Before you run away in terror at the sheer thought of minimalism, let me begin by saying I’m not about to lecture you on the how’s and why’s of living with next to nothing. That’s just not my style.
But I am here to set the record straight; to help you start the new year with a new outlook on the items that you bring into and keep in your home, and how you can absolutely find joy when you begin to worry less.
So, what is minimalism?
Famous for their Netflix documentary ‘Minimalism’, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus say that -
“Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”
Despite having been brought to the forefront in recent years and having accrued the ‘buzz’ terminology status you may have heard of (and run from), the concept of minimalism has actually been around for a very long time. Its basic ethos follows the idea that we really don’t need all of the ‘things’ we accumulate over our lifetime, it’s just that we either want them, or assume that because everyone else has them, then ‘we must need them too’. Living a minimalistic lifestyle, or a simplified lifestyle as I like to call it, is a bucking of the trend of the consumeristic patterns we’ve slowly but surely become accustomed to – the see it, buy it, keep it mentality. But minimalism doesn’t mean you have to throw out every unnecessary item you’ve collected over the years, it simply means that a good declutter of all the useless ‘stuff’ you’ve surrounded yourself with gives you a chance to make way for a more mindful environment. It’s having less focus on accumulating and more attention to enjoying. Keeping a mindful run sheet of the things you really do need/want/use is a good starting point to beginning your journey to living more with less.
The idea is that while you are worrying about paying for, cleaning, storing or using your collection of things, you are actually wasting time, energy and money that could be better spent in a multitude of ways – getting outdoors and exploring, having a great conversation with friends and family, or even planning your next getaway.
Living more with less, or living a minimalist lifestyle, also opens up some free space in your home that would have otherwise felt cluttered, which in turn then opens up space in your mind to feel less overwhelmed. Many minimalists report a feeling of relief when they finally get around to clearing out the old bread maker or foot spa bath they’ve never used, and that their home felt instantly lighter, calmer and more organized. Start somewhere really easy like your kitchen drawers, your linen cupboard or the garage storage shelves you’ve been meaning to get to – you’ll be surprised at how motivating standing back to enjoy your workmanship is!
The Danish concept of Hygge has no simple English translation but follows many of the concepts of minimalism to help its followers achieve a happier way of life. It’s all about creating a cosiness in your soul and in the atmosphere around you, with a focus on having quality things and relationships over volume. It’s about embracing a simple life, with less possessions, but a mindfulness to keep the things that ‘fill your tank’ close at hand. Hygge looks at acts rather than items to make you feel fulfilled – things as simple but enjoyable as preparing a favourite meal with loved ones, a cuddle under a beautiful hand-knitted blanket or sharing an old recipe with a new friend. Hygge takes the focus from ‘what do I have’ to ‘how can I enjoy this’.
Ensuring that every item you home has a purpose does not mean you can’t hang on to the luxuries on life – it simply means that there are no belongings around you that don’t belong there. You can take your dedication to minimalism as seriously as you choose to – there is no one size fits all solution here. For example, a single 20-something year old woman’s idea of minimalism will look very different to how a retired couple will view the change of living. You can tailor the idea to suit your lifestyle, and you can use its principals in all facets of life – your home, your career, your diary and even the way you travel. The hardest part is making the first move and deciding that you are committed to no longer bringing unnecessary items into your home, and that you’ll begin the cleansing task of removing the items that aren’t meaningful or useless to you any longer.
And the added bonus? Not only will your free up space in your home and your mind, you’ll also be able to make a little pocket money selling the items you’ve had stored away in excellent condition but have never gotten around to using! Remember those holiday plans we mentioned earlier? Well, they could be happening sooner than you think at this rate!
If you’d like advice on where to start with living more with less, or if your home is feeling cluttered and disorganised and a fresh pair of eyes might help you to begin clearing out the items you no longer need, give the team at Simply Downsize a call on 0410 691 990 to schedule your free initial consultation at your home.