I did not become a minimalist overnight. In fact, it took me several years to fully understand the concept, and to finally let go more than half of what I own.
Over the course of now five years, I have finally simplified my life: I no longer go to the malls every weekend, I’ve either sold or donated most of my stuff – and most importantly – I’ve finally paid off my debts and changed my spending habits.
That day when I decided to declutter my life, I was overwhelmed by the difficulty and complexity of the tasks I made for myself. There were just so much stuff I have accumulated over the years that I didn’t even know where to begin with. It was such a daunting task, but I knew I had to do it.
But I wasn’t just getting rid of stuff – I was also getting rid of things that made me broke, unhappy and miserable.
When the clutter was gone, I finally realized what really meant the most to me and what makes my soul truly happy.
In his blog post entitled “Minimalism Explained”, Colin Wright, creator of blog called Exile Lifestyle, explains that minimalism shouldn’t be confused with ‘just getting rid of stuff’:
There are so many amazing benefits a minimalist attitude could bring to your life.
Below are a few reasons why you should give minimalism a try:
FREEDOM AND PEACE OF MIND
Before embracing minimalism, I was very unhappy with my life.
My mortgage, debts and closetful of stuff literally weighed me down. My situation just made me feel anxious, sad and depressed. I thought there was no way out.
Embracing minimalism is like embracing freedom: Freedom from your earthly possessions. Freedom from stress. Freedom from depression. Freedom from fear. Freedom from regrets.
If you own less, then you don’t have to spend a lot of time organizing your closet or cleaning your space. Instead, you have the freedom to appreciate the things that really matter to you.
By living with less, we reclaim our time, our life and our freedom.
When you have a lot of things, your focus is all over the place. It is hard for you to give the important people and things enough attention.
We tend to give too much meaning to our possessions, often forsaking relationships with our parents, our spouse, our children and our friends.
Ask yourself this: Do you still spend quality time with your family? How many family dinners or special occasions did you miss because you had to work overtime? Do you still make time to reconnect with your close friends?
Minimalism is a tool that enables us to look past the material part of our life by paying attention to how we feel about our relationships and nurturing the ones we care most about.
Minimalism promotes a lifestyle focused on less consumerism and more on personal meaning.
Living with only the bare essentials allows us to enjoy simple things such as a tidy room or a simple wardrobe. It also allows us to enjoy a feeling of contentment and gratitude. It allows us to be present and enjoy the moment.
With more time on our hands, we are able to pursue our passions and discover our missions. By finding our true purpose in life, we become happier and more grateful than ever.
LESS DEBT, MORE SAVINGS
Money, as the saying goes, is the root of all evil. It tears families apart, ruins marriages and relationships, and keeps people from being genuinely happy.
By simplifying our life – clearing the clutter, getting rid of the luxuries we don’t really need and stop making unnecessary purchases – we can focus on eliminating debt and making better financial decisions.
According to some research, experiences result in longer-lasting happiness than material possessions. People’s satisfaction with the things they buy decreases over time. Meanwhile their satisfaction with experiences increases over time.
Experiences also provide better memories. For example, I enjoy traveling because of the many memories I have traveling with my loved ones. I look back on those moments with great joy and fondness. I remember them far better than almost any of the physical gifts I have received in my life.
One of the most difficult tasks in terms of applying minimalism into my life is downsizing my closet.
When I moved to Canada, I only brought one big suitcase with me. Ten years later, I have accumulated a lot of clothing, shoes and accessories big enough to fill at least 10 balikbayan boxes.
I already had donated about 5-7 bags of clothing, and yet I felt like I was not even done yet. To put it into perspective, I have probably spent at least $2,000-$3,000 on those donated clothing.
Just thinking about how much money I have wasted over the years really make me feel sad. With that money, I could have paid another credit card or purchased a flight ticket to Manila to visit my family.
There is value in simplicity. When we consume less, we create more meaningful life – and a simpler wardrobe to choose from.
Remember: Less mess just simply means less stress.
GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
What people need to understand is that we all contribute to climate change. Our excessive consumerism leads to over-consumption that drains the Earth’s resources and accelerates climate change.
One of the benefits of minimalism is that it teaches us to live with intention and to be mindful of the consequences of our actions.
If we consume less, then we put less garbage in the landfill. So instead of buying plastic water bottles, get a reusable water bottle. Instead of constantly shopping for clothes, be creative with what you already have in your closet.
In our own small ways, we can reduce our eco-footprints, minimize pollution and help protect Mother Nature.
Is minimalism something you’ve considered before? How did it change your life?