m by no means a lazy person, but at some point, my life started seeming less manageable. There was stuff everywhere. It’s not like I never cleaned, but my space was never clean. I took care to keep things organized, yet there was still always clutter somewhere. And that clutter, all of that stuff, it really started taking a toll on my inner peace. So I decided to give minimalism a try. This is what I learned.
1. I’m less stressed out.
For me, there’s nothing worse than sitting at a desk that’s covered in stuff and trying to work. I could spend 15 minutes or so cleaning off my desk, but the fact that my drawers were absolutely packed full of stuff kept me from feeling at peace with my space. When every surface of your home is covered in stuff, every shelf full, every drawer packed to the brim, it was hard to find peace. With clutter being cleared, shelves emptied, and drawers organized, it was easier to relax.
2. Each of my belongings is important.
Before becoming minimalist, I viewed my stuff as “crap” for the most part. Because there was so much frivolous nonsense in my home, I never really cared that much about any of it, even the more important things. When I started considering what I actually needed, I really realized how much value some of the things in my life had. Camping gear that was previously just kind of stuffed into a closet took on a whole new meaning to me. It was important because it was gear necessary to experience the great outdoors. When you have less, your things begin to matter more.
3. I can be healthier.
I used to clean up my kitchen every day, but somehow, there was always a pile of dishes. There was always a dirty counter. No matter how much I tried, there was always more to do. Because of this, I found myself eating out. A lot. You can make healthy choices when dining out, but it’s always healthier to eat at home. Becoming minimalist in the kitchen meant there was less clutter and less to do. It made it easier to cook for myself.
4. My space looks better.
I never thought that my space looked all that bad to begin with, but after clearing out so much unnecessary stuff, I realized how bogged down and awful the atmosphere of my home felt. Now, with less stuff cluttering every surface, my home feels nicer and looks better.
5. Chores take less time.
And by less time, I should say waaaaaay less time. I never had a lot of clothes, but somehow at the end of the week I ended up having to do 3 loads of laundry. When I considered what I actually needed and donated a lot of unnecessary clothing, I found out how nice it is just to do the one load of laundry per week. It’s the same with dishes. It’s actually nice to be fully out of clean dishes yet only have half a sink full to do.
6. I experience less fear.
When I started on my minimalist journey, I figured I’d just have a little less stress and a little less to do. But I quickly realized that stuff has a much greater impact on you than just a little stress. Even though my belongings have more value to me, I’m less afraid of losing it all in a disaster. There isn’t much left to lose! Which rolls into my next lesson:
7. I am freer.
The people I’ve known in my life who feel the freest are the people with the least to lose. And looking back on who I was as a younger person, that’s kind of how I lived. I was minimalist due to an inability to buy a bunch of stuff, and it was a remarkably liberating feeling. In some ways, the freedom that minimalism granted me actually made me feel younger.
8. I could let go of the past.
The past doesn’t haunt me, but it’s still in the past. I used to be the kind of person who kept every birthday card, every little keepsake, every memento, but not every memento is actually important. It took a lot, but all of the stuff that I kept in a shoebox under the bed and never looked at, I realized I could let it go. And in the process of doing so, I learned what kinds of mementos are important to me. Photographs, family heirlooms, and antiques suddenly seemed so much more real and important. They always were, but because I held on to every little thing from my past, I couldn’t fully appreciate them.
9. Minimalism put my hypocrisy on display.
I fancy myself an environmentally sound person. I like to buy local, eat organic, save energy, and be a generally good person. But increasingly as I’ve gotten older, my wants have overridden my values. At 20, I didn’t want a television. At 30, I had two. One in the living room and one in the bedroom. Why? I wanted to watch Netflix in bed OR on my couch. I’m entitled to that, right? I mean, sure, I guess I am. But why be that way when it’s incogruent with my core values?
It’s a difficult thing to articulate, but by giving in to some of my more basal desires, I robbed from myself a great deal of inner peace. It was as if my mind, without really consciously thinking it, hated what I was becoming. What minimalism gave back to me was a stronger sense of self control. I remembered a lot of what made me tick as a younger person and was able to get back to a lifestyle that really made me happy.
10. It’s easier for me to be happy.
When I consider all of the things I’ve talked about so far, I realize that it’s just easier for me to be happy this way. It’s easier to take stock of everything in my life and feel less suffocated. Minimalism has this effect on me, and it may well have the same effect on you.
Our fellow blogger, Brooke Wilson, has dabbled with minimalism too. Read how minimalism positively transformed her life.