Living one's life intentionally is easier said than done. People have started to throw out Minimalism quotes like bible verses from Sunday's mass... and though they're empowering, there's a massive gap between the believing and the doing. Jumping in with both feet is scary for anyone, unless, like myself, life has not given you an option. It's safe to say that your journey to becoming more mindful about material things will be a tad uncomfortable to say the least.
Essential Principles of
Introducing change into our lives, no matter how adventurous our brains are, will always generate a little discomfort. Human beings are bound to resist change because in changing there's a lot of uncertainty (and living on the safe side is always more appealing) - so the immediate answer to something new and challenging is most often NO.
Decluttering is not about tossing things away that are broken or rummaging through your drawers trying to find things that you haven't seen since 1982 - It's about bringing more meaning into your life, it's about enjoying every single thing you have. It's not as much about letting go as it is about keeping things that add to your life.
Human beings can only truly cherish a limited number of things at one time... that is why I want to cherish properly the things I love, and that is why I have insisted on tidying so much of my life. – Marie Kondo
What if we all saw decluttering as life-giving instead of life-depriving? That micro mind shift alone can be so powerful that resistance will stop taking the drivers seat in your life. That internal talk has sharpened my desire for simplicity and taught me the value of the principles I'm about to talk about.
01. Start Easy The best way to get started decluttering is by simply cleaning up, getting rid of the no-brainer types of things. If you start with the hard things first (like things that right now have emotional value to you), you will be challenging your ability to make progress yourself.
02. Keep Memories Not Things There are many ways to honor the love that you receive from others. There's no need to keep every single letter, gift or souvenir. Your memories are louder and more meaningful than things that are put away in drawers.
03. No Space For Junk If you dedicate a special shrine in your home for junk... chances are junk will always be a part of your life. Clear all junk-rooms, junk-drawers, junk-basements and re-purpose their use. Everything that you own takes your time to maintain. Are you wasting your time on junk?
04. Stop The Incoming Flow Taking (old) things out will be a waste of your precious time if you keep bringing (new) things in. Making new habits is important to allow you to buy what you need, not what you think you will need "if". Learn to put off buying things rather than splashing out with impulse buys.
05. Don't Spend: Invest This practice will forever change your life. Learning to invest rather than spend will have the greatest of impact - simply because you automatically give more value to the things you decide to bring into your life. Learning to invest in things that have purpose and function is life altering. Make smart decisions when it comes to function, purpose and durability.
Mindfulness cannot be achieved unless is exercised - so if you're having trouble in this area of your life make small trigger goals that can help push you through: For example - if you are having issues getting rid of something, try using it a few days in a row. Chances are you'll see how invaluable it really is to your life and end up getting rid of it. Gather a tribe and start hanging out with people doing the same thing you're doing. Accountability and shared experience are an enormous source of inspiration.
Focus on outcomes - not activities - and the "doing" part of it all will become something automatic in your life.
Which of these principles do you find the hardest to apply in your life? For me it was Investing rather than Spending.
I'd love to know.
Photography: Sara Medina Lind with Thanks