It can be really hard to start living a simple life. But you are ready to make some changes in your life. Maybe you have read about the benefits of living with less. Or watched a documentary about minimalism.
So you purge your closet. You make a budget. You declutter every drawer that you can find. You feel more calm. And you feel proud!
But a couple of weeks go by and you find yourself buying things to fill your closet. You forget about your budget. Your desk is a cluttered mess. You are frustrated and you feel overwhelmed.
Why can’t I just live simply?
How does everyone make this look so easy?
You thought that the hardest part of becoming a minimalist would be getting rid of the clutter. But it requires a change bigger than just cleaning out things you don’t use anymore.
There isn’t a secret to becoming a minimalist. But it is a practice. It’s a habit.
It is something that you have to train yourself to do before it really becomes effortless. If you can just figure out how to get yourself into a habit, you will naturally change with very little effort. It will just start to happen. And it will happen easily.
In my twenties, I spent a lot of time thinking about and taking care of stuff. I loved to shop. I loved to go out to eat. I loved fashion blogs. But there was a point where it all was just too much.
I realized that I needed to live a more intentional life. Like so many people who try minimalism, I noticed the benefits right away. When I had less, I had more room to be me. I didn’t feel so hurried. I had a clear mind.
But, it was still a long battle to stop comsuming more stuff and to stop filling up the space that I had just created. I would add more back into my life as quickly as I cleared it out. I couldn’t get ahead of it!
I struggled with shifting my mindset for a really long time. I would often find myself slipping back into old habits- buying things I didn’t need or keep things that I should discard or donate.
And then the frustration would set in.
The first small step to become a minimalist
But one day, I finally figured out a small trick that helped me to stop buying too much. And this trick would change everything for me
I was at the store buying groceries + household items. I had a full cart and was headed towards the checkout. I looked into my cart and remembered some fashion advice that I used everyday when getting dressed. And I thought “hmmm. I wonder if that works in this siuation too.”
The advice is: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”
It’s classic advice to look more polished and put together. Fashionistas swear by it. When you put on an outfit, take a look in the mirror and remove one item. For example, you can keep the all your jewelry but remove the scarf. Or leave the scarf, but remove the earrings.
I follow this advice almost everytime that I get dressed and it just works. I have no idea why. I just know that eveytime I do it, my outfit looked amazing.
I stared in the cart and quickly pulled out a couple of things. I instantly felt lighter.
I checked out and didn’t think about the items I put back. I didn’t feel give it a second thought. It was so easy.
I began to use the advice in different areas of my life. When ordering food, I would removed one condiment or a side. When packing my work bag, I would remove a few things before leaving the house.
And suddenly things were more simple. And it didn’t feel forced or uncomfortable. But it was this gentle practice of learning that I could live with less.
Soon, I noticed that I naturally started to want less. I started drinking black coffee. I watched less tv. I didn’t want to shop as much.
And because I was choosing less things, I made sure I only selected things that I loved and that would bring value into my life. I no longer bought purse after purse. So when I did buy one, it was a really nice one. And I would enjoy it more because it was exactly what I wanted.
I watched way less television than I used to. I would sometimes just watch television for no reason. And I would find myself watching things that I didn’t even want to watch! But now that I used my television less, I chose carefully. Since I knew I was only going to get 30 minutes or an hour, I would turn off things that I didn’t love.
I removed all the the things I liked and made room for the things I really loved.
Changing the way I think about my stuff finally made a minimalist. Within a year, I had completely changed and never looked back.
What was the small change that finally lead you to minimalism? What do you still struggle with when trying to live an intentional life?