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What follows is the first chapter of a long piece of content, currently under construction. It’s something I’ve been working on for a while – and I’ve decided it will do better out in the world than gathering dust in the depths of my files whilst I work on finishing it! If you’d like to be notified when further chapters emerge, email me >> hello (at) TheLifeConscious (dot) com

 

Minimalism has changed my life. It has cleared space in my wardrobe, my home, my mind. It has helped me refine my values and live in a way that feels more natural. Minimalism has positively influenced my family, and I’m excited for our baby boy to grow up in a home that embraces the important things in life. We’re not ‘perfect minimalists’ but I think that’s the point – it’s a journey, a philosophy and a continuing evolution of clarity and happiness. I’m passionate about sharing this joy with anyone who is interested!

Chapter 1: What is Minimalism?

A tool

As someone who began dipping their toe into minimalism just a couple of years ago, I’m by no means an expert. But what I’ve learned is that minimalism can mean different things to different people – at its heart, minimalism is simply a tool to help you refine and live in line with what’s important to you as an individual (or a family).

 

We live in a time where the idea of ‘success’ is prescribed with few questions asked. If you have a high salary, a big house, a nice car, an active social life and the perfect physique you’re well on the way. But do those things guarantee happiness? In many cases, they don’t. And lots of people are waking up to the scam.

 

Minimalism provides the guideposts to help you figure out what’s really important to you – which ‘things’, relationships, ideas and – ultimately – values bring you the most fulfilment. A minimalist philosophy helps you strip away the excess in order to reveal what’s most important. Once you’ve revealed your own vision of success and happiness, it’s about developing laser focus to help bring it into reality. It’s about living your best life.

 

“Minimalism” as a style can be found in fashion, furniture, home decoration, art and more. But in the context of developing your best life, minimalism is more than an aesthetic style. It’s more than a ‘look’.

 

Minimalism is quality over quantity.

 

A way of living

Minimalism appears in your everyday life, helping guide your decisions and lifestyle. It’s so much bigger than an aesthetic or a drive to declutter.

 

If you were to run a search for examples of real individuals and families living a minimalist lifestyle you’d find everything from a father of six living in LA, to a solo entrepreneur traveling the world. This is because minimalism isn’t a prescription – it’s a way of living that can be adapted to your situation.

 

In my experience, minimalism quietly pervades one area of your life, before starting to influence you in bigger ways until it becomes a philosophy to live by. For example, you might start by doing a serious cull in your wardrobe (as I did). As the positive effects become apparent, you allow it into other areas of your life until you’re decluttering your home, refining your digital life, reviewing your relationships and settling your values.

 

Minimalism is personal

While minimalism does have a basic definition – refining what’s important and removing that which doesn’t bring value to your life – it is also a fiercely personal thing. Minimalism provides an overall approach but it can be adapted to a wide range of situations.

 

In the end, it’s all about you. Your values, your relationships, your priorities and your possessions. Minimalism helps guide the way, but do what works for you.

 

That’s the beauty of the minimalist philosophy – it sets you on the path to find your values and refine what’s really important to you. From there, your confidence grows in making decisions about what to let go with less resistance than you ever thought possible.

Minimalism is Freedom

One of the drawcards of minimalism is that, in many ways, it promotes a kind of freedom.

Freedom from physical clutter, freedom from debt, freedom from social norms, freedom from things in life that aren’t serving you.

 

Imagine a life with fewer physical things (and only those that provide joy or value), fewer demands on your time, lower debt because of a focus on conscious spending, and a life clear in purpose. That’s the kind of freedom minimalism reveals. It’s a sense of beautiful space – space that doesn’t need to be filled, but that you can furnish with your favourite things, if you like.

 

When you ‘spend less’, you can use your resources for what’s really important. Spend less money, invest in things you love. Waste less time, find yourself taking time doing things you love. Curate your relationships, deepen those that are really special.

 

Once you clarify what’s important to you, you can free yourself from generic expectations and from keeping up with the Joneses. Minimalism – or living a minimalist life – gives you the freedom to create a life you love.

