Minimalism appeals to me, because it makes me focus on what I truly love and need. One of my favorite blogs is Zen Habits. I started reading Zen Habits for the productivity tips, but lately I’ve been fascinated with Leo’s simple guide to a minimalist life. If you were to come into my home, you’d never guess that I even think about minimalism. My home isn’t a disaster area, but it has plenty of clutter. It’s definitely well lived in.
So why does the minimalist lifestyle appeal to me? I see several benefits.
Minimalism Means Less Clutter
I have lots of clutter in my house, and I hate it. I would love to actually have a place for everything, but in order to do that, I need to get rid of a lot of stuff. I don’t have a garage, and my outside storage shed is very small. So everything I store would need to fit in one of my five closets. I have to admit, I like the thought of only owning as much stuff as I can fit comfortably in my house.
Minimalism Means Less Waste
If I bring less stuff home, I don’t have as much opportunity to waste. I really try hard not to waste anyway, but sometimes that’s hard in a cluttered home. If the refrigerator or freezer gets cluttered, I forget what I have, and sometimes the yogurt hiding behind the milk goes bad.
The same goes for clothes. If I own the minimal amount of clothing I need to get by, I’m not likely to forget about an outfit hanging at the back of the closet. I can’t count how many times that happened when my daughter was a baby. She had so many baby clothes, that I’d forget exactly what she had. Then I’d pull out an outfit, only to find that she had outgrown it already.
Minimalism Means Learning to be Content
I really believe that having an overabundance of stuff breeds discontentment. It seems that the more things a person has, the more they need. I know that’s true in my life. When I have the ability to buy more, I find that I start buying to fill some sort of unmet need in my life. By cutting down the amount of stuff I allow myself to buy, I force myself to deal with my discontentment. I need to learn to be content with what I have and find satisfaction in my relationship with God, my family life, and with who I am as a person.
Minimalism Means Really Loving What I Have
By forcing myself to cut down on the amount of stuff I own, I cut out the stuff that I’m ambivalent about. By embracing minimalism, I cut out everything but what I really love.
I remember reading Little House in the Big Woods as a child, and I remember reading about Laura and her doll, Charlotte. Laura LOVED Charlotte. I think she loved her so much because Charlotte was her only doll. Charlotte was precious. Charlotte was special. How many things do I own that I consider to be truly special? My photographs are special. Everything else? Not so much.
Though I doubt I have it in me to become truly minimalist, I am setting a goal for getting rid of stuff. Cutting my things to what I really use and love lends itself to my quest to live a more frugal life. So by the end of the year, I will go through every room in my house and get rid of what I don’t use or love. And to be really frugal, I’ll sell what I can and put it toward my debt.
For more on minimalism, be sure to check out Leo Babatua’s books:
- The Simple Guide to a Mimimalist Life
- Zen Habits: Handbook for Life
- Zen to Done
This is a good article, I learned a lot, thank you.
My mother-in-law is a minimalist and she really knows how to stretch the food budget.
Embrace the essential and the truth will be forthcomming
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I love Leo’s work and his guides are quite helpful. Minimalism is an ongoing process for me and I can honestly I am happier with much less…
I love this post :) I am starting in my teens so I don’t have stuff to hold me down when I’m older, and living in a smalller space. I find that having less stuff does free the mind and you have more time and money to volunteer and donate, opposed to cleaning your house all the time and spending your money on useless stuff.
Just got rid of alot of my books I’ve read and the clothes that are too baggy on me now… I lost 30 pounds this year for my new years resolution. XD
In Florida, most of us do not have an attic for storage. None of us have a cellar. Some of us have no garage either. Some people have an extra bedroom which is their storage room. Others use a metal lawn shed. Still others pay for a storage unit so that they don’t have too much clutter around. I think if we had cellars or/and attics we would apppear to be minimalists even if we aren’t. I guess what I am saying is minalmalism is more challenging in some environments than others. Where do you put all those Christmas decorations and family memorabilia if you have no attic or cellar?
