Sometimes it feels like our world is falling completely apart. We just don’t feel like we were born to succeed. We look around and wonder if anyone else feels like this big of a mess. Our money is scarce, our house unkempt, our health not looking too good and our relationships going down the drain. So we can’t help but think:
“What the hell is wrong with me!?”
But you mustn’t feel so bad; It’s not all your fault!
It’s the Consumerism Sabotage
Since a young age, you had your googly eyes wide open as you were out and about processing as much information as possible and figuring out how life worked. Everything you experienced in your home, at school, or anywhere you were until this day has served as the main guidance for you to arrive where you are now.
So where did it all go wrong?
Think of yourself as a computer system. It started with our system (us) suffering a series of virus attacks (brainwashing).
For example, TV commercials told us that if we want to look beautiful, we must have their brand of clothing, that the most attractive folks would buy this line of fragrance, or even that their magic pills can make you thin in very little time.
Imagine our system didn’t have an anti-virus (awareness). As a result, the virus would seep in and reprogram your system to add new files (new watches, clothing, jewelry, etc.) at random times on its own (impulse purchases).
Now imagine what happens when you keep ignoring the signs that you need an antivirus (debt, having too much stuff, etc.). You keep making impulse buys until your life collapses under the chaos.
It’s time to install the antivirus before that happens. What’s the best antivirus? Minimalism.
The What, Why and How of Minimalism
What is minimalism?
As I interviewed my friend Matthew Romanchick about minimalism, he gave me what I found to be the best definition yet: “Removing the stuff that sucks you dry in favor of the things that bring you life.”
So that includes removing material things, people, and old thought patterns from your life that suck you dry instead of making you a better person (This doesn’t include friends that give you constructive criticism you may not want to hear every once in a while).
Why should we become minimalists?
Consumerism is reaching new heights, and it’s a serious thing. It has become normal to spend money you don´t have, on things you don´t need. According to nerdwallet.com’s 2016 statistics report, the average household owed $137,063 in debts including credit cards, mortgage, auto loans, etc. and the worst news is that after you are in debt, it continues to cost you money to stay in debt. $1,292 per year to be exact – that is the cost of yearly interest for credit card debt alone. As a result of this, more and more people are becoming homeless and depressed in the US. In a single night in 2016 there were 549,928 people experiencing homelessness. Minimalism is the perfect way to combat this craze and help bring peace and fulfillment to people´s lives.
How can minimalism help bring peace and fulfillment?
By reducing your consumption to what is essential, your life is filled with peace. Minimalism will give you the money, time, and freedom to breathe and enjoy a low maintenance, stress-free and abundant life, instead of falling into the false illusion that one day you will have all the material things you need to finally be happy.
Here is how it works
Minimalizing equals having less — Fewer responsibilities, less debt, less guilt, less stress and less wish to buy.
Minimalizing, however, also equals having more — More savings, a more clear conscience, a more pleasant night’s sleep, and a more joyful and intentional life which in turn equals to a happier life.
Does this mean a minimalist’s life is easy? Well, I can guarantee you that it´s simpler and more efficient than most!
I take pride in getting ready in 15 minutes and looking great for the day ahead of me. But imagine that all of the sudden you could have more time for reading books or being with friends, more mental clarity to accomplish your daily goals, having renewed confidence to give dating another shot, or for some, rekindling that romance with your loved one. Imagine looking at your bank account and realizing you have the money saved up for going on trips or investing on something just for you. Minimalizing makes all of this and so much more possible!
Now if you are wondering when is the best time to start this process, I have a straightforward technique to determine that. But first, we must figure out what we need to minimalize most.
What you can minimalize
This list is to give you a better idea of where you can start.
Make sure you prepare your own personal list of what you want to get rid of or adapt to serve you better.
- Your home – Check out my article on these revolutionizing traveling tiny homes. Are they amazing or what? TINY HOMES — THE BIGGEST LIFE HACK
- Spending – Here are some awesome saving challenges for you to fill up that bank account. 5 Money Saving Challenges to Try
- Relationships/People – ” Show me your friends and I will show you your future.” That about sums it up.
- Harmful thought patterns – When did feeling guilty for something you did 12 years ago solve anything? Think instead how you can make things better today. Other examples of harmful thought patterns that limit your success are fear, anxiety, feelings of unworthiness, etc.
- Wardrobe – Create your own unique capsule wardrobe and improve your life by 1000%. It’s a minimalist trend you´ll love! How to Build A Capsule Wardrobe [Gold Zipper]
- Shoes – Do you really need 20 pairs of shoes for one pair of feet?
- Memory box – Take pictures of the things and store on a hard drive instead. They will last you forever and save space.
- Make-up – Did you know the average woman spends $200k on make-up in the span of a lifetime? You could buy five amazing tiny homes with that money. How crazy is that?
- Cars – Imagine how much more gas, money, and health you would save by bike riding or walking down to the market to get those two things you need?
