5 Benefits of a Minimalist Life

We are about two years into our minimalist journey, and it really has had a huge impact on our lives, so much so I wanted to share the benefits we have found.

When I talk about minimalism, I often refer to it as a ‘journey’, it’s something we still work on every day.  Even after two years, it’s only recently I have become comfortable referring to myself as a minimalist.

It’s a common misconception when talking about minimalism, that people think of the aesthetic or the trend, rather than a mindset. People think of pristine white kitchens, with expensive furniture and green plants. Whilst I think that some minimalists aspire to that image, its core meaning is much deeper.

To me, minimalism is intentionality. A focus on whats important, by intentionally removing the things that arn’t important.

5 Benefits of a Minimalist Life

  1. You will have more money.

    Without unnecessary purchases, you will have more money. We find ourselves investing in better quality goods. I spend hours researching purchases to make sure its both a good investment and something I love. The extra money could also go towards reducing debt, reducing hours at work or pursuing a dream. Whilst reducing debt doesn’t sound exciting, being debt free definitely does! Our aim is to pay off our mortgage before we are 40, so we can travel and consider early retirement.

  2. You will spend less time cleaning.

    We have fewer things in our house, meaning less to clean. An empty worktop can be cleaned in seconds. A clear floor can be vacuumed or mopped easily. We own fewer clothes now too, meaning the clothes mountain doesn’t mount up, and it’s easier to wash, iron and put away. I am working on building a capsule wardrobe for myself and the children to help reduce ‘clothes mountain’

  3. You will be more mindful of waste

    I have to be honest; before we started living a simpler life, I didn’t really think much about the impact on the environment. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, it just didn’t cross my mind. Now when I visit the waste recycling center it really does make me feel a little bit sick. The sheer amount of things that go to landfill that could be recycled or reused in some way.  I am a much more mindful consumer now and find it really sad that even fruit and vegetables often come packaged in plastics. Small changes do make a significate difference, anything you can do to minimise waste is positive.

  4. You will have more focus.

    Clutter really is distracting, it creates noise and it can have a negative impact on your work. A lot of research has proven that multitasking is bad for productivity and that switching back and forth between tasks is a waste of energy because it takes our brains a while to refocus. In the same way, noise from clutter can distract us and our thought process, making it harder to concentrate.

  5. You will learn more about yourself

    Minimalism is a journey of self-discovery. By removing the possessions, commitments, and values that are no longer important, you begin to discover what is important and what adds meaning to your life. I once read that;

    Passion + Values = Meaning

    Minimalism encourages you to follow those passions, and focus on those values, encouraging you to live a fulfilling, fun, and meaningful life.

These are the 5 benefits I have found through living a simpler, more minimalist life.

What benefits of minimalism have you found?

 

Minimalism – Our Journey So Far

Our journey into minimalism started around 6 months ago. I was struggling with anxiety and depression, and I knew I had to make some positive changes to our lifestyle. I was in denial about this for a long time, I felt ashamed. I had a beautiful healthy family, a supportive husband and a comfortable home. I felt like I had no reason to feel anxious or depressed.

My confidence was low, some days I couldn’t even face going outside. I hated making  plans because I would dread keeping them and look for reasons to cancel. I was letting my anxiety affect the children.

I knew things needed to change, and I knew that change had to start with me.

Minimalism And Commitments

The first thing I did was to try to simplify our lives. A hectic schedule and too many commitments were contributing to how I was feeling. I felt like I had too many plates spinning and they were all dropping. I took a long, hard look at my commitments and cut back. It didn’t feel like it immediately, but it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

I researched online for inspiration and my search lead to articles about minimalism. Everything I read made sense. I read a book by Marie Kondo called “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and I found myself nodding along. At the time I just saw minimalism as possessions based, but since then I’ve learned it’s about so much more.

Minimalism And Possessions

Our next task was to simplify our possessions and live with less. Less possessions mean less to tidy, clean, organise and store. Leaving me and Mr T more time to spend with the children and each other.

When we started looking we found hundreds of things we had been storing which had no purpose. From spare kitchen utensils and to gadgets we never use and at least 50 cups in the cupboard. Donating the things we no longer need has been rewarding.

I also realized my motives behind keeping things, I want to make our house a home with things we all really love. I want our home to reflect our family, our values and our passions.

We had been holding on to things I thought we should keep because it would make someone else happy.  Now I want to surround us with things that hold true memories or meaning to our family.

Minimalism Is Intentionality

This quote from Joshua at  Becoming Minimalist sums it up pretty well.

It is marked by clarity, purpose, and intentionality. At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality. And as a result, it forces improvements in almost all aspects of your life.

Minimalism Means Something Different to Every Person

Some minimalist’s live with less than 100 things, some live with many more. The thing they have in common is that they are all living purpose-driven lives. After years of not knowing what direction I wanted my career to take, I know what direction I want it to head. Towards happiness.

