less is more

The Deal With Minimalism: Why Less Stuff Can Mean More Happiness

...and how it’s easier than you think.

Have you ever looked around a cluttered space in your home, and had the sudden urge to get rid of it all? To cleanse entirely and keep only the necessities, finally freeing yourself to live more minimally? Then, as quick as that thought came, you go back to your same ways, decorating, acquiring, buying and filling your space?

Whether or not you’ve felt this urge to drastically reduce, we all know that amazing feeling of lightness and peace of mind that comes with clearing space in our lives. It’s rejuvenating, and, oftentimes, life-changing.

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Minimalism is not a trend, but a lifestyle that is based on having only minimal objects in and around the home, and in your general life, in order to boost your quality of life. In simple terms: By having less stuff, you are more free to experience life.

Minimalism is about reducing unnecessary items in your home and your life, and only keeping that which is useful and from which we truly get joy. There are many levels of minimalism, from a more relaxed sense of regularly letting go of goods and having more open, free spaces, to extreme minimalism in even reducing the size of living abodes to a single room or #vanlife.

Anyone embarking on a minimal lifestyle will find it to be a personal and unique journey, one that can truly benefit your health, state of mind, and quality of connection and experiences in your life. Here, a few of the benefits that minimalism can offer your life.

Less home making, more home living. Have you spent more time cleaning and beautifying your home spaces than actually sitting and enjoying the space? Less to clean means more time to live!

Great for the environment (and your bills!). Save electricity, water and other resources by using less to power appliances, to clean, to keep it all going.

Be more productive or restful: Your choice. With less time spent acquiring, ordering and cleaning goods and objects around the home, you have more time to devote to what’s important to you: Your work, maybe, and / or also your rest.

Spend less money. You’ll save tons of money in buying and consuming less, meaning that when there is something you really want, or need, you can even opt for higher quality.

Now, five handy tips for you to get started.

1. Know your why. Get clear on why this lifestyle appeals to you.

Write down what you want to make space for, what it’ll bring to your life, how it will make you feel. This is a way to really make sure this decision is coming from an internal motivation, rather than some distant idea that can be easily forgotten when you begin.

Know that it is a personal choice, and that your partner or family doesn’t need to have this lifestyle forced upon them. You can be a model for them without having to control whether they choose to join.

What if your intention was also less about yourself, and more about what you could give others? The time, space and energy you could offer others through making space in your life. The conservation that your lifestyle will lead to for greater respect of the earth. Holding on to these reasons will aid in propelling you towards more minimal living.

2. Inspire yourself. There is a multitude of documentaries, books, blogs and articles available for you to inspire yourself to adopt this lifestyle. You can find even more tips and tricks on how to de-clutter, and how to stay minimal in your life, and also the benefits of minimalism backed by interesting studies.

There are tons of online picture galleries to give you some visual inspiration to demonstrate on minimalism doesn’t mean empty or stark, but how you can create stunning, calming spaces to live.

Here is a great resource for minimal living, and here is an interesting cross-cultural article about Minimalist living in Japan.

3) Categorize to cleanse. Don’t know where to start? What to keep, what to cleanse? Here are some simple rules for knowing what to keep in your life.

  • Keep what you use DAILY or WEEKLY; what you need for personal care, upkeep of your home, in your every day life.
  • Keep what you LOVE; the objects that truly give you joy and happiness to look at and use. Have some decorative pieces in your home that you really don’t care much for, and wouldn’t create a void if they were gone? Why not donate to a local charity house, or gift to someone you may want/use it more than you?
  • The things that give you stress, make your life more complicated, or that usually take up the spaces in the back of cupboards, drawers, storage spaces: YOU DON’T NEED THESE. Do they really serve you to have them “Just In Case”?
  • You can notice in your life, day to day, what things give you the most joy. That’s an easy place to start. What five things give you the most joy in your life right now?
  • Look around each room and start finding three things that you haven’t used in a long time, that don’t fill you with love and joy to have.

4. Connect with yourself more. Something happens when people begin to declutter their lives. They have more time to just be. That’s not to say it’s always a relaxing and peaceful feeling, particularly at first.

Can you recognize your own trigger for cluttering, buying, shopping, decorating? Maybe it is a feeling of wanting what you don’t have, trying to fill an emotional void. It may be your go-to stress dealing tool, or even a way to numb yourself from difficult situations. Ultimately, acquiring more stuff will not solve the core of any issue, and busying ourselves will not magically make a hard feeling disappear.

When you rest in a minimal space, resisting the urge to consume more and fill up, you are left with being with yourself. Giving yourself this time and space can be confronting, and ultimately, life changing.

Revealing layers of yourself that may have been hidden, feeling what you may need to feel, and eventually finding a cleansed inner life along with your fresh outer environment.

5. Stay on track. Like any lifestyle change, the first few days and weeks can be full of inspiration and action, and then after a while, old patterns can sneak back in, and habits and behaviours can lead us to undoing a lot of your hard work.

In order to keep the momentum going, find a way to stay on track by coming back to your initial intention. You may want some words or images to be your anchor as a reminder places somewhere you can see daily.

Move around your spaces and find things to be grateful for as you see them – this is a great way to remind yourself that you have more than enough.

Last bonus tip: Rather than waiting for a certain point to be able to call yourself a minimalist, start today. The very act of announcing this to the world, and to yourself will lead to more actions directed from this belief and intention.

Enjoy less stuff, enjoy more life!

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