.
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