Reading this is the first step to starting your minimalist journey (yes, it really is that easy).
So, by now you’ve probably done all of the ‘minimalism’ google searches, got lost in the hordes of information out there, and ended up more confused than when you began. There are a lot of resources out there about minimalism. But, it can be really difficult to find the concrete steps to take to begin your journey, which can be disheartening.
Minimalism, although full of value and positive teachings, has become a buzzword. The trend has gained momentous recognition in recent years and has built a huge cult following. This has of course sparked debate about what it really means to be a minimalist, and even strict rules about specifically how many items you can own to gain the prestigious title.
I’m here to tell you not to listen to any of this.
Minimalism is our instinctual nature. Although it certainly is about simplicity, it should never be about judgement, or competition concerning who can own the least. Minimalism, at its core, is simple. My job is to teach you the foundations of a sustainable minimalist lifestyle, to inform, and hopefully assist, you along your journey.
Some common misconceptions about minimalism:
I’m here to tell you that even if you have 10 kids and live in a huge house, you can still be a minimalist. Rather than getting too caught up in the title, let’s explore more about what the philosophy of minimalism really means, and what I learnt along my journey, shall we?
The root of my discontent began in 2014, after I had been living in Germany for two years. I was happy, but completely unfulfilled. I was a newlywed in a new country where I didn’t speak the language. Far away from family, friends, lovely little dog, and the comfortable lifestyle I previously led.
My restlessness translated into material possessions, as I began to attempt to buy my way to content. This, of course, did not work.
I was left with a house full of clutter (albeit, pretty, perfectly arranged clutter), and my credit cards maxed out. I was addicted to spending, unsatisfied, and my self-confidence was at an all-time low.
I want to cultivate contentment. That is my WHY.
Since devoting myself to pursuing sustainable minimalism, I have felt more content in every single aspect of my life. I no longer feel tied to consumerism. I feel confident, and my mind feels clear. I have reached a point of clarity concerning who I am, my core values, priorities, and purpose in life.
Minimalism has provided me with a clear path and direction in life. I am better equipped to manage my finances, and my relationship with myself. I am able to enjoy the slow progress of self-growth. I am less stressed, more present, and full of gratitude.
For the first time in many years, I am wholeheartedly content.
LIFE ASPECTS I have
I have now been on my minimalism journey for 6 whole years. In this time, I have cultivated a sustainable minimalist lifestyle which ties into, and improves, every aspect of my life.
Here are some areas of my life that I have improved.
Minimalism has given me insight into myself. I have found clarity in who I am as a person, and I now know myself better than ever before.
I am more aware of my strengths and weakness, and how to harness or hack these to live a better life.
I have gratitude for my fortune and misfortunes, which I now see as learning opportunities rather than failures. My mindset is overwhelmingly positive.
My closet has gone from a huge walk-in wardrobe, to a 1.5m squared space. I am much more content now with my personal style.
I love every single piece of clothing I own, as I feel they represent my personality. I only keep what I wear, and I only wear what I love. I can now enjoy guilt-free shopping because I am in control.
I have improved my attitude towards my finances. I no longer see money as the enemy, but as an ally. I have a more mindful approach to spending and saving, and after the initial mistakes with my credit cards, I am finally on a good path to an early retirement. Money is energy, and abundant is the way to go.
My last job in Munich required me to start my day by commuting two hours every morning at 6 a.m. This resulted in me barely seeing my husband, and often getting sick because I was so rundown.
My minimalist mindset saw the flaw in that narrative, so I changed it. I left the high-pressure corporate life behind me and got a job a short 5-minute walk from my home. I now start my day with a slow and healthy breakfast with my husband, meditation, journaling, and a short walk before I start my working day.
I used to have barely any boundaries. I was very much a “yes girl”. I told people want they wanted to hear, and was a people pleaser through and through. My journey to minimalism made me realize that this mindset wasn’t benefitting me, or anyone else around me. Telling people what they want to hear is not always the best route of action.
My newfound clarity helped me to recognize what kind of relationships I wanted to be in, and what I expect from other people in return. I have since been able to work on building meaningful relationships based on empathy, honesty and kindness.
I have accepted that try as we might, we can’t make everybody happy.
Before I found minimalism, I was obsessed with filling every spare space within my home with stuff. I would spend hours picking out beautiful and expensive decorative objects and styling them with other beautiful and expensive decorative objects. I would feel proud of the beautiful, decorative shelves and sides I had created.
That’s until I was overrun with a surplus of possessions with the main objective of ‘looking pretty’.
Now, I make sure to only keep what I need and use: things that bring value to my life, and help me make time for more of what matters. My interest now lies in sustainability, I take pride in living within my means.