Minimalist living or Minimalism. So you’ve seen this everywhere on the internet, from lifestyles to home decor. There are so many different takes on it, and you are wondering what it really means. From living out of a backpack and traveling full time, moving from a big house into a tiny home, to the way you decorate the rooms in your home. What the heck is this minimalist lifestyle?
Part of the beauty of it is that it is different for everyone! It will be something different for you than it is for me. For a single in their 20’s, it will be different than for someone with kids. Despite what it is to you, the primary goal is to pursue a purpose driven life.
There is no specific set of rules or standards that you must follow for minimalist living. The idea is open to interpretation, and that is what makes it so wonderful. For some, it may mean getting rid of everything that doesn’t fit in a backpack and traveling. Seriously awesome if that is something you can do! For others, it may be about reducing the amount of stuff you own and spending less on things and more on experiences. Do you have to give up your house and move into a tiny home? Not if that isn’t something that makes you truly happy! We are all unique individuals, so what makes us happy and feel complete will be different for us all.
What does the minimalist living mean for me?
For The Mister and I, we took time to really think about what it meant for us. What we wanted and what makes us happy. For us, that means going from a house we rent and moving into a travel trailer! That’s right, full-time RV life is ahead for us. With 10 years left of moving every few years, we decided that we would much rather downsize and spend our money on a bigger trailer that we own rather than spending it on renting someone else’s house at every duty station.
For me, the thought of our plans makes me feel like a huge weight is being lifted off my shoulders. But this won’t be for everyone. We only have one kid at home, so it is easier for us to do this. And Little Man is all about it. We love the idea of being able to give him more experiences rather than stuff. And teaching him to appreciate the things that he does have. I’ll be posting our adventures on going from a 1700 square foot house into a travel trailer, and getting used to a much smaller space. So follow the blog or join my newsletter to keep updated on how it’s going!
The Minimalist Mindset
Minimalism is being intentional about how you live your life. Focus on what’s important to you and rid yourself of life’s excesses. This will go a long way toward helping you find happiness and fulfillment in life. And let’s not forget freedom. Freedom from debt and from wasting time on stuff that doesn’t make you happy. Making more room for you to enjoy life and all it has to offer.
Minimalist living is about reassessing your priorities. Stripping away the excess in your life – possessions, ideas, relationships, and activities. Anything that doesn’t bring value and joy to your life wave goodbye to it. Find the joy in experiences, not in what you own.
The concept is basically keeping your clutter to the absolute minimum, which in turn makes it easier to appreciate what you have. While owning less stuff is a large part of a minimalist lifestyle, this doesn’t mean you can’t own anything or buy stuff. Just be more intentional about what you keep and what you purchase. Keeping your environment minimal will help secure a less cluttered mind and free up a lot more time for the things you love to do. A life of memories and experiences rather than a running list of all the stuff you have owned.
The mental effects of minimalist living.
The effect of minimalism on the mind can be amazing! Instead of looking around your house and seeing clutter, only to then focus on cleaning, you free up your mind and your time to focus on the things that are important to you! Honestly, who doesn’t want less time cleaning and more time smiling and being happy? I know I would!
I’m not gonna lie, I am one of those housewives that hates cleaning. Seriously, ugh. And with a kid who can undo any cleaning I just did in less than 15 minutes and a hubby that leaves stuff around the house for me to pick up all the time, it feels like all I do is clean. Spending half my day cleaning does not make me happy. That means with a house full of clutter, I am losing half a day of happiness. I would SO MUCH rather be spending that time on a hobby or activity that calms me and makes me happy.
Make sure to take time for yourself to do things you love and that make you happy! Check out my post on Self-Care for more information and ideas to get you started!
This isn’t just about getting rid of possessions!
Another aspect of minimalism is spending your time doing what makes you happy. What do you have to learn to do then? Say NO! Just because someone asks you to do something for them doesn’t mean you have to say yes. This can be a big time sucker if people are so used to you saying yes everytime that you are the first person they come to. You need to think about yourself and your family!
Had plans to go for a hike today (or something that makes you happy), but a friend called, and she didn’t plan ahead and needs a babysitter last second, again. Already have a pile of work on your desk and a co-worker asks you to do part of their workload too meaning you have to stay at work later to finish it all? Practice it with me now: No. Nope. Sorry, I can’t I’m busy. Hell no. Hell to the no. You get the point. 😀
I know it sounds harsh. But think about it. If you are always saying yes to every favor asked of you, how much time are you losing to be able to do things you genuinely enjoy? That extra workload gives you less time with family and real friends. Is it worth it to make everyone but you happy? Part of minimalist living isn’t just about getting rid of stuff, it’s also about getting rid of toxic friendships and relationships. All give, and no take doesn’t make anyone happy. Remember, only keep “things” that bring you joy. This includes the people in your life.
Does everyone in your life bring you value and joy?
We’ve all had friends like this and were we TRULY happy with it? Was it worth it just to have more friends? Nope. I’ve had plenty of friends like this throughout my life, but I don’t now. I didn’t have friendships, I had sh*theads. One thing I have learned in my almost 40 years of life (small pause as I realize I hit the big 40 in 5 months 😯 ), it’s not about having lots of friends. A few close friends who are genuine is WAY better! And less stressful.
Am I saying I never watch a friend’s kids when they are in a jam? No, I’m not, because I do. But it isn’t something I always do. The friends I keep in my life respect me and my time and only ask favors when necessary. We prefer hanging out and spending time together while our kids play. And I only keep those in my life who would do the same for me and not abuse how nice I can be. Want less stress in your life? Take an honest look at the people you keep in it. This is another important aspect of minimalist living.
There is great beauty to less being more!
Minimalism is a tool. Use only the practices that work for you. Use them to help you live a happier and healthier life! And the joy you can get from raising your kids to treasure experiences over stuff, and appreciate the stuff they have, I would call that a parenting win!
When it comes to the end of your life, you aren’t going to get extra points for how much stuff you owned and how much it cost. There isn’t a special reward for those who owned less in their life. What will you have? Your memories! A smile on your face knowing you had so many experiences and that you did all you could to enjoy the hell out of your life! You only get to live it once, so make it worth every moment!