Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a passionate person. When I truly believe in something, I follow it to the core of my being. Like most passions, minimalism wasn’t something that I was born into, but rather something I discovered over time. One day I happened upon a quote that really resonated with me. “Less stuff, more experiences.” As I read, I remember feeling a small spark ignite in my heart. You see, like most people, I began my adult life with the desire to have more stuff. I wanted more furniture to make my home look more like…well…”home”. I wanted to discover and invest in the perfect aesthetic arrangement, to make myself and those who visited my home happy, or so I thought. Although I succeeded in fashioning a creative and safe space for my family, I realized that I still wasn’t satisfied. I would scroll through images of picturesque living rooms, cozy rustic bedrooms, pristine kitchens, and I would find myself wanting more. I thought to myself, “One day we will live in a bigger place. One day we will be able to afford nicer things. One day we will have our own house….one day…” It wasn’t until I asked myself why I wanted these things, that I realized I actually had no need for them. Most of the desire that I had to own these things was centered on the belief that they added value to my life and that they would make me happy. But wait a minute? Was I really happy if I was always seeking to add to and replace my stuff? My possessions were never really enough. I was always searching for something better. I was never satisfied.
Enter minimalism. One day, I packed up all my excess stuff and piled it into our living room. I spent the whole day, and then some, sorting through the things we owned. By the end, I had decided to give or throw away a large portion of what we had and to just keep what we needed. Now you may be wondering, “How did I decide what I needed?” Well, I decided to keep everything that I absolutely needed to function, along with a few things that lent to my development as a person. A few essential clothing items, the furniture we actually used, my art book, along with a few other essential items. And that’s it. I simply threw out the clutter. The beauty of it all is that I didn’t miss it! It didn’t contribute anything to my life so I let it go.
Now, of course everyone’s journey is different. You may not decide to throw out most of your possessions in a few days. It may take you months or years. Or maybe minimalism for you will look completely different. Perhaps, instead of starting with the things you own, you will let go of people, habits, or thoughts in your life that don’t add value. Whatever it means to you, deciding to become a minimalist will bring you the freedom and the clarity that many of us search for, but never seem to find. Although we may not realize it, the things we own both physically and emotionally, affect our quality of life. Additionally, minimalism is not just about getting rid of things, it’s about choosing only to keep what is truly adding value. Choosing to sacrifice the extra things, means allowing yourself a freedom that you deserve. So don’t be afraid to give up things, in order to live well. You deserve it.
Header image by Sarah Dorweiler