 

Minimalism is Internal

You may have a vision of what it might look like to have a minimalist physical space. But minimalist living is about an internal sense of peace as much as it is about clear benchtops!

 

Minimalist living is internal, as well as physical. It’s a sound belief in yourself, based on the confidence of knowing what’s important to you. It helps promote an internal clarity about what you really want in your life.

 

Chapter 2: The Benefits of Minimalism 

 

This chapter explores some of the big benefits of living a minimalist lifestyle.

 

More freedom

  

One of the big benefits of living a minimalist lifestyle is “more freedom”. I touched on this earlier, but what does it really mean?

 

Time

How can minimalist philosophy help you create more free time? This has been a bit of a mystery to me too, but as I’ve grown into the minimalist journey it’s become clearer.

When you own less stuff, and have less clutter in your physical space, you spend less time tidying it up! It really is that simple.

For our family a good example is baby toys. While we’re passionate about engaging our son, we’ve been mindful about not allowing too many toys enter our home in his first year. We haven’t bought many toys – most of what we have is either second hand, or gifts. Each day I select a few toys for him to play with (which also keeps his interest higher!) At the end of the day we clear them away, leaving a tidy space for my husband and I to enjoy after bub has gone to bed! With just a few things to tidy, it doesn’t take much time or cause any stress – freeing up time to enjoy the clean space.

 

When you have fewer things, you also spend less time worrying about organising things or clearing the clutter. If you’ve thought about decluttering, you may have spent time researching the best way to ‘declutter my closet’ or ‘how to tidy my kitchen’. By living a minimalist lifestyle all the time, you don’t have to spend time periodically working out how to declutter.

 

Money

Minimalism can help create freedom with money as well.

 

The general idea is that you will buy fewer things that last longer! Put a little extra time and effort into your next purchase decision and, even if you spend a little more up front, you’ll probably spend less in the long run.

 

By having fewer things, some minimalists are also able to downsize their home. By focusing on having fewer things, items that carry multiple purposes, and good quality items, you need less space. Start dreaming about what that could mean for your lifestyle and your expenses, because it’s truly possible for those who embrace minimalism!

 

Expression

Minimalism allows freedom of expression. How? By tuning into your own values and what’s important to you, you become confident in your own creativity and find yourself not comparing with others.

 

Know yourself more intimately, and express it more freely. What a beautiful way to live.

 

Work

When you spend less money, you rely less on the income you generate. By getting off the treadmill of “need more, spend more, get more” you free yourself from the requirement to make more and more money.

 

Reduce the demand on yourself to make a huge income, and free yourself to consider doing work you love.

 

Clear space

 Minimalism often brings to mind images of white space and sparse furnishings. While this cliche isn’t always an accurate reflection of a minimalist life, enjoying a beautiful, clear space usually is.

 

Streamlined wardrobe 

Many people come to minimalism through decluttering their wardrobe as a starting point, as in my case. “A closet full of clothes with nothing to wear” is a common problem and one that inspires decluttering.

 

A minimalist wardrobe is one that has just the right amount of clothes. The items are of good quality and the style perfectly reflects that of the owner. Each piece is known and appreciated. 

 

Even if this isn’t the first step in your minimalism journey, you can expect to enjoy a streamlined wardrobe as part of a minimalist lifestyle. Why? Minimalism helps you refine your style and value fewer items.

 

Beautiful home 

When you embrace minimalism, you’ll surround yourself with fewer things. You’ll feel less pressure to hold onto items ‘just because’ it’s expected in one way or another, and instead surround yourself with things you truly love or that provide value. Fewer things means more space.

 

The things you do keep have greater meaning. Your home begins to look more like a true reflection of you/ your family, a genuine representation of your style and values.  

 

Fewer things also leads to more organised spaces. 

 

And usually (though this depends on your style!), fewer things, items that bring you joy and more organised spaces will lead to what you consider to be a more beautiful home.

