So, you've been working on decluttering, stopped impulse buying and begun to discover the delights of being a little lighter and freer of both your possessions and commitments.
Is this minimalist nirvana? Has it been worth all those hours of toil? Is minimalism worth pursuing? Or are you still stuck in a clutter cul-de-sac?
I've been simplifying my life for the last 4 years and I've seen gradual improvements in my lifestyle. It's been a slow process, I can tell you. There's been a lot of doubt and angst along the way. You don't leap out of bed one morning and think, “Whoa, I'm a minimalist, isn't my life serene!” No, it's often more tempting to stay cocooned under the duvet than work at your long term goals. The very hungry consumer who has belly ache from overbuying needs a long rest before emerging renewed.
If you've ever decluttered, downsized or reduced your commitments you'll know that dealing with the entrails of your life can be, well, quite messy at times. It's difficult letting go, forming new habits and working out what you really want from life. It can take a while for the decluttering dust to settle.
However, if you stick with simplifying you might just wake up one morning and realise that your life is beautiful. The changes might have been gradual but if you look back at where you started and compare it to now, doesn't your life look different? It's as if a fairy godmother (pint-sized, of course) has waved her magic wand and suddenly you have:
- More choice
- More freedom
- More time (for healthy activites, hobbies, learning new things or relaxation)
- Confidence in your own values
- More contentedness
- A calmer mind
- A firmer grip on your finances
- A clearer perspective
- Closer relationships
- And, of course, less stuff and more space!
Isn't this what you were searching for amongst all that clutter? Did any one of those things you discarded give you that same feeling of joy as this?
This feeling of calm and choice is the sum of your decluttering, reconfiguring and reassessing of your lifestyle. All those baby steps of reducing your stuff and reducing your commitments have resulted in this.
This happened to me only this week and I've been simplifying for 4 years! D'oh! It's like I've suddenly gained freedom from commitments and possessions and I've only just realised it. Freeing up more time through changing my job and continuing to declutter has made a huge difference to my life during the last year. My life feels calmer, more spacious, more meaningful. It's not perfect by any means. My life's busy at times and cluttered in certain areas but it's not as busy or as cluttered as it once was and I'm content with that. I can see how far I've come and believe I can simplify further.
I think the key to achieving a minimalist lifestyle is belief. A miracle isn't going to simplify your life; there's no magic wand or fairy godmother (sorry). It requires hard work, tough decisions and a single-minded belief that a simpler life is what you want. If you read deep into the archives of any minimalist writer on the net you'll discover that it was hard work and a gradual process for him/her/them too.
If you want time to just be, start that project or spend unscheduled hours doing what you love, stick with the minimalism. Keep discarding, say no if you feel overcommitted and say yes to quiet moments of calm and freedom. Over time it will reward. Life will feel better. Believe in a simpler life and don't forget to notice the progress you're making.
It's all about belief. Think of this post as a little sprinkling of pixie dust to guide you on your way whilst simplifying. With a little bit of pixie dust and some happy thoughts you'll be flying!
Ask yourself, “How much simpler do I want my life to be this time next year?”
Were you once a very hungry consumer? How much progress have you made along the
simplifying road? Please share. We're all behind you.