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The benefits of simplifying your life

So, you want to know how to be a minimalist? Or does the thought make you want to run for the hills?

Just the word ‘minimalism’ makes some people cringe. It conjures up images of stark, white walls, sparse furnishings and a half-empty wardrobe. For some of you, this would be a welcome breath of fresh air, while for others their first thought would be “we’ve been robbed”!

The truth is there’s no single version of minimalism. No right or wrong way to simplify your home and life. I can’t tell you how to be a minimalist, but I can explain how it can make your life richer.

Minimalism is different for everyone

For some people, it’s all about their stuff. The process of purging years or decades worth of excess belongings can be such a cathartic process.

During my divorce, we sold our family home and my two kids and I moved into our retro 50s van on my sister’s property. I can tell you, there’s nothing that will force you to declutter like moving into a caravan!

For some people, minimalism means having a limited number of belongings. It might be what they can fit in a backpack as they travel around the world, for others it’s less than 100 items.

For a family, this not realistic. Simplifying doesn’t boil down to some arbitrary number. It doesn’t mean you have to live in a tiny house or get rid of all your treasures.

Thanks to the internet, you’ll find countless articles online offering decluttering tips, wardrobe makeovers and advice on how to get rid of your excess stuff. They’re a great place to find inspiration.

But I have just one simple step for you.

Start somewhere.

You don’t have to learn to fold Marie Kondo-style or read any of her books. (Unless you want to). You don’t have to have a garage sale next week, or sell your house and car. You don’t have to own a certain number of things to call yourself a minimalist or adopt a simpler lifestyle.

Minimalism is a mindset. You might start by simplifying your morning routine, freeing up your schedule or unfollowing accounts on social media that add too much ‘noise’ to your feed.

Minimalism is different for everyone

In 2006, writer Courtney Carver was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Her focus became all about eliminating stress from her life to help manage her symptoms.

She says, “I leaned in slowly. I didn’t want to add stress by turning everything upside down overnight. It took us many years to declutter, downsize, and become debt-free. By investing the time and energy to simplify, I turned my health around, started my own business and changed my entire life.”

Leo Babauta is a minimalist and father of 6. He says the idea that simplifying is ‘empty, boring and sterile’ is a misconception.

He says, “we are clearing away all but the most essential things — to make room for that which gives us the most joy. Clear away the distractions so we can create something incredible. Clear away all the obligations so we can spend time with loved ones. Clear away the noise so we can concentrate on inner peace, on spirituality (if we wish), on our thinking. As a result, there is more happiness, peace, and joy, because we’ve made room for these things.”

Known as The Minimalists, Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Milburn are modern pioneers of a simple lifestyle. They perhaps explain it best:

“By incorporating minimalism into our lives, we’ve finally been able to find lasting happiness—and that’s what we’re all looking for, isn’t it? We all want to be happy. Minimalists search for happiness not through things, but through life itself; thus, it’s up to you to determine what is necessary and what is superfluous in your life.”

Living large with less, my take on minimalism

Although I embrace simple living and we’re currently in the middle of our small house renovation, minimalism and embracing simplicity is less about stuff for me. I think of it as living large with less.

Living large with less has little to do with money and material possessions and everything to do with self-confidence, grace, integrity and faith.

For me, decluttering stuff – mental, emotional and physical – is important, but it’s the lesser part of the journey. The more important aspect is fulfillment in your everyday life. It’s the journey, not the destination.

So, what does this mean for you?

Living large with less means something different to everyone.

For you it could mean:

·        Keeping your social circle small

·        Reducing commitments on your schedule

·        Being able to contribute more to others (time and money)

·        Reducing your debt

·        Having more free time

·        Less stress over things like money, cleaning and always rushing

·        Making time to do nothing (guilt-free!)

These are all benefits of simplifying and adopting a minimal lifestyle. Simplifying and slowing go hand-in-hand. The more unnecessary things you take away, the more you have. More time. More money. More joy.

The less stuff you have to clean and look after, the more time you have to rest and relax.

The less overscheduled your calendar is, the more time you have to spend with the people you love.

The less you buy and own, the more money you have for adventures and experiences.

Can you picture a life where you live large with less?

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Want to know more about slowing? Get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.

Blessings, Hiddy xx

P.S. Please share this post with someone you love, because they might be in need of some slowing fun today too!