A while back, I wrote a blog post about how I wanted to work on being more rigidly eco friendly and though I have made some headway- I know I can do more. And while the idea of minimalism isn’t new and it’s not necessarily trendy at the moment, but while writing out the recent blog post on the things I wish I had known more about money, I realized some of the changes I wanted to implement. Cue the seeds for this blog post. I really want to see what actionable change I can enforce, in my life, because I truly am seeking out far more simplicity in every aspect of my life. That being said, check out this week’s blog post on the ways in which I will be exploring a life of minimalism.
Less is more…
Let’s pull the scope a little wider for a sec and bare with me. It is a given we live in a capitalist society, particularly in the West. The goal of most companies is to get you to spend your money with them, ideally they also want you to come back, and at its core that’s not a bad thing. The issue I have begun to take with it is the constant need or push to buy buy buy. Buy things you don’t necessarily need, we make the purchase, but at the end of it all it leaves us feeling the exact same way. Buy something for status, for popularity, for clout or for the gram. We have so many things in our homes which we don’t use, things which gather dust on shelves and simply take up space. But have we ever stopped to ask ourselves why we are buying into the trap? Some of the people who seem to have so little, are always the happiest and the ones who seem to have so much always seem be the most miserable. None of it makes us any happier, none of it will make us love ourselves more, none of it can be taken with us when we die. So why do we make it mean so much?! Why do we add value to mere things?!
Be a curator in your life. Slowly cut things out until you’re left only with what you love, what is necessary and with what make you happy.Leo Babauta
The Effortless Life
- Practicing Gratitude : I know this one might sound like a “new age” type of suggestion, but one of the things I know that has helped my mental health and my overall outlook, is to redshift my perspective. No matter how I’m feeling and what I am experiencing, looking around and realizing that I actually do have all of the things I need. I don’t need to fill my home with more and more things, and I most certainly do not need to compare myself to others and what they do or do not have. My journey is not theirs.
- Unsubscribing : Let’s face it, how many of us receive more spam or newsletters which encourages us to spend, than actual real informative important emails? For me, my work inbox is full of emails, so when it comes to my personal inbox, I have an aversion to checking it because I am all tapped out at that point. Realistically, I don’t need to receive them in the first place as I don’t do much with them. To top it off, it is merely feeding the idea of yet another thing I need to “buy” in order to attain something; which we accept is a false narrative. The same principle applies to subscription services, you don’t use or need, because let’s really be honest, no one needs to have Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and all the others I can’t name all at the same time. No one has THAT much time to watch THAT much tv.
Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell not stuff to show.
One main aspect of minimalism, is not only the tangible things, it’s also about decluttering areas in your life which might be congested. Be it your mind, the people around you or simply the life you lead. Looking internally at the ways in which we show up in the world. Minimizing the negative impact we might be having on this temporary rock we all share. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% guilty of this myself, especially considering I have moved my life across the country at least 3 times, so I have gotten rid of everything in my homes and restarted, but over time it doesn’t take long to accumulate things. While writing the blog post on the things I wished I had learned about money, it got me thinking about the ways in which I waste the money I do have. Of course being on a single income with a child isn’t easy, but doesn’t mean I haven’t made silly money/spending choices and it most certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t things I can do to improve.
- Disconnect From Notifications: I am that person, I will text you back pretty much immediately, not because I’m glued to my phone ( ok maybe a little bit ), but mostly because I will forget if not, but I also don’t like the idea of keeping someone waiting on my reply. That being said, I have begun to take back ownership of my time and how I choose to spend it. And if that means getting a reply 10 mins later, then so be it…not saying it comes easily to me though. In the process of taking back my time I have taken the steps to vigorously put on Do Not Distubs ( DND ), more as a way to focus on my tasks and I have also removed notifications. iPhones now have this feature where they will cluster notifications for you and I have chosen AM & PM notifications, so I’m not constantly on my phone. I can read the latest news report later, it won’t hurt me. Bae and I were having a discussion about “cleaning up your phone” and he blew my mind by showing me that I could remove all of the icons on my phone’s homepage, as they’re still on the phone- simply not showing. ( don’t get me started on how epic that was for me!) So, my phone is now a wallpaper, simple and clean- I can still get to the apps I need and the best part is- not seeing the number of notifications, which I have to admit- feels wonderful. I will also willfully skip over the fact that as an apple user for over 15 years, I really should know better…but no comment.
- Declutter your Home : This is probably one of the main tenants of minimalism or at least the one most of us think about. Cleaning up the material things in your daily space; things you don’t use, clothes you don’t wear, items which merely sit on a shelf. I came across a post which suggested if you haven’t used an item in 3 month’s time, then you don’t really need it. Sometimes, I feel like we hold on to items because they induce a memory and we try to find ways of tapping back into those feelings we had at that time, but the fact of the matter is keeping the moments on a shelf, will never truly recapture the feeling again.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Reinvent : Trying to find ways to not have so much fill my space, sell things off or trying to find a new life for them. Reducing the space they take up physically, but also in my life. Letting things go, not adding extra meaning to items. Trying to give things away, another home or trying to repurpose it in some way. I have been finding ways to reduce what I throw out, cut down the number of packaged items is a tough battle to fight, but any small steps I can take I am vigorously doing. I will admit that the idea of reducing my wardrobe doesn’t sound appealing to me because we KNOW how much I enjoy expressing myself through clothes, but I know this will be a huge step for me- but you know minimalism and all that.