In this article you will learn the first two small steps to minimalism. Before you ever attempt to purge a single item there are baby steps to minimalism for you to consider.
Most people who hear the word minimalism think of it as an extreme lifestyle. When I first heard about minimalism I dismissed it as a concept that wasn’t suitable for families.
Minimalism is a lifestyle of choosing what is truly important instead of succumbing to life happening to you. Living life intentionally on your terms will feel so much more authentic than living a life based on others expectations.
Nobody becomes a minimalist overnight. Becoming a minimalist is an ongoing lifestyle choice. Every minimalist journey is unique because minimalism is as different as our goals.
Why Should I Become a Minimalist?
You should become a minimalist because it will save you energy, time and money.
Mental and physical energy is spent on maintaining your non-minimalist life. You put stuff in a box and put that box on a shelf, you are the only person on the planet who knows what’s in the box. It takes your mental energy to remember what you put in the box. Moving, sorting, and organizing your stuff all takes your physical presence and energy. Each time you move, sort, and organize your stuff just remember that won’t be the only time you do it.
All the time you spend cleaning, maintaining, and shifting around your stuff is time not well spent. Clutter gets dusty and you clean the dust off the items even when you shouldn’t have kept the item to begin with. You fix the uneven foot on the dresser even though the dresser is ugly and you wish you could get rid of it. Pointless items often get in the way of accessing your important items and you regularly move them out of the way to access what you need.
The money you spent on the item to begin with is gone. More important than the initial cost is the ongoing cost to keeping items in your life. You pay for a house big enough to store all the pointless items, you pay to charge the item, you pay to fix the item, you even sometimes buy more items to make the pointless item work better. There is an ongoing price you pay to keep junk.
Step 1 Towards Minimalism
In order to have a successful transition towards minimalism you will need to decide what your life goals are. Your true goals are the only thing with the ability to change your behavior.
I have yet to hear a true life goal that is aided by more stuff. Your life goals are always hindered rather than helped by more possessions. Having too much stuff prevents you from hosting the party you want to host. Worrying about your stuff keeps you from leaving for the summer to backpack through Europe. All the money you spend on stuff keeps you too broke to invest for your future wealth.
Get very clear on your real life goal. Once the path between where you are and where you want to be is clear surely you’ll be ready to take some baby steps to minimalism.
Step 2 Towards Minimalism
There are three pillars of reasoning you use when you try to rationalize keeping a physical item. As you take baby steps to minimalism you should decide how you will handle the most overused excuse.
Claiming something is sentimental is the most overused pillar of reasoning. People use sentimental value as a way to justify keeping something forever.
Putting sentimental value on an object is a choice. Just because something is old does not automatically make it sentimental. Just because an item has a story you could tell about it still does not make it sentimental.
Try to think of a time you were truly happy. Maybe it was a birthday or family gathering or a celebration of an accomplishment. Imagine where you were. Picture the clothing people wore, recall the sounds of the event, and focus on the feelings of happiness in that moment. That feeling is sentimental. You are able to have sentimental feelings without any of the objects from that memory in your presence.EXERCISE TO COMPLETE
Understanding the slippery slope of using sentimental as an excuse will be a huge help once you move on to actually purge your items.
Is Minimalism Healthy?
A defense mechanism for people uncomfortable with shifting their consumerist values is to label minimalism as un-healthy. By shifting the focus towards minimalism being the odd lifestyle it takes the focus off of the problems with consumerism.
It is not healthy to allow items to dictate how you live your life. Minimalism is a shift to focus on what is truly important in your life. Attempting to put negative labels on minimalism is your lifelong consumer mindset conditioning talking.
Minimalism for Beginners
Getting your goals and head space in order are the first baby steps to minimalism. Being able to progress into a minimalist lifestyle is dependent on your mental resolve.
Minimalism is not about making a choice once and solving the problem of having too much stuff. If you don’t become a minimalist as an ongoing lifestyle, the stuff will creep back and affect your ability to reach your goals.
If you need help kicking off your minimalism journey, jump into the Messy to Minimalist E-Course. You will find detailed lessons to help you transition from the life you’re living now to the life you’ve always wanted to live. Messy to Minimalist helps regular people become minimalists so they can use their newly discovered time, money, and energy towards creating their dream life.