I have always appreciated the renewed sense of motivation a new year brings. We look at our lives from a new point of view, and it feels as though we can begin again. Everywhere we felt as though our lives weren’t exactly measuring up, we suddenly realize the power within ourselves to strive for the life we desire.
One of my greatest resolutions for this year is to lead a more purposeful, conscious lifestyle through minimalism. The concept seems simple at first, decluttering so we feel more comfortable in our home, being conscious of purchases, but minimalism truly goes beyond a balanced bank account and an organized home. Minimalism has quite a few misconceptions about living a bare, deprived life, but I promise you you will never feel more fulfilled, focus and fueled than when you see the ripple effect onto how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally.
The effect is truly profound in that it pours over into every area of your life. It is shifting everything from my view of: parenthood, my anxiety, time-management, personal goals, self-care, my marriage and my home. My entire life has changed, and it makes me reflect on how those seemingly subtle lifestyle choices, or the seemingly small items we bring into our life can carry such a weight–a burden. Here’s what I have gained and what I have lost in my journey into minimalism. It costs you absolutely nothing, and changes absolutely everything.
I have more:
- money (for what gives lasting fulfillment: like traveling and creating for me personally)
- patience (can I get a hallelujah from fellow parents out there?)
- room to breathe
- contentment with my life
I lack nothing. I have everything that truly matters. I can’t express in words what a grateful heart, peaceful mind and released weight upon my shoulders that has blessed me with.
I have grown in my faith in ways I couldn’t have predicted prior to my lifestyle change. As I went through my home collecting all of the things that gathered dust, lacked value, and stood in the way of me finding peace within my home, I realized how God truly is a provider of more than enough. I looked around my home and no longer saw it as a burden and a nuisance to upkeep, but saw how well we were cared for. More so, I gained such fulfillment donating all of these unused, underappreciated items, knowing that they would find purpose and beauty in the eyes of the beholder who stumbled upon them next. What was more moving, was the impact that it had on my almost four-year-old (I will be sure to write a post about it soon.) Now back to what I lost in the process.
I have less:
- time squandered on chores (goodbye laundry mountain imitating Mount Everest)
- anxiety; stress; sense of being overwhelmed
- of the relentless quest for “things” only to feel guilty afterwards for their lack of use
How? It is as simple as an idea, taking root and flourishing in your mind. I decided I wanted to live a purposeful life, free from distractions and misdirection caused by things that truly have no value in the foothold of life. I lessened the distractions from my passions by lessening the excess in my life.
First the physical clutter–the junk drawer you have to jerk just to open, the bursting closet with “nothing to wear,” the playroom coated in a blanket of plastic and wood without a thread of carpet visible. After that, a beautiful, unexpected thing happened, the emotional clutter vanished as well. One clearly tied to the other, like a balancing scale off kilter and needing to be addressed. My life was off balance and I felt it every hour of every day, between the physical, emotional, and mental depletion and the lack of real traction for what mattered most in my life. I would spend days praying for nap time and counting down to bedtime, drudging through the remedial tasks I had to do. I looked to the night for the opportunity to focus on those long neglected passions, only to abandon them from a lack of energy or momentum within me. I would wake up the next day, disappointed with my lack of progress toward my personal goals and resolve that today would be different, only to fall into the same cycle.
I wanted my time back. I wanted my home under control. I wanted space to breathe (literally and figuratively.) I wanted to be free from the emotional turmoil caused by debt. I wanted to pursue my passions, have time with my children and be content within my home (hell…my life) all within one day. Not wrestling to find the scraps of time left over, mere minutes squandered by zoning out in front of a screen to refill my emotionally and physical tank to begin the cycle again the next day.
I needed to take control once and for all. The beginning was as simple as converting my closet to a capsule wardrobe. Less time spent on laundry, less time rummaging through a closet desperate for something I felt comfortable being seen in public with. I now walk into my closet loving every item I own, and getting full use of it all. I also saw the true impact it had on my day-to-day energy level and focus, and it fueled me to take it to every single room in my house.
What we need to realize is that the “stuff” we bring into our home doesn’t just affect the space it occupies, gathering dust–the excess carries a weight that bears down on:
- Our time with our children: trying to upkeep the chaos within our home
- Our marriage: Does it add to your debt and cause strain? Who hasn’t had an argument caused by anxiety over finances?
- Our outlook on our life: If we are always pinning and window shopping what we can change in our homes, our fashion, and our lives, where is there room to feel content with what we have already been blessed with (and in abundance.)
The list goes on.
Now before you think I am asking you to purge your beloved collection of books or whatever else, minimalism is about making room for what brings you joy and fulfillment. Keep your books, or whatever else adds value and joy to your life, purge whatever distracts from your passions or gets in your way.
I hope you come back soon to see a close-look of how we tackle everything from the first steps of minimalism, minimalism with kids, and even homeschooling as a minimalist. More so, I would love to hear from you about what you hope to rid yourself of and gain on this journey. I can’t wait to see where it leads!