Minimalist Life: Why Uncluttered Space Means Uncluttered Mind
Optimizing life is the only way to survive in today’s busy, fast-paced world. With everything happening so fast, it becomes increasingly hard to stay calm and balanced.
It looks like the smartest approach is to learn to prioritize and accept the fact that, in most cases, less is more. In other words, it’s time to begin living a minimalist lifestyle.
Today, I'd love to discuss how minimalism can help our mental health and share insights from Kimberly Friedmutter — successful minimalist, life management expert, and the author of Subconscious Power.
Why Uncluttered Space Equals an Uncluttered Mind
If statistics don’t lie, there’s a clutter epidemic happening in the US these days. On average, there are around 300,000 items in a typical American home. As much as 1 in 10 Americans rent offsite storage because they need additional space for the possessions they’ve gathered.
The worst part is that it’s not just adults. Kids are affected by this clutter epidemic, too. It’s crazy but 40% of the toys consumed globally are owned by American kids who make only 3.1% of the world’s children.
And it’s not just in America — according research conducted in Britain, the average 10-year-old in the UK owns a whopping 238 toys (but regularly plays with no more than 12).
In a world like this, it’s no wonder we feel the urge to shift from clutter to minimalism.
As Kimberly Friedmutter explains, our surrounding has a paramount impact on our state of mind:
“A clean minimalist design means clarity of mind, clear thinking, freedom of creation, and endless time. It’s as if the space allowed in the design is filled with the essence of its inhabitants as opposed to ‘things’.”
In fact, it’s not just a feeling. Mess does cause stress, and it is backed by science. Research conducted in the University of New Mexico in 2016 showed that clutter compromises our perception of home and prevents us from feeling satisfaction with life. It might be because most of us identify ourselves with our home environments so deeply that a cluttered home inevitably prevents us from achieving a state of well-being.
The life story of our guest Kimberly is yet more proof. Kimberly says she felt the urge for minimalism when she became fully engaged in business life — when she started her hypnotherapy practice and became inundated not only with a busy schedule of her own but also with thoughts and needs of her clients. The need for minimalism became so obvious:
“I was designing a new home at the time, and too many design elements felt gluttonous, crowded, and claustrophobic. My creative mind literally needed the physical space clear and mindfully planned out so I could think. It was as simple as that. Cluttered surroundings, cluttered thinking. Clear surroundings, clear thinking.”
Begin Living a Minimalist Lifestyle is Easy
There’s a common misconception that it takes a lot of effort to become a minimalist.
However, unless you’re planning to go radical and limit your possessions to 30 or fewer items, becoming a minimalist should not be stressful.
If you plan to approach minimalism gradually and, most importantly, if you know your own “why,” the shift will be comfortable and smooth.
“It was purely organic and happened ‘to’ me as opposed to an actual decision ‘by’ me,” explains Kimberly Friedmutter, “I literally could not make myself attracted to too many things. The feeling of the minimalist concept was so freeing, expansive, and liberating; I felt emancipated by the chains of crowded living.”
Begin Living a Minimalist Lifestyle is Difficult
Although switching to a minimalist life is not a brain surgery, it’s still a lifestyle change, which means some willpower and effort is still required.
If you’ve been gathering possessions for years and feel attached to many things, you’ll have to learn to detach. As Kimberly suggests, you don’t necessarily need to own things to enjoy them: “I’m obsessed with home decor items and new innovative ways of living. I constantly remind myself to enjoy the item in the store rather than bringing it all home.”
According to Kimberly, becoming a minimalist takes strong decision-making skills. As she explains, the first steps are all about “the constant assessment of what goes, what stays.” This act of willpower, however, is rewarded by “a real enlightenment moment of who you’ve become rather than who you were when you originally chose certain items.”
For Kimberly, it is literally about outgrowing the clutter and evolving into the comfort and expansiveness of space.
Tips on Becoming Minimalist
Although there’s no one-size-fits-all formula on how to switch to minimalism, there are particular steps that can help you kick-start the process.
- Revise your possessions. Categorize all you have into three groups: to keep, to donate, to get rid of. Sorry for a hint at the obvious but category names are also calls-to-action.
- Take a look at your budget and set limits. Minimalism is about your relationships with money, too. You need to take a look at your regular spending, find out what spending is not worth it, and optimize your budget accordingly.
- Evaluate your social life. Spend some time analyzing who you spend your time with. If there’re connections that bring you no value in terms of positive emotions, self-development, or anything else you think is important, think again if such connections should still be a part of your life.
- Evaluate your ambitions and goals, set priorities. Sit down in quite and make a list of what you want to achieve in your life. Then prioritize your goals from most to least important. Use this list as a reference each time you’re in doubt. Ask yourself “Will this decision/action/purchase take me closer to my biggest goals?” This practice helps to filter out all the unnecessary without much effort.
- Take it one small step at a time. Becoming a minimalist overnight isn’t realistic, so don’t even waste your time. A much smarter decision would be to switch to it gently, optimizing one aspect of your life a time.
And for the finals, here’s a piece of advice from our guest Kimberly Friedmutter:
“Stay at a minimalist hotel or resort for your next vacation and see if the appeal sticks. You will know how it fits your lifestyle because you will either feel so happy to return to your home to your things or when you return home you will feel crowded and uncomfortable. If this happens, simply start giving items away until that feeling leaves you.”
This post was originally published on MacKeeper’s Blog. Click here for more articles on the topic.