This would be the appropriate time to say, “all good things must come to an end.” However, the end of this monthly column does not signify the end of my journey with minimalism, and it doesn’t have to mean the end of yours.
The basics of minimalism are simple. You don’t need a book to tell you that having less stuff means less clutter. We all know the feeling of metaphorical and physical weight being lifted from our shoulders when we drop off a bag of clothes at a thrift store. Living with less means that you can focus on things that really matter. It gives you more time for family and pursuing your passions. No matter where you are financially, it gives you permission to live your best life.
This column is ending, but I hope the following things stick with you:
Decreasing the items in your wardrobe will give you more time to get ready, workout, or prepare a healthy breakfast every morning. Ultimately, it will give you more time with your family and eliminate mountains of dirty clothes in your closet and throughout your home.
Keep surfaces bare and sinks empty. Deal with clutter as it happens. This includes washing and putting dishes away after each meal, filing or recycling mail as it enters your home, and finding a place for purchases the moment they enter your door. Giving these items a home on your coffee table, counter, or dining room table may be the most short term convenient option, but you will regret it in the long run.
And, speaking of purchases, decluttering your home is only the first step. As we celebrate the holiday season, remember that in order to stick to your new minimalist goals, everything that enters your home must replace something that already exists. By making this rule, you become a more conscious consumer. You will also likely become even more appreciative of the gifts you receive because they will always have a purpose instead of finding a home at the back of your closet.
Minimalism is also about taking back your schedule and making time for things that matter. It makes you aware of the amount of time you spend on social media, watching television, and clocking in to work. When you stop spending so much on decorations and sale items that will be meaningless by January, your finances will thank you—and you may be able to adjust your work habits accordingly.
Finally, make minimalism a family goal. Instead of forcing it, however, lead the way with your own habits. Show your family that, by decluttering and being a conscious consumer, you are happier. You have more money to put towards experiences instead of electronics or toys. Show them your awareness of how detrimental consumer distractions can be has increased your potential for joy because you can appreciate what you already own.
We spend so much of this life in pursuit of happiness. The question I want to leave you with is, what if it has been right under our noses all along?