It is absolutely crazy to think that it has been 5 years since we officially purchased our downsized house! There have been so many small victories and lessons to be learned throughout this journey and I love sharing them with as many people as possible. The thing is, you can try to tell people…you can try to prevent them from making your same mistakes and even though they might side-step some things, chances are they will find new, different mistakes to make. Even though that may be true, I still wanted to take this time for you and for me to share 5 of the biggest lessons (and mistakes) I have learned during the last 5 years living the simple life.
You are buried under all of your junk
For a lot of people, minimalism starts with the realization that you just have too much stuff. Some people might even get into minimalism because they saw someone like Marie Kondo demonstrate how clean and pretty a house could look with less clutter.
While there are so many benefits to having a clear, clean, easy-to-manage (and less to clean) space, what you can really begin to see take place is that you’ll start to find yourself buried under all of your stuff. I don’t mean physically of course. As you begin stripping away the stuff you start to get more and more in tune with your inner-self.
When you are forced to face your accumulation habits, you get the opportunity to find out what internal void you were really trying to fill.
During my minimalist journey, I slowly began seeing pieces of the life I really wanted to live start to emerge. I began to see how my spending habits were a way of me playing it small. No one wants to believe that they self-sabotage their own lives, but I promise, we all do it from time to time.
This is what I call the Drive-Thru Life — a way of settling for less than we actually want and convincing ourselves that we are happy with it.
If the idea of trying to connect with your inner self sounds totally overwhelming a little bit weird, I get it. It’s definitely a journey. A journey I wish I had a little more guidance on! That’s why I created the Spiritual Minimalism Membership to help take other self-seekers on a step-by-step journey to uncovering their limiting beliefs, deepest desires and then building a life they feel at ease in.
This is not a competition
I remember going into mild panic attacks when I would see someone living in a tiny house or who had a perfectly designed minimalist home. As silly as it may sound, I started to feel like I couldn’t call myself a minimalist unless I was doing it exactly like they were. Like I wasn’t quite minimalist enough.
This mindset is all wrong, although it is tough to avoid at first.
I felt guilty when I liked having my clothes.
I wondered if I was selfish for wanting a master-suite in my home. Could I really call myself a minimalist if I wanted my own private bathroom?
The answer: YES! Absolutely, yes.
Minimalism isn’t some mark you are trying to aim for on a map. It’s a journey that should be designed to fit your needs and wants. No one else even needs to be on the journey with you.
No one needs to understand it
Just like no one else needs to be involved in your minimalist journey — and competition is not necessary, it’s also important to remember that not everyone is going to get your experience.
Friends and family often think I am judging them when they purchase a new item or if they own a large home. The exact opposite is true. I love seeing people who know what they want the most from life and aren’t afraid to go after it!
If you love having a big home for entertaining, hosting guests, and dancing naked on Sundays, then, by all means, that is what you should do! In fact, minimalism is very common among some of the wealthiest people in the world!
Just like there is no need to judge anyone else for their journey (even if they are a hoarder) there is no need to accept judgment from others who want to make you feel weird or guilty for your minimalist journey.
Remember, people will always throw shade at us for things they don’t understand themselves. Especially if we are making them uncomfortable. It’s human nature to like our comfort zones and when other people venture out, it can make us feel like our own security is at stake.
So, if someone feels the need to throw a nasty comment your way, do your best to recognize this as their defense mechanism and remember that it has nothing to do with you.
Minimalism goes beyond stuff
I still talk about minimalism obsessively because even though I have pretty much reached a level of “done-ness” when it comes to the amount of stuff I own, the truth is, letting go of my stuff was just the beginning.
I kind of look at it this way.
I got rid of stuff that I didn’t want to wear which helped me get rid of the need I felt to wear what was trendy or what other people liked on me.
I decluttered stuff I felt obligated to hang onto because someone else gave it to me which helped me start making decisions that felt right for me and not everyone else.
I got more intentional about what I brought INTO my life when it came to shopping, which allowed me to spill over into the rest of my life and be more guarded as to how I spend my time, who I allow to share my energy with and what I will and will not worry about it.
If you are intentional, minimalism has the power to spill over in all areas of you life. In fact, this is the entire basis for my Spiritual Minimalism membership. Learning how to start with decluttering in a way that slowly shifts into other areas of your life and allows you to release excess garbage that you’ve been hanging onto so that you can transition your life in the direction you want to go!
Here are some other ideas to help get you started as well:
- Stop Running Errands and Get Time Back in Your Day
- 40 Ways to Reduce Your Monthly Bills
- How to Downsize Your Life from Negative People
You will fill back up again!
This crazy thing will probably start happening to you on your minimalist journey just like it did to me… you will reach a point where you want to declutter or eliminate stuff (this usually happens during times of stress when you just want to feel in control), but there is nothing left to eliminate.
The awkward feeling of having nothing left to get rid of in your life can make a person extremely uncomfortable, but let me tell you what this means.
This means that it’s time to sit with who you are and evaluate the journey you have gone on. You can begin to ask yourself questions like:
- What do I have that makes me the happiest
- How do I want to start spending my time
- Is there anything I eliminated that I really miss?
Like I said, minimalism is a journey, not a destination, but you will definitely come to some forks in the road when you aren’t sure what to do next.
Besides, the freeing feeling of decluttering can truly become intoxicating and if you have been using it as a coping mechanism (like I did) then things just might get really uncomfortable when there is no more decluttering to do. You are forced to start coping in better, healthier ways or may confront the little demons that have been lingering below the surface.
Although that might sound a little scary, I promise, there is so much freedom to be found in a life that you no longer need to escape from. There is beauty in finding contentment with the things you have and the choices you make. Let these words be your encouragement as you continue on.