5 Lessons in Minimalistic Living

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
–Hans Hofmann

materialism2I could not be more thankful that we are moving, and not just because we creating a different home environment for our children but because we are using this opportunity to simplify and purge our belongings and I had no clue how much stuff we have accumulated in a short 5 years. Like seriously. My 2300 sqft house has a lot of space, including a full basement, that is secretly hiding stuff I’ve long forgotten we even own.

Why? Why do we own all of these possessions? I feel like there’s so much waste and junk in my own home and I cannot stand it. I almost feel like I’m suffocating in it all. As we are going through our closets, dressers, basement and cabinets, there is just so many things that we never use. Ever.

Because we are moving some things into our temporary home, we are taking the bare minimum. Just a few things that we really need and we are putting everything else into a storage space. I already told my husband we are going to be extremely selective about what we will bring back into our new home because our main focus and goal of our new home is simple and sustainable living – being happy with less and knowing what we do have is exactly what we need.

I would never call myself a minimalist, although in my head, I would love to be. But I have learned a couple of things over this past month about living a minimalist life…

5 Lessons in Minimalistic Living

#1 – If you haven’t used it in 6 months, get rid of it. Clothes, toys, electronics – this is a baseline rule I have been using when deciding what to keep and what to pass on. Only keep things that have a purpose and and have an impact on your daily life. I have been known to hold on to clothes for years, thinking what if I want to wear it someday. And that someday never comes and it’s still taking up closet space. Purge.

#2 – Differentiate between needs and wants. In a society of getting whatever you want, our basic needs are very simple. Cater your belonging to your actual needs and remind yourself you really don’t need that latest pair of shoes or jeans next time you want something new. There are so many people around the world that don’t have what they truly need and yet we have an abundance of all these things that are valueless and unimportant. Count your blessings!

#3 – Don’t keep things for emotional reasons. While I do have one box of old high school and college memories and childhood keepsakes, I am not one to keep things for emotional reasons. Holding on to something because so-and-so bought it for you, you will drown in all the things you own. I have realized that the emotional attachment is usually about the person or memory associated with a particular item and not the material thing itself. Take a picture of it and start a keepsake photo album…then get rid of it.

#4 – Quality over quantity. Living minimally is really about quality. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a few nice possessions but when you are looking to purchase something new, search for quality not cheapness. It does you no good to have 15 pairs of jeans when you only want to wear 2 really nice-fitting pairs. Look for things that can last you a lifetime – or a good many years – to prevent repurchasing or expensive maintenance.

#5 – Embrace downsizing. Take it day by day and really own your new lifestyle. Know your reasons for downsizing and owning less and encourage family and friends to join you. Accept that this is a lifestyle choice that you are full capable of making each day. Really challenge yourself to live with less and each day, week or month go through and get rid of more and more things. Every night I am packing up boxes, my give-away pile is getting larger and larger and I’m feeling lighter and lighter!

What are some things you have learned by living with less? How have you embraced a more minimalistic life? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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2 thoughts on “5 Lessons in Minimalistic Living

  1. Pingback: Moving Day: So Much Stuff | a simple life

  2. Pingback: Happy 5th Birthday, Blog! | Katherine Smith, a place of passion & love

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