For years, I’ve been on a perpetual hunt for clarity, peace, and contentment in my life.
Yes, I am a believer in Jesus Christ, and find meaning and purpose in my relationship with God.
However, when I surveyed my surroundings, I found myself drowning in a sea of clutter, things that no longer served a purpose in my life.
The KonMari Method Was A Start
When I downsized in the Summer of 2018 from a 2 to 1 bedroom apartment, I knew I had to get rid of stuff.
I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and watched tons of YouTube videos where people shared how applying this decluttering principle, the KonMari Method, changed their lives.
So, I decided to give the KonMari Method a try and proceeded to declutter my entire apartment in preparation for my move.
I appreciated the process of contemplating which clothing items and books sparked joy for me. I thought it allowed me to make good decisions about what to keep and what to let go of.
However, if you are familiar with the KonMari Method, you’ll notice that I left out the last two categories: Komono (miscellaneous), and sentimental items.
After finishing the first three, I ran out of steam. My Komono clutter was massive! I struggled with applying the joy-sparking purging method to these areas because there was so.much.stuff.
Instead, I got rid of larger items I knew wouldn’t fit in my smaller space. Everything else I sorted through haphazardly, spending little time deciding on their usefulness.
I ended up bring lots of things with me to my new apartment that I rarely use.
Add those to the items that I have slowly acquired since moving, I am now back to living in a cluttered space.
I realized that, while the KonMari Method is a helpful decluttering method, I really needed to evaluate why certain possessions sparked joy for me in the first place. What purpose were those things serving in my life?
The first time I really understood the term minimalism used was from watching a documentary by The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.
It was truly eye-opening and led to me researching other self-described minimalists via their blogs and YouTube channels.
Out of all of the interpretations of minimalism, here is a definition of minimalism that most resonates with me:
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.Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist
During this discovery process, I also learned that minimalism is a very polarizing topic, with people living at one extreme or the other.
Some people choose to forgo all possessions except those they can literally carry in a backpack.
Others choose a simple, utilitarian aesthetic in their homes and wardrobes.
Still others go for a comfortable minimalism, where you might not know they are minimalist at first glance of their homes. They have a number of possessions, but only those they love and value.
As I start my journey, I am sure I’ll discover where I fall on this spectrum. My guess is that it’ll be somewhere between utilitarian and comfortable.
Although there are many things that have inspired this journey, I have identified 3 overarching reasons prompting me to embark upon a minimalist lifestyle.
Excess Things Are Stealing My Time
I thrive on having routines for pretty much everything I do. I’m not perfect or always consistent, but routines keep me focused.
Each of these involves steps I take for my productivity, health, and wellness.
But, my cleaning routine is truly a chore. Most of the time, I dread cleaning my apartment.
You’d think cleaning would be a breeze for me, since I downsized to a smaller space and KonMari’d my previous apartment before I moved.
Nope. I still have a lot of stuff to clean and maintain. I am constantly shuffling things around from surface to surface, room to room. Not only do I dust surfaces, I have to dust the things on those surfaces.
There’s also washing dishes, doing laundry, putting things away in bins, and tidying. It never ends, and it’s taking up so much time.
I want that time back and plan to make it happen by living with less stuff.
To Maintain My Debt Free Lifestyle
When I made that epic decision to pay off my remaining student loan debt at the end of 2018, I did so with the intention of never accumulating debt again.
Because minimalism forces you to critically evaluate things you bring into your life, I believe that it will help me achieve my goal to remain debt-free.
Although my debt-freedom was as much a faith move (because I used 2/3 of my savings to pay it off) as it was a money move, it still wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been responsible in the following areas:
- following a budget
- living below my means
- practicing delayed gratification
- not buying things I didn’t need
The truth is that had I not practiced the financial principles above, I would have spent that saved money on things instead of using it to pay off debt.
Minimalism will help me live an intentional life where I place less value on things.
To Have More Freedom To Pursue My Passions
Over my 20+ years of earning and spending money, I have to admit that many of the career choices I made were based on how much money I would make.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this. It is no surprise that people expect to earn a good living and be fairly compensated for their hard work.
The problem comes in when you feel obligated or compelled to take a job solely based on salary, in order to maintain a consumerist lifestyle.
This was me several years ago, when I had a habit of spending lots of money on furniture and home decor.
I was a new homeowner and couldn’t stand the sight of empty rooms. I felt like I needed to furnish every inch of my 3800 square foot house, even though I was the only person living in it.
So, I accepted job offers with higher salaries than the job I was leaving. These decisions were not about saving, investing, or being more generous. Honestly, I wanted to continue to shop.
Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since then. Now, I only apply for jobs with flexible hours that allow me time to pursue my passions. Salary is still important to me, but it is not the most important thing.
Because I’ll be less focused on things, living a minimalist lifestyle will make it even easier for me to say no opportunities that are not in alignment with my passions and purpose.
Are You Considering A Minimalist Lifestyle?
I am so excited to start this journey and look forward to sharing more of it with you!