I have struggled to find the words over the last few years to really explain what minimalism means to me. When I read books on the topic or see blog posts or tips on how to practice minimalism I feel like most of the stuff only scratches the surface. Have less. Own less. Clear your space. But why. Can we talk more about the why. Is there a way to make people realize this actually isn’t about the stuff? How do you find the words to say that? “Yeah, I mean, I don’t own much stuff but it doesn’t really have anything to do with my stuff or my home or clutter…Well, kind of the clutter. That shit drives me crazy.” I haven’t quite yet found my voice as you can tell, but, let’s give this a try and maybe we’ll both learn something.
Detaching from things
Working to detach yourself from your things has so many more benefits than just having less to clean and maintain. There is a freedom in connection with yourself with our your stuff.
Financially you can begin to find yourself with more money on your hands and less temptation to spend on things that used to bring you temporary joy.
If you love the idea of simplifying your stuff, life and in turn maximizing your money so that you can live with more freedom and flexibility, be sure to check out Rich Minimalist.
I am not my things
This was the phrase I remember reading a Wayne Dyer book (Rest In Peace) some odd years ago. It literally perked me up from my hunched-over reading position and made me start evaluating my life. How much stuff had I been defining myself with?
My clothes – I wanted to look the part of a woman who was worthy of love and attention.
The house – I wanted a house that made people feel I was worthy of respect.
My wedding ring – Big diamonds are special, right? So, I need one to be special.
Sitting there, in my big reading chair it all hit me like a ton of bricks.
I was just covering up my insecurities with well-planned stuff.
If I eliminate these things, maybe I’ll find me
Next step: get rid of the things.
What clothes did I actually like in my closet? What were the things I wanted to wear every day, but opted out of because they weren’t the newest things?
Did these shoes actually make me happy or did I just feel like I could be someone else when I stepped into them?
For me, it all started in the closet. Quite literally removing the layers until I was forced to be metaphorically naked with myself. (Let’s be clear, I didn’t just hang out in my closet in full-blown nudity.)
What would I wear if I wasn’t told what to look like?
How would I style my hair if I didn’t know what was acceptable?
You are all sheep
In a major over-correction I went into full blown stuff-hating mode.
If there was a group of people standing on a street corner holding signs that said things like, “STUFF STINKS” or “Quit hiding behind your brand label.” I probably would have been a part of it.
You know how it goes…unique individual doesn’t want to build an identity around being like everyone else, so they build an identity around being so different from everyone else…but ultimately are still letting everyone else dictate who they are and how they behave. Yeah, that was me.
Basically, I thought dressing more like a homeless person somehow showed the world that I wasn’t materialistic. Ooo look at me, I’m so woke.
I guess I kind of like stuff
No matter how hard I tried, I’d still eyeball the occasional cute top or shoes.
The thing that was different was that I was actually recognizing the things that I like. You see before, I used to shop with this sneaky voice in my head saying,
“Oh hubby likes sweaters. I should buy this sweater. He would totally love it.” (AKA he’ll totally love me more)
“I think (insert woman who I perceived to be better than me) would wear something like this. I should get it.” (AKA if I look more like her, I can be her. Not me.)
“Sexy women on TV wear stuff like this. I should get this.” (AKA For the love of God, people, I need you to love me.)
Wow, this all feels super awesome to admit. Just kidding.
After clearing through my closet and only keeping the stuff I had always wanted to wear I started to actually get an idea of what I liked. What I felt comfortable in. What my own unique person actually enjoyed.
On top of that, I had stopped buying new clothes and only accepted hand-me-downs from friends. This was super handy because those friends hadn’t spent 25 years with the same voice in their head.
By accepting their hand-me-downs I was introduced to a wide range of clothing that didn’t fit the mold I was trying to create for myself. Things like oversized cardigans and dresses that didn’t cling to my butt cheeks.
Slowly I was gaining a clearer picture of what I actually liked. Me as an individual…not me as a people-pleasing person desperate to be accepted.
I began to realize that by accepting my own unique style, I was fully accepting myself.
So me, what should we do with our life?
Alright, so I’m starting to find me and what she actually likes because I’ve stopped trying to cover her up with stuff. Now what?
What does this person actually like to do? How does she want to spend her time? Has she been living her life and spending her time tying to be who other people want her to be?
Oh yeah, definitely. Definitely she’s doing that.
I started tapping in. Pausing. Asking myself, “Do you want to do this?“
Turns out there are a lot of things I don’t want to do:
- Volunteer my time on the weekends. #familytime
- Cardio. Just stop the madness.
- Spend time with people whose conversation makes me want to put my head in a vice. That’s kind of mean, but not really all that exaggerated.
- Keep bending over backwards for people who don’t even slightly tilt themselves for me.
- Watch stupid movies.
- Crafts. **shudders**
So I stopped. I stopped giving up my time and my energy to things that frankly, I didn’t want to do. How empowering…and totally terrifying to that little voice inside that said, “Oh my gosh, you’re going to have no one left! Like literally no one is going to like you. You will inevitably be left abandon and alone. Good going. You should have just slapped on some Victoria’s Secret and kept living a lie.”
High maintenance bad ass
You know what happens when you start showing up for your life unapologetically? OMG you finally get to live! Like actually live. Experience true freedom.
You are a human walking around this world knowing exactly who you are and what you will never be reduced to again.
You know those awful things you used to dread on your calendar? Those things are gone now! You don’t have to smile through them.
That panic you felt when someone didn’t like you? Not to be weird, but that doesn’t happen anymore. For real. There are one of 2 potential reasons for this:
- When you like yourself everyone else likes you too!
- When you like yourself you don’t give a flying F who doesn’t like you. It doesn’t even register anymore.
Either way…it’s a good place to be.
You spend your time how you want.
You spend your life how you want.
You wear what you want.
Minimalism was never about the stuff. It was simply a jumping off point to uncovering who you are and what you are capable of when you aren’t being weighed down.
I highly suggest you start finding out. The world needs YOU.
Life after stuff
In deciding to take back my life, my time and my personality, I started working to design my entire life around the belief that I should be spending my precious time on earth doing whatever it is I feel called to do. (Call me crazy.)
Unfortunately, my obsession with stuff had done a number on a lot of areas in my life, including my finances.
So after I got intentional about life with less stuff obsession, I decided to get more intentional about making my money match my dreams.
In just 3 years I was able to:
To take it a step further, I decided to create an online course that shows other people how they can do the same: simplify their lives, align with who they really are and then prep their finances to match. It’s called Rich Minimalist. Click here and use code: FUNSIZED to save 10%!