I believe that minimalism is a lifestyle, a choice made that affects everything you do. You can’t do it half-way and you definitely cannot own so little without it affecting your heart and mind. That being said, I also know there are people out there unclear of what minimalism actually is. So, for anyone who is still confused, this post is for you. Here is minimalism defined.
This way of life almost always starts with frustration. Giving up an old way of life that has led to debt, emptiness, and a constant need for more and more. Frustration at having bought into the lies that said you needed to live a certain way to be happy. So, a decision is made. The two most common first steps are to rearrange your budget and declutter your house. Both are very important steps and necessary to helping declutter your mind, but both are also very surface level. You can get rid of a lot of things and save money in different areas in your budget and still be plagued with thoughts of not having enough.
If you choose to continue on the minimalist journey, this is where you start making the tough decisions. You scaled down your budget to the point where you no longer need the large salary or the long hours, so what do you do with the extra time and money? You got rid of so much stuff in your house that you start to feel like you might not need the 3,000 square foot home…. now what? You don’t come home to a life of distraction every night and you find yourself in a quiet(er) home, so how will you spend your evenings now? These questions are tough to ask, but choosing to live life differently isn’t something we do because it’s fun or easy. We do it for the amazing benefits and we hope they will make our lives that much better. All of these decisions eventually cause us to get to one point: building our lives around the necessities. And that is the point of minimalism.
It’s not about keeping track of how much we own or having money to travel all around the world. In fact, I’m convinced that I can live an amazing minimalist life right where I’m at in my apartment, with my husband, and with a full-time job. But it does answer the question that we are all answering with what we do with our lives: “What is most important to you?”. If living a life of freedom and investment in our families is important, than we get rid of things that bind us and we spend precious time with our families. If loving well is most important, than we spend our time loving those who aren’t traditionally loved in our society and we do it well. Minimalism is a bold statement that says if you spend all of your time on the work-spend treadmill, you aren’t living a great life. It’s a call to live a great life by investing in what really matters, the things that make our lives worth it, not the things we feel like we have to do. It’s finding a way to do that by living a smaller life that costs less to live and takes less time away from what we love. It starts with some surface level decisions and continues with life change.
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