Monday, 18 March 2013
Minimalist Monday: The Path to Minimalism
One of my favourite reads on minimalist sites are the real life stories from readers of how they first became interested in minimalism. One day I will submit my own version but in the meantime I thought that today I would tell you a little more about why I am attracted to minimalism and simple living. Several things have triggered my interest – here they are broken down.
1. Control. In the past I was very good at accumulating possessions but not so good at editing them. Suddenly, a few years ago I realised I had too much of most things: clothes, books, CDs, sentimental keepsakes and various odds and ends. I found owning too much overwhelming and I longed for more control and enjoyment from having less possessions. I began to read minimalist blogs and ponder if I could live with less. Major decluttering followed and continues to this day.
2. Health. Without warning two years ago I developed a ME type stress induced illness. I had to completely rest for several months. During this time I re-evaluated my life and made the decision to work part-time as my job was the the main source of stress in my life. My return to work was successful but I still have to keep myself in check and not over schedule my time. Reading minimalist and simple living blogs has taught me the value of relaxation, hobbies and time to be. I now have time to stop and stare and enjoy simple pleasures each week.
3. House clearing. Over the last two years I have had to help my Mum and Dad (who is disabled) with the house clearances of two deceased uncles. Both were bachelors and serious hoarders. In one house we found hundreds of old newspapers going back many decades and numerous identical blue shirts some unopened from their packets. Clearing their homes honed my decluttering skills, making me better at getting rid of sentimental items and more determined than ever not to hoard.
4. Values. I am attracted to less because I don't feel comfortable with owning too much stuff or any one item that is too expensive. Trying to develop non-attachment to material possessions makes me a happier and a more giving person. When I am not obsessing over my next purchase I can be more present in the moment and have more time for family and friends. I am not impressed when other people buy expensive things and I am not interested in buying something that will give me status.
5. Experiences. I value my time and the time I share with others more than material possessions. Memories of good times and the positive effect that these experiences have on my life are worth more than any one possession. I try to plan trips out as regularly as I can afford. Watching live music, theatre and simple holidays are things I like to spend my money on.
6. Self-development. Downsizing was a big step for us but one that has been successful. Earning enough money to feel secure is our only financial goal and we are beginning to pursue other projects outside of our main jobs that may have potential for income in the future. Working less hours allows me more time to pursue interests such as reading, writing and photography. Also, living with less actively encourages creativity - having to make do forces you to become more creative.
7. Calm. From an aesthetic point of view I like the look and feel of clearer and less cluttered spaces. Some of the images I choose in this blog are beyond my reach but I still aspire to the essence of this pared down stylish look. Also, living a less hectic life leads to more moments of calm. I'm not there yet - but I have more calm moments than I used to. And this is because of changes I've made that have been influenced by minimalism.
Those are the main reasons I started down the minimalist and simple living path.
Why are you attracted to a simple life? Do you think living with less stuff improves your life ? I'd love to hear from you.