Time is funny. It can seem to crawl (especially the time between dinner and bed for the kids 😉), but then other times can feel like it's flying. More and more, I feel like time is whizzing by, which is why I feel so passionately about living intentionally. Learning about (and then practicing) minimalism has really paved the way to a more intentional mindset.
For me, a minimalist lifestyle is figuring out what provides you the most value in life and removing everything that is excess. Minimalist living is about intention and allowing space in your life for the things you love, while eliminating everything else. It's a process and a mindset— not something you achieve after a day of decluttering.
What do I love about Minimalism?
Removal of excess stuff — The feeling you get when you let go of material things is really quite unbelievable. Prior to over 6 years ago, I was definitely a "hang on to this thing, just incase" person. I lovingly blame my father for that. :) After discovering The Minimalists podcast and reading books and articles about real people who practice minimalism, I decided to give it a go and start a "Mins Game". This is a challenge, coined by The Minimalists, that is played for 30 days— on day one, you get rid of one item, day two, you get rid of two items, until you reach day 30 where you get rid of 30 items. I had so much fun with the challenge and it became addicting! It was way too easy to play, which meant I clearly had too many things! In the last 6 years, I have done this challenge 4 times (I'm in the middle of my 5th), and it gets a little harder each time because I definitely have way less than I used to—BUT I'm still able to do it—which kind of blows my mind. The reason I like the Mins Game is because of time. It feels manageable (especially with kids), to focus on getting rid of a fairly small amount of things. Could you spend a day or two going over your whole house? Of course! But that is quite an exhausting commitment from where I stand.
Helped reclaim my time — Without so many things to manage, organize and clean, all of a sudden you have extra time! As an aspiring minimalist, you are also breaking shopping habits so you don't introduce MORE clutter and material things to your life, which also frees up time to spend with loved ones, or yourself! It has helped me live more in the moment, which is something that can be challenging for me because (like most moms) I always have a running to-do list in my head. Think about it—if you could get some time back from your day, you might be able to: pursue your passions, focus more on your health, and focus more on your family—doesn't that sounds great?!
Helped me get my finances in order — Like I mentioned before, breaking the shopping habit aligns with the minimalist mindset. Does it mean you can never shop again? Of course not! It just means you shop when you truly need something or truly love something. It's shopping with intention and not blindly making purchases. Along with listening to minimalist podcasts, I heard Dave Ramsey mentioned a few times, so then I went down a financial path of learning. I did start listening to Dave Ramsey and a few other finance gurus. I kind of took bits and pieces from what they suggested, and ultimately found the YNAB (You Need a Budget) app, which has been a game changer for me. I have been using it for about 4 years now and it has helped me so much with budgeting, setting goals, paying down debt and spending intentionally. The whole concept is that you assign your dollars to what you are plan on spending them on. With zero-based budgeting, you take all the money you have right now (like actually in your bank account), and divvy it up across bills, debt, and savings until you have zero dollars left to allocate. Every time you get paid, you will decide what those dollars need to do before you get paid again. Zero-based budgeting means you’re firmly in charge of your finances and have more clarity to make financial decisions big and small. This has really helped me prioritize what I want to spend my money on, got me out of living paycheck to paycheck and allows me to plan for fun things like vacation. It took me a little while to get into the habit of using it, and I definitely got lazy a few times, but if you are consistent, you will really benefit from it!
Allowed me to contribute beyond myself—Once my finances were in order and I discovered how much power I had over my spending and my life, I really thought about what I care about and how I can contribute to the greater good. I budget (in YNAB!) a monthly sum for "Giving" and that sum is divided between a few charities I feel passionate about. I will tell you, it's not a ton of money, but it's something! And it's more than I was doing before. I've also freed up time to advocate more for the environment and hopefully inspire sustainability.
So that's a round-up of some of the ways going down a minimalist path has benefited me. Time is a huge theme for me — prioritizing my time for what's important, using minimalism to help free up time to spend on activities that really matter to me, and not spending my time stressed about my finances while being able to budget fun things in the future!
As Tom Petty said, “As time goes by, you seem to weed out the things that were making your life hard.” Practicing a more minimalist lifestyle has absolutely helped me with that!
I would love to hear what you think!
Stay tuned for Minimalism — Part II: What I don't love 😱
Thanks for reading!