Minimalism. It’s a bit of a trend right now. Some love it, some hate it, some don’t understand it. I’ve seen friends and acquaintances discuss it on social media, some feeling it just means tidying up a space. Others think its just a trendy way to describe self-discipline and immaculate houses.
Ultimately, minimalism means different things for different people, but at it’s heart, it means reducing possessions and clutter in order to lead a less stressful, more intentional lifestyle. It’s about an ordered house, yes, but it’s also about not packing your schedule full to bursting and simplifying everyday tasks.
Minimalism to me has been a massive help with my anxiety as I find freedom in decluttering and getting rid of excess things. It helps with poor money habits as I double check myself before buying anything. It’s reduced the amount of work in the kitchen as I simplify meal plans. And it’s helping me shed the guilt of saying “no” to people and things and appointments that I am not called to in this season.
In the space of what was cluttered, scrambled, rushed, or guilted, lies rest, peace, worship, and more meaningful relationships. Minimalism can be intimidating and guilt inducing for those who genuinely like the stuff they have in their space. So if you like your home and the things in it or aren’t stressed by clutter, minimalism isn’t for you. And that’s ok! If minimalism induces stress or guilt, don’t do it. That’s the opposite of what it’s meant to accomplish.
But if you’re like me and tend to be a more sensitive person who gets easily overwhelmed and finds peace in clear spaces and the art of simplicity, I can’t overhype the minimalism journey enough. So if you’re thinking of diving in, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way...
1. Minimalism is a journey, with varying levels. Some people get rid of almost EVERYTHING while others simplify, keeping the knick knacks or other items that make them happy. But its not something that happens overnight. I’ve been at this for a year now and I’m STILL finding things to get rid of and new systems for doing things. It’s about cultivating a lifestyle of intention, not about stressing over how few possessions you have. I like to think of it as a diet: if you lose the weight too fast, you’re more likely to gain it all back and then some. But gradual lifestyle changes are the steps to success.
2. Be gradual when getting rid of things you’re emotionally attached too. Don’t throw away things you’re going to regret. Instead, start small and see how you feel and go from there. Finding yourself detach emotionally from possessions is incredibly freeing!
3. Make useful things beautiful. For me, I’ve hung onto only a few Knick-knacks and instead decorate my home with photos and fresh flowers. If I feel the space is too sparse, I dress up the necessary things. For instance, I’ve covered light-switch plates with pretty paper, displayed my tea in mason jars, and organized my library in a way that’s decorative. It’s an excellent opportunity for creativity and it re-familiarizes you with what you have.
4. Don’t compare to other minimalists. You’ll always find someone with a better system, less stuff, or a cleaner house. It’s not a competition. Instead, take time to learn what you admire and find inspiration in other people’s efforts.
Are you on a minimalism journey? I would love to hear about it and/or see photos of your home! Email them or leave them in the comments!