Embracing Minimalism

Embracing Minimalism: Focus On What You Gain

Embracing Minimalism

Looking to embrace a more minimalist life? Focus on what you gain!

Starting new habits can be hard at times, but could it be because we are looking at them the wrong way?

How many people don't stick to a weight loss or fitness goal because they put their focus on foods they have to give up and gym time they have to commit to; rather than focusing on all the energy, confidence and strength they will gain.

Others might not set budgets and/or control their debt and spending because they will have to give up certain 'luxuries', all while being oblivious to the fact that they will gain so much peace of mind and financial freedom if they follow through.

Altering the way we look at a new habit can make it much easier to start and keep.

minimalism journal

Be Mindful

When talking about living a simpler, more minimalist life, I am mostly addressing the concept of living more mindfully, and becoming consciously aware of what you're allowing into your life.

This could mean becoming more conscious of your spending habits, more aware of your thought patterns, or finally seeing the clutter and disarray of unnecessary excess in your environment. 

When you start becoming aware of excess, use this opportunity to become more 'minimalistic'.

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Some might be afraid to address the matter and may choose to look the other way. They might find it easier because by taking an honest look at the issue they may feel they now have to 'give up' certain possessions and so forth.

But again, rather than paying so much attention on what you are "giving up', I instead wanted to focus on all the things you might gain...

minimalist benefits

A clear conscience

When you are being honest about any out of control spending or excess you can feel good about moving forward with 'less' because your mind will be clear and you know you are doing what is truly right for your finances and well being.

Insight on waste

When you start paying attention to things, you become aware of what is taking up the most time, space, and energy. Only then can you streamline/make cuts where necessary. You'll stop wasting that time, money, and space.

Time to explore

who you really are and what you're about without distractions of anyone else defining you and deciding what you should wear, like, eat, etc. Try this by starting from 'ground zero' and decide what to add/keep/delete from your life.

More of what matters most

  • money (because you aren't spending frivolously on items you more than likely don't want/need)
  • space in your home
  • mental clarity
  • peace and contentment

When embracing a simpler, more mindful way of living the biggest thing you'll find you have to give up is letting 'autopilot' run the show. You will have to consciously take more control of your actions and their results.

When you have to buy something you don't need because it's on sale, or keep something around that you never use/wear because you just might need it one day.. this is your chance to be more mindful.. to embrace a more minimalist approach... and to shift your focus to what you might gain in the process.

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how we became minimalists

How We Became Minimalists

Sometimes, when I look at our current day to day life, I tend to forget how far we’ve come, and how exactly we got to where we are today. It’s almost as if I’m talking about completely different people!

It wasn’t until we sat down to write this post that I took a step back and saw how everything worked out to get us to the place we currently are at this time.

So how exactly did we end up the more minimalist types that we are now?

Life Before Simplifying

Now it might sound as if I’m being a bit dramatic, but I can assure you that this was very much our life at the beginning of this journey.

minimalist

So to start: we had several vehicles (I won’t give an exact number, but in addition to cars and trucks, we even owned multiple riding lawn mowers as well); a large 3 bedroom house (for two people) a 2 car garage.. with a loft.. filled with boxes upon boxes of storage and spare furniture.

We even had a lake house and a couple boats!

To move on to just myself: I had several boxes of shoes that I never wore, stacks of purses that I never used, clothes hanging in my closet with tags still attached. All while having the feeling that I needed this or that because I ‘never had anything to wear’.

How did we get here?

It was a bit out of hand to say the least. But how did we get to this point of what some might consider unnecessary excess? My observation looking back is that it was a combination of a few things.

One being the mindless motions of the ‘day to day’. At the time we were running a small property management business, keeping up with bills and bookkeeping, being very involved with church, community, and family events; all while trying to eat a balanced diet, work out, stay hydrated, and get a full eight hours of sleep.¬†feeling overwhelmed

We ended up accumulating “stuff” all along the way. It was just life.

But our life had been on auto pilot. We didn’t have time to deal with the accumulating clutter and ‘unconscious consuming’ that was all around us.

We were too caught up in the busyness of it all.

It seemed the solution at the time was to just keep moving faster and working harder; but what we actually needed to do was slow down, take a step back, and take a hard realistic look at what we were caught up in. We had to decide for ourselves what we truly wanted and valued.

