I never thought the simple act of decluttering + intentional living could completely change EVERYTHING in my world, but it has. My home is much neater and cleaner even with a little one, and I have joyfully downsized my wardrobe and personal possessions more than I thought was possible. Yet these benefits are only superficial. The amazing thing is I’ve learned a new perspective on life that I didn’t grow up with, learn in school, or discover during my career as a professional dancer.
1. Happiness has everything to do with who is around you, not what is around you.
It is extremely easy to buy into materialism. Filling voids with stuff rarely brings anything more than a temporary fix. Overtime our things consume us, and we don’t understand why we are still unhappy while looking for the next fix. There is a freedom from not spending all of your time thinking about what else you can buy. Materialism has no heart.
I believe only loving relationships have the ability to add real joy to your life. A huge part of the decluttering process is also evaluating what you spend your time doing and most importantly who you surround yourself with. Choosing only healthy relationships makes a bigger impact than anything you can buy.
2. Internal values add more beauty to life than worldly values.
It seems as if our society values materialism, status, popularity, glamour, and showmanship more than the internal values that truly add beauty to life. How different would our world be if the focus was love, generosity, kindness, self control, and service? Those things can’t necessarily be bought, and unfortunately don’t make the news enough.
As a new mother, I definitely don’t want to teach my son that material things are valuable, yet there are certain things we do need to improve our quality of life. It takes a huge effort to be in the world, yet not let the world’s standards dictate your life. Instead of focusing on what we can get in life, thinking more about what we can give is priceless.
3. Time is irreplaceable.
The less I consume, the more time I have. I spend less time cleaning, maintaining, and deciding what to do with my possessions now that I have fewer. Living intentionally has a lot to do with consciously being in the moment.
When your focus is on consuming items that you truly don’t need, a lot of time is lost. You can never create a lasting memory around your search and purchase of material possessions. Lasting memories do come from spending time at the park, going to the theatre, cooking a wonderful meal for friends or family, or a visit to the beach. Time is the real currency for incredible life memories.
4. Avoiding distractions at all costs improves the quality of life.
Motherhood is the season in my life where every minute counts. This is especially true if I truly desire to have a moment for myself. I don’t watch television, and I don’t have a elaborate schedule of weekly events since I work from home while caring for my little one. My main distraction is online.
I tend to “research” ideas that pop into my head too often, or get stuck discovering something unexpected. My quality of life has increased tremendously the less I’m on my smartphone or tablet scrolling, and the more I’m present in the moment. Avoiding distractions at all costs takes discipline, yet truly is intentional living.
It takes self reflection and the true desire to make changes in how you do things every day to be intentional.
The minimalist lifestyle has been tremendously helpful in developing self control and reconsidering choices I’ve made in the past. When I need help with any new change, I take time to quiet myself and pray about it. Lord knows I can do absolutely nothing on my own anyway.
Living intentionally is a cultivated gift you give to yourself.
(Image by Dawn Michelle)