At the beginning of every year, we are so full of it, aren’t we?
Not only are we going to lose 20 pounds, incorporate a new diet plan (vegan/keto/atkins/whatever), become more calm and centered (meditate!), workout three times a week, be a better wife/girlfriend/mother, get that promotion or launch/expand your business, learn to speak Italian, and finally learn to keep our home clean. all. the. time. (Declutter!)
And then what happens by the end of February…?
Do you even remember half of them?
Do you even know why you chose them?
What if we flipped that list upside down and started with the one crucial resolution that can actually change your life? Like actually, with real results!
For me, embracing minimalism changed my life, and is a contributing factor to my everyday life as a mom, as a wife, and as an entrepreneur.
Whenever I’m feeling extra frustrated or aggravated, or if I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed OUT, I simply take a look around. Not only is my head a mess, but so is my home. And suddenly the lightbulb goes off, and I realise that I’ve allowed myself to be overwhelmed by the clutter, again.
Minimalism isn’t a “do once” purge of all the excess. It’s a way of life that brings me calm, focus, and happiness. It gets rid of all the extra clutter to make room for what matters in life – not only in physical space, but also mentally and spiritually.
Do you feel overwhelmed right now? Have you felt stressed out recently?
Life is busy.
Add kids, a husband, work, and a social life (HA! what social life?) and it’s no wonder your New Years’ resolutions don’t become reality.
But what if you trimmed the excess, got rid of everything that doesn’t serve you, and had the time and space, both mentally and physically, to go after what you really, really want?
Becoming a minimalist isn’t about white walls and bare shelves.
Truly, I believe minimalism is an individual process that’s different for everyone, but there are common factors that can be prescribed to everyone:
- Get rid of the things you don’t need, you don’t want, take up space for now reason, serve no purpose, things that you hate, things that you hang on to for “future use, maybe”, and things that you don’t use on a day-to-day, or week-to-week basis.
- Clean up your digital life! Reduce the number of emails you have, reduce the subscriptions, get to inbox zero at least once a week, organize your folders, delete, delete, delete, (OR ARCHIVE AND BACK UP!)
- Stop buying things. Stop online shopping. Don’t start a new and expensive hobby because everyone is doing it. Learn to live with less, learn to live with what you need, and refill accordingly.
- Start saying NO. Your time is precious. Make sure it’s well spent.
The most important thing is to remove that which does not serve us – in our homes, in our social lives, in our schedules.
Once you remove that, you make room for happiness. You make room for joy. You make room for passion.
You make space for all those things in your life that you think about, that you dream about, but you’re burdened by all the things that keep you busy in life.
Life can be full and wonderful!
I became a mom at 22 years old, it was unexpected, it was a surprise, and it completely changed my life. After my daughter’s birth, I spent years battling post-partum depression while trying to fit into this new role of motherhood, and trying to maintain an identity that I wasn’t even sure existed anymore. I threw myself into different passions all the time, I was a wedding planner, real estate agent, cupcake baker, hairstylist, retail salesperson, and I was constantly trying new things, but nothing stuck.
I wish I could go back there and give that young mom a hug. A huge hug that goes on for a little too long.
I wish I could tell her that there’s nothing wrong with her, and that it’s not her fault that “nothing is sticking”. It’s because she hadn’t found her true passion yet. I hadn’t found my true passion yet. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life, and here I was raising a little girl with my boyfriend, while trying to still go out with my girlfriends and live a lavish life that I didn’t even know I didn’t want or need.
We moved 5 times in 5 years.
And with each move, we purged. We got rid of more stuff.
The first few times I was very sentimental with all of my “stuff” because I had spent a lot of money on these things.
But over the years, I realised that this “stuff” no longer served any purpose in my life. It wasn’t helping me in any way. It was time to let go.
To donate. To gift. To recycle.
Over the years, I realised that “stuff” was just stuff. I had purchased things to fill a void, not to fulfill any life dreams or bring joy to my life.
The me of the past had a lot of growing up to do, a lot of adulting to experience. They were hard lessons that I had to learn. Buying stuff doesn’t make you an adult. Having a full set of glassware doesn’t create a home. Spending money doesn’t equate to happiness.
We moved across the country with only a couple of suitcases.
The rest of our pared down stuff fit into ten large cardboard boxes and would be coming on a later date once we figured out where we were going to live. The funny thing was, once we found a space to live, and the boxes came down, there was only 1 box worth of items I wanted to keep.
I realised I was no longer weighed down by all the material excess – it did not. make. me. happy.
And it was only in those moments of calm and peace that I began to focus on my purpose as a woman, as a mother, as a wife.
I’m not perfect – no one ever is, no matter what their Instagram looks like!
I tend to find corners to throw junk in. Shove things away to deal with later. But it catches up to me, and I find myself purging and wishing I just followed my minimalist path regularly, rather than intermittently, but it happens.
But as time goes on, it gets easier, I promise!
I tend to be a bit more practical when it comes to minimalism. I’m not holding up objects to see if they bring joy to my life. I’m wondering why there’s a bunch of boxes sitting in the corner of my office, and I answer: because there’s no room to put it away, there’s no space for it. The subsequent process is to make a space for the useful things (file folders, printer paper), and get rid of the excess.
That’s all that other stuff to me is: excess.
If it’s not useful or doesn’t serve me in anyway, it’s gone.
And once that stuff is gone, it opens up my space and provides me a calm and peaceful surrounding to be creative. To focus. To work hard on things that truly matter to me.
Maybe those things are meal planning, losing weight, and learning Italian. Maybe those things are scheduling family activities and time-blocking my week.
Given the space and the opportunity, we can create a life we are truly happy in.