When we think of minimalism, we often imagine sleek, sparse décor. De-cluttering is an essential aspect of it, but minimalism is about so much more than just getting rid of old junk. Minimalism is about getting rid of anything that weighs us down.
It’s about eliminating the things that don’t matter so we can focus on the things that do. It’s about intentional living, finding a deeper meaning in life, and doing what makes us happy.
When I decided to take on a more minimalist lifestyle, I donated some clothes to charity. I sold books, CD’s, and movies to a used bookstore. I also stopped buying more stuff – I’m currently on a three year spending ban. It’s freeing to know that my life and my level of “success” are no longer tied to meaningless material objects.
But those objects are not the only things in my life that weigh me down. There are plenty of other things that can feel “heavy” in our lives – disappointments, financial problems, and the expectations of others, to name a few.
On my quest toward living a more minimalist lifestyle, I’ve decided to give up five things that have become too “heavy”.
Of everything in my life that weighs me down, my massive student loan debt is the heaviest. I work hard and live extremely frugally so that I can pay my loans off in full by 2018. Debt is heavy because it takes away our freedom.
When we’re in debt, our time isn’t really ours. Our money isn’t, either. We work hard and give almost all of that hard-earned money to creditors. We don’t get to enjoy the money that we worked so hard for.
Getting out of debt isn’t easy. It requires hard work and sacrifice. Your friends probably don’t understand – they probably think you’re crazy.
They might think that you should extend your debt payments so that you can live a “normal” lifestyle. They might encourage you to travel, buy a house you can’t afford, or buy a new car that isn’t 20 years old.
This is what “everyone” does, right? Wrong.
It doesn’t matter what other people think. They aren’t the ones who have to live your life and pay your bills. What matters is what you want. If you want to be free of debt, it’s time to let go of the expectations of others.
Bad habits can become “heavy” when they start to affect our health (or our wallets). Whatever your vice, how is it affecting your life? How will it affect your future? If you want to live a healthy, happy life, you have a much better chance of doing so if you cut out whatever unhealthy habits you’ve acquired.
It might be overeating, shopping, complaining, binge drinking, smoking, or an addiction to your iPhone. Everyone is different. Most of us have at least one or two unhealthy habits we could get rid of in order to live a happier, lighter existence.
How much time do you spend doing things that provide no value to your life? If you started taking the time to truly evaluate this, you’d probably be surprised to find that you waste a lot more time than you realize. “Just five minutes” on Facebook can easily become a half hour.
When I decided to live a more minimalist lifestyle, I decided to stop doing things that I feel are pointless. I’m not glued to my phone 24/7 anymore. I don’t paint my nails very often. I don’t spend 60 minutes taking surveys to earn 10 cents. My time is valuable, and I’m not going to waste it doing things that provide nothing worthwhile.
The Pursuit of Perfection
Time is a precious, limited resource. We only have so many hours in the day to get things done. I have several goals that I deem important – I want to:
-Pay off $117,000 of debt in three years.
-Lose another 20+ pounds and build muscle.
-Increase my side hustling income to $1,000 per month.
-Maintain my blog and build a freelance portfolio.
-Become a Canva expert and increase my blogging page views dramatically through Pinterest.
-Improve my photography skills to the point where I could earn side income as a photographer.
-Go to holy yoga classes every week and become an advanced yogi.
-Learn to cook healthy, affordable meals from scratch.
-Make sure my puppy is 100% potty trained, well-behaved, and not chewing on everything in sight.
-Keep my space constantly clean and organized (keep in mind I live with 4 other humans, 2 cats, 1 puppy, and 1 chihuahua).
-Do an hour of cardio daily.
-Do strength training several times per week.
-Go on long walks often.
-Spend quality time with my husband.
-Get together with friends regularly.
-Go to church every week and read the Bible daily.
-Attend Financial Peace University classes weekly.
-Volunteer more often.
I have numerous goals, and quite frankly, it’s impossible to do all of these things every week. I have a full-time day job, and there are only a limited number of hours in the day. Something has to give.
Some of these goals are more important to me than others (and some are a lot more realistic than others). I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never be a human pretzel and my yoga skills will probably always be average (if even that). And I’m not going to learn to cook elaborate meals anytime soon.
That’s okay. We can’t all be experts at everything.
A Final Note
When we think of de-cluttering, we typically imagine getting rid of physical objects. Being a minimalist is about more than just getting rid of stuff.
It’s about getting rid of anything that weighs us down – even intangible things like debt, the expectations of others, unhealthy habits, time wasters, and the pursuit of perfection.
What have you given up during your minimalist journey?
Other stuff you might like:
The More of Less by Joshua Becker
Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Mind, Body, and Soul by Ruth Soukup
The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living by Anna Newell Jones
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz