For about a year and a half, I have been doing a lot of tidying up and de-cluttering. It all started with Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. You know, so many of us decided to tidy up after watching that show. But looking back now, I honestly believe that watching that show set me upon a path to a more minimal lifestyle. Because I kept tidying up and downsizing and re-arranging once my then boyfriend and now husband moved in. Suddenly my 1200 square foot apartment seemed a wee bit cramped. Suddenly, I had to figure out how and where to make space for his things.
It has not been easy. Honestly, I feel like all I’ve been doing is tidying up and yet, I always feel like there is clutter everywhere. It drives me nuts! So lately, my husband and I have been doing a lot of thinking as we tidied up. We have had to make hard decisions about things we are keeping and things we are not. And I’m not just talking about clothes, I’m talking bigger items like desks and storage units. Things we both spent big bucks on. But we know that we cannot possibly house everything and so, decisions had to be made. This meant a lot of conversations and we both came to realize, that purchasing a house just isn’t in our best interests. We both want to live more simply, in a home that is calming and cozy. Clutter really bothers my husband, and it heightens my anxiety. I work in an environment where I can’t arrange my space the way I like, or have things that are just for me. There are way too many other people in my work space and most of them are small children. So I need a home that is simple and soothing.
Reason One: Creating Calm
The first reason we want to live more simply (as in more minimally) is that we just don’t have the space to have lots of things. We had reached the point where our linen closest was stuffed full of towels and sheets. We had too many! I am not even sure how we got many, but we recently did a big de-clutter and bought new towels. We didn’t really need new towels, however, we decided that since we were starting a more simple life, we might as well start with some new things. And a lot the linens and towels were old. Plus, we used money gifted to us for our wedding. So out with the old, in with the new. We have tons of room for other things in our linen closet now so we stored some art supplies in there as well. Cleaning up that closet has actually created a lot of calm for me. I can put things away more easily and the closet is lot tidier. The closet is just one example of how too much stuff can really make your space feel uncomfortable instead of calming.
Reason Two: Working Towards Living with Little or No Debt
Let’s face it, debt sucks. But we are both forty and we do not want to start piling debt onto ourselves now. We are determined to living with little or no debt. So we are not purchasing a large house that will eat up nearly all of our income so that we have nothing left to enjoy life with, and have to struggle or add more debt to do something as simple as get away for a weekend. Living more minimally means that when I did buy new towels, I bought four towels. Four bath, four hand, four face. Because really, do we need more for two people? No, we don’t really. I bought good quality towels so that it will many years before they need replacing. This is putting money back into my pocket in the long run.
Reason Three: Being Truly Happy
Ever heard that happiness is a state of mind? I think there might be something to that as we seem to depend on stuff or the idea that “one day” we’ll have everything we need to be happy. But the truth is, we don’t need stuff to be happy. Fifty tops don’t make you happy. All the newest tech gadgets don’t make you happy. But living simply, in tune with yourself and what you need and value will definitely allow you to live a lot more happily as you’ll know the things you enjoy and be more engaged with yourself, your family and friends. In this way, I think happiness is a state of mind; it’s knowing your own mind and self that allows that happiness to soak into you.
Reason Four: Getting Back Lost Time
For years I have been saying, I have no time. No time to exercise, no time to visit my mom more often than I do, no time to indulge in hobbies. And the last year, even with Covid, I have felt that I am starting to have even less time. And I hate it! I hate having no time. But here is the thing: I spend so much time managing my belongings, tidying up, organizing, only for all of that to go the rails in a couple of weeks and then I’m back at square one. Lacking time. Stressed. Reducing the stuff in my house means I don’t have to manage it as much. I don’t have to house as much. I don’t need to store it in a bin or storage drawers. Because I don’t have it. And that frees up time because suddenly cleaning becomes cleaning and not organizing and tidying up. I have time without the stuff to enjoy a book the way I did when I was eleven, or to plan a nice meal. I’m using my time more wisely.
I am only at the beginning of this transition to minimalism. I still have a lot of clothes. I still have a lot of shoes. But the beginning is the scariest part I think, and I am learning that is it okay to let things go. The money I spent on high heeled boots ten or more years ago that I barely used is still spent even if I keep those boots my closet. Yet, it costs me nothing to donate them. So I have made the choice to try and sell these boots. Yes, it’s sad I can’t wear heels anymore (a story for another day) but why am I keeping these boots in my closet? Because they are cute? I’m housing something I never use and really, that makes no sense. So I am learning to let go. And honestly, each time I tidy up it is easier to let things go. I am sure this is a journey that will take time and one that may have ups and downs, and that’s okay. But knowing this is how I want to go forward in life, and why is so huge in helping me shift my mindset, and in letting go.
What are your thoughts on minimalism? Share in the comments below.