This new era of simplicity brings us back to fundamentals or those core values of family, community and consciousness. Living a life of minimalism does not mean that we have to deprive ourselves. On the contrary, minimalism means that we rid ourselves of the excess. It means that we pause, take a breath and evaluate what is most important to us. It means that we look deep inside ourselves to find out what we need to feel at peace, to feel content, to feel free. Here is a great perspective on living a minimal life from the blogger, The Everyday Minimalist:
A Minimalist’s Train of Thought
- Less money spent means more money saved
- More money saved means the longer you can live in financial peace and security
- Financial peace and security comes from owning less
- Less stuff owned means less to carry around, move or have to travel with
- Less responsibility for your stuff also means less maintenance and more time
- The more time you have, the more relaxed you will feel
- The more relaxed you are, the less you will care about stuff
- If you care less about stuff, it means you’ll care less about image
- If you care less about image, you will care more about experiences and memories
- If you care more about experiences and memories, you will be happier with less
- If you are happier with less, you’ll never want or need for more
- The less you want or need for more, the more you will feel free
So how do we begin to untangle ourselves from the rat race and simplify? Here are five things you can do right now to begin living a more minimal and fulfilled life.
Step 1: Take out a pen and paper. Make a list of the 5 most important goals in your life. If you know what is most important to you, then you can focus on achieving these core goals without wasting energy and resources on other things. Once you have established an outline for your life, using these 5 major goals, everything else will fall into place.
Step 2: Purge your belongings. Most of us wear only 20% of our wardrobes 80% of the time. That means that we have closets full of unnecessary clothes, shoes and accessories. The common rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn it or used it in a year, donate it, sell it or recycle it. Purging the unnecessary items from your home not only frees up physical space, but it also frees up mental space. If you don’t own it any more, you don’t have to concern yourself with washing it, dusting it, repairing it, etc.
Step 3: Organize what is left. Assign a home to everything from paper clips to toothpaste. Clutter is the enemy of simplicity. If our counter tops are cluttered with paper and our closets cluttered with stuff, our minds will also be cluttered. In the Chinese practice of Feng Shui, clutter prevents the Chi or Life Energy from circulating freely. If our Life Energy is blocked, we will experience anxiety, stress and discomfort. A clean an organized space is a calm and peaceful space.
Step 4: Learn to say no and not only to new purchases, but to social engagements and other commitments. Minimalism not only applies to our physical belongings but also to our work and social calendars. When we commit ourselves to living a simple life, we also commit to freeing ourselves from the social pressures of keeping up with the latest and greatest, whether it is the latest electronic gadget or the greatest neighborhood hot spot. Take time to enjoy a simple home cooked meal with your family. Instead of a night out on the town, curl up on the couch with a DVD and some popcorn. Is your boss asking you to work voluntary overtime on the weekends? Sure the extra money would be great, but spending the day relaxing with a good book would be even better.
Step 5: Tap into your creativity. Instead of purchasing a new gift to give a family member for their birthday, give them an experience, a memory, they will remember like a day trip to the beach or a hike through the Blue Mountains. Experiment in the kitchen and cook exotic meals for your family. Food is such a fun way to bring people together and to create wonderful memories. Host a themed potluck dinner such as a Hawaiian Luau and invite all your friends to bring a dish. Sign up for an art class or poetry workshop. Learn to play an instrument. By accessing our creative side, we nourish our souls, calm our frazzled minds and uplift our spirits.
Again, living a minimal life does not have to be about going without. It is about embracing what you have, assessing what is superfluous and finding new ways to be content and happy in the present moment. It is about living consciously and being aware of the impact of your choices, your words and your actions. So, take the time to slow down…breathe…and enjoy the journey of a life well lived.
Corey R. Breneisen is an artist, teacher, mother and green revolutionary. She is on the constant look out for ways to simplify life and inspire creativity. When she is not chasing after little people or working in her studio, she can be found hanging out in her hammock enjoying the Jamaican sunshine.