A new trend is sweeping the world. Despite the aggressive advertising campaigns we are constantly being bombarded with, the messages that tell us what to want and even think we need, Minimalism is gaining ground throughout some of the most materialistic countries in the world.
What is Minimalism?
This movement is based on one central concept: Rid yourself of the unnecessary so you might enjoy the essentials. This concept can be as radical or conservative as you like, depending on what kind of lifestyle you are interested in living. Though generally seen as an individual practice, minimalism is even sneaking into big business in the way PR campaigns are handled and products are marketed.
Some minimalists opt to part with nearly every material object they own and downsize to a smaller home. Some choose to eliminate their debt and live more frugally. Others embrace minimalism by cleaning out their closet.
No matter what degree of minimalism you choose to embrace, the benefits will make a big impact on your life. Reduced anxiety is the number one report from converted minimalists, followed closely by an increased sense of joy. You simply can’t argue with those results!
Making the Switch
The first step in transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle is making two lists. One list should be comprised of that which is most important to you and brings you joy. Family time, health, and hobbies you are passionate about are common on this list. The second list should feature that which takes up the biggest portion of your time and requires the most attention. Things like watching TV, browsing the internet, cleaning house, organizing, and commuting to work are typically listed here.
Now compare your two lists. Do any of the points on your lists overlap? If you listed “painting masterpiece art” on the first list as an importance, and painting also shows up on your second list as taking up much of your time, then congratulations, you are already moving in the right direction. However, that is not typically the case. Realize what brings you joy, and what takes up your time, then begin taking steps to make those lists overlap.
Whether you begin with time management, finances, or possessions, simplifying is the next step. Re-allocate your time to allow for more pleasurable pursuits. Cut back on excess spending and create a plan for paying off debt. Walk through your home with an empty box and fill it with at least 3 unnecessary items from each room.
After simplifying your life, take some time to adjust to and appreciate the spare time in your schedule, the extra money to save or the shrinking debt, and the beauty of a clutter-free home. Regularly check in with yourself to see if you can make further improvements that will expand your joy and minimize anxiety.