Now that you have a clearer picture of what to minimalize, below are eight practical steps to guide your decluttering journey.
Let´s Get Down and Dirty
Here is where we finally minimalize.
Remember that you can go at your own pace because it’s not a race, it’s a beautiful life-changing journey.
STEP 1. Make a list of what you want to minimalize.
I suggest choosing one area of your home to declutter at a time, and if you are having a harder time detaching, you can start a bit smaller and declutter a section of a room of choice every weekend like for example, the kitchen cabinets this weekend, and the bathroom the next, etc.
STEP 2. Take 4 boxes and label: Trash/Donation/Sell/Unsure.
Although these are mostly self-explanatory, I’d like to elaborate on the trash box (you could also just fill up a trash bag instead). You should only trash the item if it is broken, with defects, a product with very little content or that is unusable. Also trash personal things such as letters or things that bring you negative emotions – You are beginning a fresh new phase of your life, possibly one of the best yet, why keep these things that take away your joy?
STEP 3. The checklist.
Ask yourself the questions from the minimalist checklist below for each item you own, and whatever you do, always use this list when you think of acquiring something new.
Minimalist check off list
- Do I love it?
- Do I need it?
- Do I have multiples?
- Does it represent me well?
- Have I used it in the past six months?
STEP 4. Place each item in the appropriate box.
If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions (except for #3), then you should probably sell, donate or trash the item.
STEP 5. Give special attention to items with emotional attachments
This is usually intense and makes you feel like a loser at being a minimalist at first, but it’s really just part of the journey. You are going to have items you are not going to want to part with because no matter how much you dislike it, it was your grandma that gave it to you. No matter how much you resent that cheating ex from high school, you can’t bring yourself to throw away the love letter he wrote you.
What you need to do is run it through the minimalist checklist. If it turns out it doesn’t logically make sense to keep a certain item, then take a picture of it and store that instead. But if you’re really unsure about letting it go, keep it on the unsure pile.
STEP 6. The one in, one out rule.
One day you will find yourself in love with something you saw somewhere, and you are going to feel like you need to have it. A very efficient method of knowing if this item is superfluous or not is to utilize the one in one out rule. For this, you must get rid of one item you already own in exchange for the new one you wish to get. So before you buy it, make sure you have in mind the item that’s going to go (Don´t use this method while grocery shopping).
STEP 7. Have a place for seasonal items.
Example: If you’re in the summer, keep those winter clothes inside a suitcase under your bed or stored in your area of preference. When winter arrives, switch them out with your current summer clothes you won’t be needing like shorts, bikinis, crop tops, etc. Do this for every season if you find it necessary.
STEP 8. Keep the cycle going.
It is important to maintain and reorganize every so often. The reason for that is that it’s easy for things to pile up again if you’re not attentive and strict enough, so make sure to do that occasional cleaning and recycling to freshen up your wardrobe, looks, and home. I like to reassess my belongings every weekend as I clean my closet.
That’s it — these are the basic steps to minimalizing. Make sure to check out minimalist bloggers and explore different methods. There is a world of wonderful minimalists overflowing wisdom and talent out there on the web. But hold on, before you go, there is still one last thing we must address.
Minimizing Minimalist Misconceptions
- I love clothes and shoes. I can’t be a minimalist.
If you love clothes and shoes (or anything else), that just means you should spend your time with the ones that deserve your time, a selection of the best and nothing less! And let me tell you, this will allow you to look and feel 100x better.
- Minimalism is extreme
As much as living with all that you need and not running to the mall to shop for superfluous things as soon as you get your paycheck tends to be considered extreme, we like to think that a life of consumerism that brings every day countless people to homelessness, as extreme.
- Minimalism is for plain/simple women
That’s a plain “no”… As a minimalist, you can be as bright and bold as ever. The only difference is that you won´t go broke, nuts or in debt because of it.
- There is a specific amount of items you need to have as a minimalist
Each individual is in charge of finding out what is “minimal” to them. There isn´t a set rule though some people like to challenge themselves by cutting down their belongings by 288,55 or even 33 pieces of items or less.
- Minimalists are cheap and don’t own nice things
False statement. Since minimalists have fewer expenses, they can afford to invest more money on items of better quality that will last them longer and look better.
I hope this article has helped you on your journey and that you fall in love with minimalism like I and countless others have.
Minimalism has come as a lifestyle and gift in which to change the lives of those who struggle as a result of a consumerist life, that only takes life from our lives and never gives back. Don’t you worry — the fulfillment that you thought you would get from that item will not be lost. You can create fulfillment within yourself by minimalizing your life and maximizing the pleasant, guilt-free, and memorable moments in it.
Ladies, you are filled with pure potential to mold yourselves into the woman you have always longed to be, and the reason for that is: you’re human, you’re unique, and you are destined for greatness, no matter who you are. It is up to you to follow the path that is leading you towards a bright new beginning. So, say yes!
Abundant blessings to all.
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