Think minimalism is all stark white interiors, a tiny number of possessions and no TV? Think again – minimalism can be a great tool for normal people leading normal lives to live more simply and intentionally and improve their wellbeing.
One Saturday night Tom and I sat down to watch something on Netflix- which in our household usually means looking through what’s on for ages before deciding it’s probably got a bit too late and one of the girls is likely to wake up anytime soon so we might as well knock the idea on the head and go to bed; when we came across The Minimalists documentary. Don’t you find it funny how things sometimes present themselves to you just when you need them in your life?
We weren’t even half way through watching the documentary when we switched off the TV and started de cluttering our sitting room. Weekend plans were put aside as we continued our impromptu spring clean the next day - in between entertaining a 4 1/2 year and 8 month old baby. It felt like therapy!
What is Minimalism?
It’s different things for different people – but for me, it’s been a tool to help me question what things add value to my life and to help me live more simply and intentionally, which in turn has had a positive impact on my health, wellbeing and happiness.
It isn’t about owning the fewest items I can until our home is empty but being more mindful and intentional about what ‘stuff’ I have and bring into my life. There are ‘things’ that I love and that bring clear value to me but there are also things that ‘clutter’ both physically and mentally. For me it has been about stopping mindless consumption, be that of material things or even mindless consumption of social media.
I now spend less time online shopping, less time thinking about what ‘I need’ to get (because I realise I don’t really need these things.) I spend less time trying to find a home for stuff, clearing up stuff and drawers and cupboards are easier to keep tidy and organise. It has felt like a mental and physical spring clean.
Here are some simple ways you could start introducing Minimalism into your life to reap the benefits of being more intentional…
Start with a declutter of your home – you don’t need to crazy just do what feels comfortable. Start simple and get rid (by that I mean recycle, pass on – please don’t bin) of any duplicates you own. Next, get rid of the things you don’t use anymore. Stack of magazines you never read? Clothes you no longer wear or no longer fit? As you go through your belongings, focus on eliminating not just the items you don’t use, but also the ones that don’t bring joy or meaning to your life.
- Choose quality over quantity.
The blender, running shoes, winter coat, handbag (among many other things) can be condensed down to one quality item per category. Less stuff, but stuff that will last. Joshua Becker’s The Simple Joy of One is a great post that I took to heart.
- Digital detox
Declutter the apps on your phone, clean up your social media feeds by unfollowing feeds that don’t inspire or motivate you, unsubscribe from e-newsletters that you no longer read. And take regular planned breaks from your digital devices so you can connect fully with your family.
- Think before you buy new things
This is the super important bit – once you’ve decluttered the trick is being intentional about what you allow back in. We now have a ‘one in one out’ policy on the girls toys and I keep a wish list of things I’d like to get so I can be more intentional rather than finding myself picking up random things in TK Maxx.
- Choose experiences over stuff.
Luther Vandroos and Janet Jackson were right when they sang ‘The best things in life are free.’ Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess to make room for life’s important things – which actually, aren’t things at all but time and experiences spent with your friends and family.
If you want to learn more about Minimalism I really recommend watching The Minimalists on Netflix or checking out their website www.TheMinimalists.com
What are your thoughts on minimalism? How could you apply it to your life?