Minimalism is about maximizing what matters.
Joshua Becker, a prominent authority on minimalism defined it really well, like this: “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.”
Minimalism is about choosing intentional living. It is about focusing on what we really value, and choosing to create a life that promotes those things. For me right now, that doesn’t mean anything too glamorous. The things that I want to spend my time on right now are getting enough sleep, working out, spending time with friends, actually interacting with my kids (rather then keeping them busy while I do all those endless chores), and spending time as a family on the weekend. In order for any of those things to be a reality, I can’t be spending all my time shopping for more stuff, or cleaning, tidying and organizing the stuff I already have.
I mean, life requires a fair amount of stuff, and kids come with even more stuff, but I don’t need to make it any worse by adding a whole lot of extra junk to the mix. I don’t need new throw pillows, and I don’t need to save every one I’ve ever had on my sofa. I don’t need every amazing kitchen gadget on the market. I don’t need all those DVD’s I never watch. Nor do I need dozens of cute shoes. If I had all that stuff, I’d need more furniture to store it in, bigger rooms, and bigger closets. And I’d need more knick-knacks to decorate it, and I’d spend more time dusting them. And my husband would spend more time at the office paying for that bigger home.
Reducing your physical things can help free your time to be spend on more meaningful things. I began my minimalism journey by reducing my clothes, and I found several surprising benefits from my efforts. Since many people start their minimalism journey there, I’ll share a few key rewards you may earn in that area. The same basic benefits apply elsewhere as well.
- O N E
First and most importantly, by reducing your clothes (or anything else), you will change your relationship with things. When you look at an item, evaluate it’s usefulness and decide to toss it, you are training your brain that you don’t need things to be happy. You are releasing your dependence on owning stuff for happiness. Rather than finding joy from shopping and amassing a large quantity of clothes, or other items, you will learn to view them as they truly are. A tool. They are there to help you do the really important stuff.
- T W O
You will reduce decision fatigue. Making decisions costs you time and mental energy. When a person has to make a lot of decisions, they end up making poor decisions. If you have all your long sleeved shirts and wool coats hanging beside your tank tops in July, your brain has to eliminate all of those pieces as you decide what to wear. By removing all clothing items that are not wearable options right now, you reduce the number of decisions you have to make. The process of deciding what to wear will take much less time and mental energy.
- T H R E E
As I just said, getting dressed will take much less time if you have a limited selection of clothes. You won’t be changing outfits 10 times before you find something you feel good in.
- F O U R
You will experience a better self image, because you are elevating the standard by which you choose your clothes. You will not bring something into your life that drags you down. Instead, you will only accept clothes that make you happy and confident.
- F I V E
You may also find that you save money on your clothes. This depends on how you choose to shop. But it follows that if you are buying less, you are likely to spend less.
- S I X
Another potential benefit, is that you may wear higher quality goods. Again, this depends on how you prefer to shop. I have found that as I have become more selective about what I wear, I’ve chosen to spend more on each item. I still enjoy getting cheap fashion pieces that I know will only last one season, but I don’t spend much on those. I will however, not feel guilty at all about spending a lot of money on a quality pair of jeans or shoes that I will wear year after year.
Minimalism is about maximizing what matters. It’s about taking the focus from the stuff, and transferring it to the actual life I’m living. Instead of obsession over staying exactly on trend with the latest exciting clothing styles, I’m working on finding a few key pieces that I love, and spending time with my family instead.