So we did just that, and decided to make a change.

The First Big Move

So we figured the next logical step was to leave it all behind, fit everything we could into a u-haul truck, and move across the country. Haha… but no.. really. That’s what we did.

And some really great things came from making this decision; it was our fist real opportunity to ‘consciously choose’ what came with us, to choose what stayed in our lives.

We had to take a hard look at everything we’d accumulated and decide what was making the cut and what we were willing to let go of. We were also able to sell all off the items that didn’t make the cut, and the profits made were enough to cover all of our relocation costs, and then some!

decided to move

So we made the move and settled in nicely to our new, smaller, but nicer, place. And we made this move with a lot less stuff, and a lot more mental clarity.

We made one other move within 3 years, this time just across town, and found ourselves with another fresh opportunity to re-evaluate our belongings. And not everything made the cut.

Our move was to a nicer apartment by the ocean, better quality all around, but once again, with less space and less stuff.

Every time we’ve made these moves and cuts it has given us a chance to practice ‘zero based thinking‘. Basically what that means is imagine you have a fresh slate.. you start with nothing.. would you specifically choose everything that is currently in your life?

The Biggest Move Yet

So, moves across the country are cool and all, but we were ready for something more. flying to another country

We decided to leave our cozy home, fit what we could into four suitcases, and and set off to a new continent!

The experience was scary, terrifying, amazing and incredible! I would recommend it to anyone.

Having to learn a new language and immerse yourself in a different culture can truly give you a renewed perspective unlike anything else; as well as instill an appreciation for simple things that might have been taken for granted in the past.

You walk away with a greater sense of confidence and trust in yourself.

We gained so many memorable experiences in our short stay. After four months of living in this foreign place we decided to make our way back to the states.

But not without first abandoning at least one suitcase, of course.:)

To find out about the next step in our journey, and our exciting plans from here, keep a lookout for Part 2 of this series!

Minimalist vs Conscious Consumer

The Minimalist vs The Conscious Consumer

Becoming Minimalist

In my quest for less clutter and more freedom, I decided to make steps towards a more minimalist lifestyle. It made sense; what I was seeking in my day to day life was more “experiences” and less “stuff”.

So I started selling and donating what I saw I could live without. Goodbye television, farewell excess wardrobe, adi√≥s bulky desktop computer. I tossed and purged until I finally hit my stopping point. To become a true “minimalist” I felt that there were still a lot of items that had to go.

But the possessions I was left with, I realized, were ones that were of true value and importance to me. I felt that by discarding these remaining items I would be lacking. These were also items that I had put a lot of thought and research into before deciding to purchase them. There were also a few things I may have been a bit sentimental about as well.¬† That’s when I realized I am not so much an “extreme” minimalist as I had thought, but more so a conscious consumer.

So What is the Difference?

In making the choice to become a minimalist, I started researching other blogs as well as reading books on the topic. What I took away was that a minimalist should basically be able to live out of a suitcase! Now that would be to the “extreme” of course, but their focus is to delete possessions and declutter their life, which allows them more freedom.

To an extent I lined up with all of their values, but I hit a point where I felt like I was sacrificing a certain level of my quality of life for the sake of freedom and adventure. I realized I could find the freedom I was looking for simply by being mindful and grateful for what possessions I currently had and allowed in my life.

The Conscious Consumer

So my take on the conscious consumer? They are mindful! They are very aware of their purchases, and make them with intent and purpose. They do research on their prospective product or consumer good. They are content with what the currently have, and take responsibility in making the choice to purchase items rather than allowing alluring marketing to make the choice for them. They focus on filtering items in and out of their life through mindfulness, and not tossing everything out to the curb!

Which One Is Better?

Okay, so¬†which option is right for you? Where are you at? Where are you trying to end up? My advise would be to take a look at what your goals are right now. If you are looking for long term travel and ultimate freedom at this time in your life then minimalism might be right for you! The great thing about pursuing this lifestyle is that it doesn’t have to be a one size fits all.

If our ultimate goal is happiness and fulfillment, then the important thing is that we are looking in the right places. Click To Tweet

I know that empty mindless consuming can be just as sad as having nothing at all.

So whether you chose to live happily with very few possessions or you chose to fill your home with lots of things you love and cherish, the important thing is that you made the choice.

Consciously. Mindfully. With intention and gratitude.