Christmas can be a stressful time and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. If you are already surrounded by ‘stuff’, buying yet more decorations, ornaments and gifts can make you feel ‘overloaded’ – and that’s without taking into account the gifts you’ll receive from others. Don’t you just want to shout ‘stop’ sometimes?!
When I get like that I find decluttering very soothing and the act of sorting, binning and donating clears my head and makes me feel more in control. Despite my somewhat untidy nature I find the idea of minimalistic living very attractive.
Life has become overly complicated. Many of us own far more than our parents did. Bigger houses allow us to accumulate more and more stuff – often stuff we want rather than actually need.
And many modern ‘inventions’ add their own stresses. Take the internet, for example, which both eases and complicates our lives. Yes, we have more people to interact with but that comes with its own obligations. There’s no hiding when it comes to social media and texting, is there?
If you want to embrace a life less complicated, here are some tips to start you on your journey towards minimalism.
Tips to embrace minimalism
If you are spending most of your time on the internet, you should evaluate how it is helping your life.
If you feel overwhelmed, it is probably not helping. Therefore, you need to determine who is truly important that you are connecting with. It’s not necessary to answer every question or speak with everyone who interacts with you.
You should also evaluate what kinds of activities you are doing online.
If you are chatting on Facebook or other social media channels and are not attending to more important items, like spending time with family, you should reduce your time on social media, or even on the internet itself. The internet can be incredibly useful but can also be a huge waste of time.
If you are someone who collects items and doesn’t get rid of much, you need to determine which of those items are the most important.
You should get rid of the items that don’t make the list. You don’t have to throw those unimportant items out. You could hold a garage sale or sell those items online to pick up some extra cash. A good rule-of-thumb is if you haven’t used something for over six months, it’s not important.
Learn to help other people.
This act of kindness not only helps others, but it puts your life into perspective. You will learn that material possessions are not the most important factor. The primary purpose of helping people should not be to put your life in perspective. It should be because those people need help. However, you will gain a good perspective from this activity naturally.
Taking a minimalist approach to your life helps you to be flexible.
You will learn to value the most important aspects of your life and shed those that are unimportant. When a change occurs, you will be prepared on how to deal with that change by asking if it is important.
Teach your children to embrace minimalism.
It’s much easier to accept this way of life when people learn it early. It will become part of their personalities rather than trying to unlearn bad habits. This will teach them how to accept change easier.
Know that having more material items does not equate to happiness.
In fact, it can make your life more complicated by having more items to fix. Most people don’t use much of what they own, but the clutter factor remains. When you have less clutter, you will be less stressed out on average.
3 Actionable Steps Towards A Life Of Minimalism
#1 Hold a yard sale once every quarter to get rid of items you feel are not important. When you go through your items, determine what you haven’t accessed in over two years. Then, work back to items you haven’t used in six months. If a yard sale doesn’t work for you, sell the items on eBay. Do this once a month instead of quarterly.
#2 Take the advice of the television show Clean Sweep. The advice suggested creating three large bins and labelling them. Label the bins Keep, Sell, and Trash. Then separate your items into these bins. If the Sell and Trash bins are empty, redo the process until they are full.
#3 Commit to giving up one hour a day of internet time. If you normally spend four hours each day on the internet, only spend three. Spend this time with family and have them reduce their internet time as well.
- The Minimalist Mindset
Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less