I want to become self-employed and I want my career to be in the industry I love. I want my career to fit around our lifestyle and children, because my family is my main passion.

Minimalism Is Self Discovery

Minimalism is a journey to self discovery. I know much more about myself, my likes and dislikes and my passions than I did before. I am happy to let my passions shine through and I feel happier in my own skin.

Minimalism Is A Journey

It isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the time and effort it takes. I still wouldn’t class myself as a minimalist. The changes we have made havent happened overnight, and I have a feeling we have a way to go.

coffee

Our plans for the next few months.

Project333

I have always loved the idea of having a smaller capsule wardrobe. A few weeks ago I read about something called #project333. Project 333 is a challenge to use a capsule wardrobe of 33 items for 3 months. (Read more about it here from Courtney from BeMoreWithLess). After reading a few posts I decided to take a look inside my wardrobe. I was amazing at how many items of clothing I own, especially as I didn’t think I had much!

A lot of the clothes I have received from friends and family, some were the wrong size, ill-fitting or didn’t suit me. I had been storing these just incase and some had still had their tags.

I have already sorted through a pile of clothes to donate, and packed away a box of clothes that are too small but nice. At my last count I still had over 100 items in my wardrobe! I am looking forward to giving the project a go after my holiday in August.

Free Space

My mission is to create some free space in our home. We are good at keeping our surfaces clutter free, except for toys and ironing which always find a way back. The tops of wardrobes and cupboards, and under beds aren’t so lucky and are home to lots of things. The problem is they get put their and forgotten about. My plan is to make some pretty box’s to store non-seasonal clothes on top of wardrobes. I want to keep the tops of our kitchen cupboards empty, as it makes the kitchen look tidied. I want to make some small shoe storage to sit inside our wardrobe, and to clear the things stored under our bed.

Self-sufficiency

One of our aims is to become more self-sufficient and have a smaller footprint by growing our own food. Growing itself is rewarding, but the other advantages are exercise, healthy food and minimal cost. The children love it, and I love the education and excuse for us to be together out of reach of wifi distractions.

We would like to utilise the second growing season so our allotment produces food all the way through winter, so my next plan is to research and plan our allotment for winter. This will be trial and error as we can only guess when the plants that are growing will be ready for harvest!

6 Ways That Minimalism Helped Me Cope With Anxiety and Depression

Since Ava’s birth (May 2015), I have been finding life hard. It was mostly due to no sleep, four children aged 6 and under, having an endless list of work to do and having no time for myself.  I felt like I was trying to keep too many plates spinning, and dropping them all. I felt like a failure, and my brave face was wearing really thin. There was much more too it than that, but took me a long while to accept that I had anxiety & depression.

I realised that something had to change and that change had to start with me. My first step was to cut back on some commitments,  Mr T was doing his best to ease the pressure at home, but I still felt exhausted and followed the children to bed most nights.

Minimalism

I was determined to simplify things further, and I began to research ways to simplify our lives. I stumbled into reading about minimalism and found myself nodding along, it made sense, and fit with what we had been trying to achieve for years financially.

Minimalism really has helped more than I imagined it would. If you walked into my house you wouldn’t think ‘oh, yeah, a minimalist lives here’. but you might think, ‘Are there really four children aged 6 and under living here?

6 Ways That Minimalism Helped Me Cope With Anxiety and Depression

  1. Time. I spend less time sorting and organising and tidying the things we do have, and more time doing the things that make me happy
  2. It feels cleaner. There is something about walking into a kitchen with clean, clutter free work-tops that makes me feel happy. Swinging my feet out of bed and finding my slippers, instead of knocking over a pile of books. Is it any cleaner than it was before? Not really, but the clutter is gone and our home feels instantly tidy.
  3. I feel content. I no longer spend hours searching online for a ‘bigger’ house, because I truly believe this house is a good fit for our family, and with some love and work to get it exactly how we want it, it can be our castle. We didn’t need a bigger home, we just needed ‘less’ stuff.
  4. Self-discovery. The basic principle I’ve followed is to remove anything that isn’t practical and doesn’t bring us joy. The things we have left are the things that truly make us happy and define us.
  5. Clarity & vision. Clearing the clutter has helped me see other areas of my life more clearly too, and I have a much clearer vision for the future.
  6. Happiness. Being surrounded by things that make me smile is amazing, they were there before; but I can see them more clearly now.

Minimalism is a journey

It’s not a miracle cure, but it’s definitely helped. I am still fighting the lows, but I am determined to see the positives in every day.

Minimalism is a journey, but not one that I understood before I started. My journey is only just beginning, and the positives are amazing.

If you want to read more about minimalism I recommend the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo and the website Becoming Minimalist

cup

 

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