Benefits of Minimalism
The concept of minimalism has become more increasingly popular. Some have given up large homes in favor of smaller spaces, some have focused on reducing paper clutter, some a reduction in wardrobe size, some less toys for their kids, and some simply a reduction of "stuff" they allow to enter their home. Having less has an appeal to many who are overwhelmed by the weight of their material belongings. There are many benefits to making a conscious decision to cut back in our culture which tends towards over-consumption. Here are a few benefits to consider:
1. Having less means less things to manage! Taking care of your items can be time consuming. A good rule of thumb is, if it doesn't bring you joy or add value to your life, what good is it letting it stick around?
2. Owning less can mean valuing what you do have more. You can truly appreciate what you do have when it doesn't get lost in the mix of things that are less important to you.
3. If you have a smaller space vs a larger home, your family can benefit from more time being in closer proximity to each other. That may take some getting used to, but there can be a sense of feeling more connected in a smaller space.
4. You may have a realization that you "need" much less than you thought you did! Our culture can promote the idea that you need more stuff to feel better about yourself and your life. You will have the chance to prove that this is not true, connect more deeply with your spirituality, and have more insight into what truly matters.
5. Save money! When you buy less, and own less, you have more money to save, pay bills, travel, etc.
6. When you have less, you will also have less decisions to make! Less stuff to pick from can reduce "analysis paralysis." You won't get caught up for too long in picking what to wear, what to eat, what to clean, etc!
Not sure where to start? Here are a few things to consider.
1. The OHIO rule: Only Handle It Once. This is helpful with paper clutter, as you aren't passing your papers from one pile to another pile. If it's a bill, pay it, if you don't need it, toss or recycle it, if you do need it, file it!
2. Consider a capsule wardrobe. You have a reduction in your clothing options but can do a lot of mixing and matching with some key pieces you love. Or, wear the same thing more often! You won't spend as much time figuring out what to wear.
3. Be creative. Challenge your rules about what you "need." Maybe you don't need two cars. Maybe you don't need a large home! What can you do without? You may surprise yourself.
4. Donate what no longer brings you joy. Could be another person's treasure!
5. Be more self-aware when you shop, and perhaps go shopping less all-together! Do you tend to absent-mindedly throw things in your cart? Next time, ask yourself if you really need it, or if you are buying out of habit. If you shop for fun, consider other hobbies.
6. Catch yourself competing with others through owning material things. Some people get caught up in keeping up with the Joneses. This doesn't have to be you!
If you are still stuck and would like to incorporate minimalism into your life, it may be helpful to talk to a therapist to see what self-defeating thoughts, beliefs and attitudes could be holding you back. And remember, sometimes change is hard, but it is also worth it!