 

Clear mind/ Happiness

 

When you deal with the physical stuff in your life, there’s a good chance you’ll also feel more equipped to deal with the non-physical stuff that perhaps you’ve been avoiding or that provide added challenge. All this processing leads to a clearer mind, and a happier life.

 

Let go of the past 

One of the biggest impacts of minimalism in my life has been a growing ability to deal with sentimental items. I’ve always been a sentimentalist and, as someone who lost their mum at 15, I tend to hesitate before letting anything go which could represent sentimental value.

 

Minimalism has taught me that “our memories are not in our things” and, while sometimes it’s valuable to hold onto something physical in order to trigger a memory, most of the time the more enriching path is to acknowledge its past value and let it go.

 

Are you holding onto physical things for their sentimental value, but hold a niggling feeling they’re filling space that would be better cleared? I understand the conflict, but in my experience the act of processing an item’s role in my life as in the past and letting it go has been one of the most rewarding and revealing lessons I’ve learned.

 

Confidence  

Perhaps one of the unexpected benefits of living a minimalist lifestyle is the confidence it inspires. If you think about it, it makes sense – minimalism encourages you to whittle away that which is superfluous, until you uncover things and values that really hold meaning for you. This process of establishing your own values and rules – and living by them – naturally results in greater self-confidence. When you know yourself and are living what you believe is your best life, you care less about what others think and instead enjoy a quiet confidence every day.

 

Gratitude    

When you have fewer things (physical and otherwise) you use and experience them more frequently. You tend to value every single thing more clearly – and you are thankful for what you do have.

 

Clear priorities

 

When you know what’s important to you, it’s easier to devote time to it. Minimalism can help you prioritise.

 

Relationships 

In pursuing a minimalist lifestyle, the aim is to remove that which doesn’t provide value or bring joy, so you can focus on that which does. This applies not only to physical possessions but relationships as well. 

 

Are there relationships in your life that no longer bring you joy? Minimalism encourages us to review our relationships, spending time with the truly special people and allowing us to let go when it’s appropriate. This doesn’t mean it’s easy to do – but it’s a call to be mindful of the way we spend our time.

 

Values 

As I’ve mentioned throughout this article, minimalism helps to clarify and define your values. We all have values, but many of us don’t often think intentionally about what they are and whether our life is a reflection of what we believe. By spending time thinking about what we value, we know ourselves more clearly and are better able to live in line with our values.

 

A life aligned with our values is a more fulfilling, meaningful life.

 

Health  

Though it may not be immediately obvious, there are health benefits of minimalism. More time and less debt can result in greater happiness and lower stress, meaning a healthier mind and body.

 

In my experience, the psychological benefits of minimalism are also very real. If you’ve ever conducted a mini declutter and experienced that sense of lightness and relief, you have a sense of the mental benefits of clearing space. Extrapolate that feeling through broader areas of life and it quickly becomes obvious that there are some very real health benefits of minimalism.

 

Hobbies 

When you clear up your schedule to focus on the things you value most, you will make time to do things you love. Ever dreamed of taking up crochet? Find a class and schedule it in! Wanted to learn how to cook better meals for your family? Stop daydreaming and use your newly prioritised time to make it happen.

 

When you are clear on your priorities and have the determination to give them space, your ideal life will begin to reveal itself. 

 

Good for the Earth

 

Minimalism is not only good for the individual, it has positive effects for our planet.

 

Sustainable minimalism 

Even if your reason for pursuing a minimalist lifestyle isn’t to benefit the earth, your actions will reduce your footprint and leave less impact on the world.

By reducing your need for ‘stuff’, you buy less and therefore use fewer of our earth’s resources.   

 

When you value your physical things more, you’ll naturally look for better quality items, and tend to keep them for longer. Again this lightens the impact on the earth. 

 

And naturally by thinking more clearly about what you value, being clear on priorities you will place greater value not only on your things, but on the world that surrounds you.

To be notified of future chapters, email me >> hello (at) TheLifeConscious (dot) com