The Beginning of a Minimalist
Diane and her husband were in the basement of her father’s home and looked around at all the things stored away in boxes. It was then that she had the realization that you can spend your whole life working for things, that will end up being stored in boxes some day.
It was in that moment that she decided to join her husband’s inclinations towards living a life with less stuff.
The journey into minimalism looks different for each of us, Diane was an all or nothing buyer. Someone who loved fashion, loved having the latest trends, and buying the newest things. Identifying her “triggers” and staying away from the malls and other shopping centers was the easiest way for her to avoid impulse buying. If the stuff wasn’t right there in front of her, she was less likely to buy it.
With buying less, there is a monetary component. For Diane, it coincided with a season of life in which she was trying to save money. So minimalism, eating out less, and saving money was just a perfect fit together and made sense.
For her, it was an all or nothing mentality and she went headfirst into living a minimalistic lifestyle.
The Emotions of Minimalism & Buying
When you begin getting rid of stuff or start to analyze the reasons why you purchase items, it begins to bring to the surface so many underlying emotions.
We can get so wrapped up in “things” and they hold our attention so strongly. When you start to pair them down, you begin to realize the areas you are being held back and begin to idenfity areas of your life that are holding your attention….that maybe you don’t want to hold your attention.
Getting rid of all your stuff in one big sweep can be overwhelming or daunting. So doing it slowly can make it less overwhelming and allow you to work through the emotions.
We oftentimes experience fear with getting rid of things. It can stir up feelings of insecurity, worry, and so many other things. Getting rid of things can help bring to the surface many areas that we need to work through and release.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”
– William Morris
How to Clear Out the Stuff
You have to do what works for you, but following a method such as “does this spark joy” like Marie Kondo, or is this item useful and beautiful? If something isn’t useful or if you have multiples, it might be an item that you can eliminate.
You can always go to the store and get something if you truly need it, but often we’re led to believe we need more than we do.
When we operate from a minimalistic mindset, we begin to connect with others in our communities such as borrowing items from friends or utilizing buy nothing groups.
If you’re saving things for a specific reason, like textbooks, you have to embrace the reality of information is constantly changing, is it likely that you’ll need or use them again?
Handling Sentimental items
Photographs can be a difficult thing for people to begin pairing down. Keep the best images and toss the others.
Sentimentality is an emotion but it’s sometimes not rational. The memory is what we hold so near and dear, the item itself what is so special.
Tips to get rid of sentimental items
- Only allow yourself a certain amount of space for sentimental storage
- Go back through it on a regular basis to make sure it’s still as sentimental as it once was
- Choose your best and favorite items and use them on a regular basis
Everything we have in our house has an emotional connection. But once we begin to let go of items, we often don’t even notice they are now gone.
Sentimental stuff tends to be what clutters most houses. Take a survey of your space and identify items that may be creating clutter that you could preserve the memory in another way.
Marketing in the Digital Age
We are so inundated with messages that are attempting to sell us on the latest and greatest things. We walk into a store and 2 weeks later walk in and an entirely new line of products awaits us. Marketers are thriving on our compulsion to buy.
Influencers on social media’s whole job is to show you the things that you “need” and to sell you on why you need the latest and greatest thing.
Don’t allow yourself to be overcome by the messages. Give yourself a waiting period that you wait out a purchase to determine if it’s something you really desire or if it’s just an impulse buy. For some that might be a 2 week period, while others it might be a month
Unexpected Benefits of Minimalism
The space in your home begins to create mental space that allows you to focus on other things. We often don’t realize how much we’re being weighed down mentally by the clutter that’s surrounding us in our physical environments.
Don’t forget to grab access to my 5 Steps to Break Free from Clutter here.
Minimalism Will Look Different For You
Minimalism isn’t going to look the same for everyone. What we choose to eliminate or store, is going to be different. For some, a white walled house with nothing in it will feel like minimalism and for others, it’s simply choosing to let go of the impulse purchasing.
Overall, it’s all about an intentional decrease, which will look different for each of us. Embrace your own type of minimalism.
“I’m a mother of two (three in September) living in Columbus, Ohio. At this point, my main job title is: mom; however, I do work a couple of days each week at a local wine bar. I also have a photography side hustle. It’s somewhat more of a hobby that slowly turned into a business. As for what I enjoy: coffee dates, being outside, reading, podcasts, simplicity! I have a passion for encouraging others to ‘think more and to live with less’ as they pursue minimalism that fits their lifestyle.”