For most of my adult life, I’ve managed to keep most shopping related impulses under control. I also had little trouble throwing things away when they no longer served a purpose. I wouldn’t say that I was a minimalist, but I did have friends make fun of the lack of decor in my home. There have been times when I felt compelled to purchase totally unnecessary items or amass things that have no use or sentimental value. I never really thought much of these impulses because they didn’t cause a financial burden or an accumulation of clutter.
What I began to notice, and found interesting, was that when I felt in control of my life I felt less attached to inanimate objects. When I wasn’t overly anxious or stressed, I didn’t shop as much and kept the spaces in our home free of clutter. However, anytime my life felt chaotic, either on the outside or in my mind, my need to feel in control seemed to take a toll on my otherwise minimalist lifestyle.
Not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you.Ali Ibn Abi Talib
This is such a counterintuitive approach to calming the chaos because accumulating more stuff is just a temporary fix to a bigger issue. It’s a bandage solution at best and definitely falls under the category of negative and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Embracing a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t mean you don’t want to own more stuff or that it becomes easy to rid your home of unnecessary possessions. I still (frequently) have inclinations to spend money on things I don’t need, and I still (occasionally) go through with it. What I try really hard not to do is buy something in order to distract myself from a negative emotion. Also, I refuse to hang onto material objects that don’t fit the criteria listed below.
To Keep Or Not To Keep
- Is it pretty? Does it make me smile?
- Is it often useful?
- Is it very sentimental?
My thoughts run rampant at times. As a friend of mine once said, “There’s a hurricane going on in here”, as she pointed to her head. As a fellow over-thinker, I totally understood what she was saying. I’ve learned that one of the best things I can do for myself is creating spaces to rest my eyes. Excess furniture, trinkets, and overflowing closets don’t allow my mind to feel at ease.
Other Benefits of Minimalism
Another benefit of minimalism is that the less you own, the less you have to clean up. I’ll repeat that. Less shit in your home equals less that a toddler can drag out, write on with permanent marker, or dive off of. I could rest my case here. But there’s one more really important reason that my husband and I have chosen to embrace minimalism. It’s because we know when we’re older, we will not care whether we have a closet full of clothes or not. We will be glad that we spent more money on experiences and creating memories than on tangible items.
I’d love to see your thoughts on a minimalist lifestyle in the comments below.