I spent this past weekend doing a major decluttering session. I’ve taken my time with downsizing my possessions, and have been paring down for 3 1/2 years. This slow process has been much easier especially being married while also allowing myself time to interpret exactly what the minimalist lifestyle means to me, and to find clarity on why I am doing it in the first place.
We live in a society which claims bigger is better, and promotes constant consumerism no matter the cost to our peace of mind or the environment.
We go into debt trying to have the best of the best, the newest and latest technology, as well as the latest products, styles, and decor. There is an unequivocal high that we get from shopping and finally getting that new item. Yet because there is no true satisfaction in consuming, the joy of the new possession soon fades, and we spend valuable time looking for the next new temporary ecstasy.
We rarely think about how our consumption affects our lives or the planet. The Story of Stuff explains it well.
In our current apartment which we moved into at the beginning of the year, we finally have sufficient closet place. Closets can be both wonderful and misleading if we do not stay on top of things. Beginning this past Friday afternoon, I pulled everything out from my closet that I haven’t looked at for the past six months. The amount of time it took me this weekend to go through it all felt like forever. By Sunday evening I had a large bag of trash, two bags to donate, and four bags to recycle. I consolidated the remainder of what I was decluttering for next weekend.
Much of what I was going through was filed and unfiled paperwork, yoga and dance magazines which I hadn’t recycled or passed on, jewelry which I no longer wore or was broken and had not been fixed, and other miscellaneous and sentimental things. Although I do not shop for clothing and beauty products like I used to, I realize now that I need to be more conscious of how other things come into and undesirably nest in my home.
The minimalist lifestyle is about trying to live with less and only the possessions that hold honest value and necessity.
I find that how minimalism looks for each person varies depending upon their lifestyle, family, and residence. The more that I have downsized my own possessions, I have learned to value my time more than any thing, to treasure relationships, to enjoy the freedom of owning less things, and to create a life based around beautiful experiences and travel. There is a peace I always feel after releasing the items that no longer serve my life. There is also an excitement knowing that I have created a healthy separation from constant media messages saying that my life will be so much happier if I buy this or that.
Although it takes a lot of time and energy to go through things and make decisions on what to keep and what to release, that time and energy always comes back in more ways than can be imagined. I’ve learned to appreciate what I do have and fully enjoy it. It is also healing to create freedom from excessive consumption, and make my own conscious decisions that best serve my life.
“Only 40% of the average American’s carbon footprint is due to their direct energy use. The other 60% is indirect; it comes from everything we buy and use—goods and services. Pay attention to your consumption and waste habits, and you’ll find lots of opportunities to conserve.” –Source: CarbonFund.org
I absolutely love that the minimalist lifestyle has a lower carbon footprint on the planet. It is one of the best ways to create simplicity, yet live life immensely!
Please check out The Story of Stuff if you haven’t, and share your thoughts below.
(Image by D Sharon Pruitt)