I’m using Fresh News by Woo Themes. There’s a link in my blog footer.
Great blog and wonderful posts by all. I have been on a de-cluttering project over the course of the last 3 years and within that time have relocated once.
It’s amazing how our possessions and the quantities are revealed when we do move.
I have always maintained that society has conditioned us to acquire an overabundance of material goods, along with the implications that we will be “secure”. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s also sad that we are measured individually by what we possess.
As a matter of fact, I have actually gained more from purging and decluttering:
Time not wasted looking for things.
A peace of mind. In fact, an organized mind is a peaceful one, lol.
Money saved that is not spent impulsively.
If I do move again it will be a cheaper, quicker, safer and more efficient move.
Helps the environment
Someone else is enjoying and benefiting from what I no longer need.
Freedom from chaos, clutter and confusion!
Actually, as mentioned here loving and enjoying the things I do keep more.
I will also close with the fact that having less does NOT mean that one is boring. In fact,it’s the total opposite. I can devote more time to those people and things that matter most!
Glenda~ Try Messies.com It may be just what you need/want to get started. It helps me. Thanks for your honesty and sharing.
where do I start its so overwhelming!!! I just dont start because I dont know where to start, I kinda a pack rat, and didnt have a lot growing up, so I tend to hold on for dear life. Help.
Getting rid of clutter is easier than you might think. If you can focus on a few feet of floor space a day, it’s done in no time.
Via a few fluke things in my life the past few months, I have started living a minimalist lifestyle. I plan to leave for a trip to Australia in the summer with no plans once I get there and hopefully on to other countries. It was rough getting to where I am but worth the hardships.
Currently working passive/residual forms of income so I don’t have to attend to and manage my ventures on the road. More free time to play!
This site inspired me to keep going with my declutterization. It is definately a transition. I’m trying to unwind habits engrained generations. My grandmother lived during the great depression, although she does not clutter she does not waste. My mother on the other hand is a clutter bug. I grew up very poor, so I think the junk was like a security thing for her. I can not avoid the “stuff” anymore! It’s out of here and I’m breaking the cycle!
O boy O boy . . . this is a wonderful website for me. I come to this concept LATE in life . . . and do begin to understand the great value of minimal acquiring and lifestyle.
I do find it hard to part with family heirlooms,but when there is no one who has interest in the mementos and trinkets of a lifetime, one finds a way to agree that the Universe will make good use of them whatever they are and of whatever has value. I am reminded of the Auctioneer at the first big Jackie Kennedy Auction where ” the trappings of her life” were sold at auction. WOW~! I heard that…”TRAPPINGS” . . . that is what a lot of keeping the possessions begins to be . . . and more and more I want the independence, which comes with minimalistic living. Being freed up to do more of the undone dreams, rather than holding on those completed . . . and then not always completed by me, but by others no longer here! I won’t try to be a PURIST on the concept, but I sure am going to give it my best determination and intention, and by golly I will get back to this Website when I have scored the first goal.
Thanks for all the great insights. Good to see how not alone I am in this.~
what we call minimalism to be strived for is a natural way of life for many of our brothers and sisters on this planet. I find it a daily challenge to go deeper into de-cluttering and de-consuming. I bring very little in, yet I want less and less all the time. I grew up with plenty so maybe it is easier to understand that more can be had if needed. I currently am an unemployed student so I cannot waste anything like money…it is the Pareto rule 20/80 20% of your stuff is used 80% of the time.
Great post Lynnae. On the other hand my home is a disaster area. It’s a little tough when you have seven people living under one room.
For those with stuffed animal clutter, check with churches and foster care agencies in your area. I got rid of two huge bags of stuffed animals, as well as a huge pile of large tote bags and small luggage that way.
Plus I like to think that it helped kids who came from less than ideal home lives into a slightly better one.