“A minimalist home is very intentional,” Joshua Becker explains in an article for Good Housekeeping magazine. “Each possession is there for a reason.”
Most of us aspire to be happy, but that’s not always easy in this modern world in which we are constantly pulled in different directions and permanently risk overwhelm.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. It emanates from taking the decorating principles of minimalism and applying them to other facets of our lives.
Minimalism is a lifestyle appropriated from interior design that embraces a less cluttered style of living
And interestingly, the lifestyle has a lot in common with how we approach property styling, where there is no tolerance for clutter.
It’s hardly surprising that after 2020, a “less is more” approach to life is gaining momentum. Most of us are looking to make some improvements in our lives, or seeking a lifestyle that is kinder to both us and the environment.
Joshua goes on to describe the meaning of minimalism in his article What Is Minimalism? as follows:
“It is marked by clarity, purpose, and intentionality. At its core, being a minimalist means intentionally promoting the things we most value and removing everything that distracts us from it.”
And it’s not only older property owners who see the appeal of this lifestyle. Our younger generations are also embracing the concept and changing their priorities in accordance with its rules.
However, this cleaner way of living isn’t only about decluttering our minds, it promises more money, time, and happiness, as well as a promise to protect our environment.
“The minimalist lifestyle is about living with only the things you need. Minimalists are free from the desire to buy and accumulate more. Instead, they find happiness in relationships and experiences,” says Joshua.
Sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? Although, it involves a bit more than dedicating a day off for a spring clean, it’s about a complete change of mindset. And it can be hard to change ingrained habits, which is why you have to know where to start.
To help you out, below is a list of changes I’ve started to make in my life that are working for me:
1. Be more intentional. Think about the purpose of your decision and what you really want to get out of it. My priority was to lessen my anxiety, and a “less is more” approach across the board has helped clear my mind and prevent that sense of overwhelm when I feel the weight of expectation.
2. Forget about owning stuff and consumerism. This one hurts me on a personal level because I am a shopper and I love the sense of gratification I get from a bargain – one of the reasons I haven’t caught the online shopping bug yet. I also take an inordinate amount of pleasure from simply wandering around malls and looking at beautiful things. These days, my first port of call is the op shop for my shopping fix.
3. Change your mindset and your priorities. Prioritise the simple things in your life that are good for your health. Step into nature when you can; try some mindfulness; exercise; meet with friends for some free therapy; or try out a new activity. Make the time to switch off and relax and don’t feel guilty about it.
4. Don’t worry about what others think. Remove toxic people from your life, like friends who don’t understand your choices, don’t value your opinion, or with whom you can’t have a discussion without feeling disrespected.
5. Stop comparing yourself to others. Forget about the Jones’. The ugliest part of our consumerist society is how it encourages us to compete with one another, and social media has exacerbated the problem. Aspirations and goals are fine, but you are unlikely to complete them in exactly the same timeframe as others and envy will leave you unhappy.
6. Be grateful. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have why me days, but try to make them less frequent. Again, mindfulness and walking are great activities for putting those negative thoughts into perspective. Don’t feel guilty about bad thoughts – a therapist once told me that feeling sorry for yourself is completely valid – but don’t let negativity taint everything else and try to make a mental note each day of some things you are grateful for.
7. Create processes that work for you. Everyone needs some structure, but yours may look different to the next person. I am easily distracted, so mine needs to be rigid, with a to-do list that makes me accountable. It doesn’t mean I need to be productive all the time – just when I need to be. Processes stop me chasing my tail and losing that invaluable sense of achievement at the end of each day.
What are your “minimalist” tips?