There Has Never Been a More Perfect Time to Simplify Your Life
Perhaps you’ve been thinking about minimalism, but maybe you think you’re not ready to take the plunge, or maybe you are but don’t know where to start. Either way now is the perfect time to test the waters, or go all in — you decide. One thing I’ve learned from my foray into minimalism is, it’s not black and white. It’s more of a spectrum and you can choose your own adventure.
“There are two ways to be rich: one is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.” — Jacki French Koller
For many of us, 2020 has brought our priorities into focus. We’ve had some time to reflect on what is really important. People, relationships, and experiences become more valuable than stuff. Now that we are spending more time at home, this is the time to make that home a sanctuary. Your home should be a place that brings happiness and comfort during these crazy times.
Minimalism isn’t one size fits all and definitely isn’t all or nothing. It’s about simplifying and being intentional with what you choose to bring into your life. I like to think of it as concentrating the joy and not diluting it with a bunch of stuff that doesn’t add anything to my life.
One of the most important things I’ve learned on my minimalism journey is that minimalism doesn’t mean boring, or lack. Minimalism doesn’t mean giving things up or making sacrifices. It means having what you truly want, what adds value to your life, and brings you joy, and letting go of the rest. It is about making intentional choices over mindless consumerism.
This is the perfect time to begin a journey of decluttering, simplifying, and reprioritizing what matters in your life. Start by asking yourself, what is important to you? What are the things that matter? When you look around your home, what lights you up and what doesn’t?
If this is overwhelming or difficult, sometimes it’s easier to go at it from the other side and ask, what isn’t important to you? What is just taking up space? Some things usually jump out right away and are easy to get rid of. I found that once I started, the momentum built and I got a rush from putting stuff in the pile of things to get rid of. The more I got rid of, the more I wanted to get rid of.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” — Antoine de Saint Exupery
This is also a great opportunity to make some extra money if you need it. People now more than ever are looking to save money by buying things used. You can make a few extra bucks by selling things that are no longer serving you. There are a variety of online outlets to sell anything from clothes to cars. You can also look into local consignment shops for goods and clothing.
Maybe you don’t need the extra cash and this is an opportunity to pay it forward. There are a lot of organizations that have increased needs during this time as a result of the economic crisis. Of course, there is Goodwill, but also ask your local homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, transitional homes, or schools what items they could use.
Perhaps you have a friend or neighbor who could really benefit from some of these things. You can streamline your life and help people in need at the same time. This will give you a far bigger rush than your last shopping spree, I promise you!
This can also be a helpful way to look at it for those items that you know are no longer serving you, but you have an emotional attachment to and are struggling to part with. When you think about how much they could help someone in need, that decision becomes easier.
If you’re like many Americans, myself included, you have likely fallen into the trap of retail therapy at some point in your life and perhaps at some point during this pandemic. We buy things in an attempt to fill some emotional need and to self soothe. This never works for long and soon, we have a house filled with things that can cause us to feel overwhelmed, claustrophobic, and unable to focus.
We spend our lives running on a hedonic treadmill. We are convinced that buying one more thing will lead to happiness. However, as soon as you have that thing, there is a new thing to buy and surely that is the thing that will bring the ever-elusive fulfillment that we seek. It never works. You can’t ever get to the finish line on a treadmill, you have to turn it off.
“Nothing is enough for the man whom enough is too little.” — Epicurus
I’ve found that downsizing and simplifying brings me a much longer-lasting sense of accomplishment and happiness than does buying things that I don’t need. Simplify your life. Make your home a sanctuary by surrounding yourself with things you love not just things. Help someone in need with the things you no longer need and reap the benefits of a simpler life.