The most obvious benefit of having a more minimalist lifestyle has to be having a cleaner home; less clutter equates to less time cleaning. Less time trying to organise your things, less time tidying and less time panicking because your house is a mess when you have unexpected guests. Something I think we’ve all experienced. But what about the other benefits? Although I’m still working on minimising my stuff, I’m starting to notice some other advantages of leading a more minimalist lifestyle…Here are just five things that I’ve been thinking about this week.
1. I’m starting to be more careful about how I spend my time. I think this quote says it all, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” ~ Stephen Covey. It’s so easy to get caught up in the small things, the minutiae of life, that we often forget about the big picture. Yes, we all need to work to pay the bills, to go to our classes…but do we really need to be spending three hours watching cable TV or surfing the net when we get home? Cutting back on these “habits” has helped me focus….it’s helped me get some spontaneity back into my life. To motivate me on a sunny day to grab my shoes and head out with the kids. To create some space where I can really think about what matters to me and what my goals in life are.
2. It’s time to create some new habits. What are your passions? What do you love doing? One new habit I’ve picked up, is to start to read more. Not just when I can’t sleep late at night, but during the day. I’m trying to carve out some time every morning when I can grab a coffee, open a book and just read a little. I love cutting out the noise and being alone with my thoughts. Sometimes I barely read a few pages, before realising that I’m gazing out of the window and just daydreaming…about the things I want to do, the places I still want to visit and maybe people that I haven’t seen in a while. It makes me realise that if I can find the time to read, I can find the time to do other things, too …
3. Let go of the guilt. Studies show that we’re more likely to hold onto things we’ve spent a lot of money on – even if they no longer hold any value for us. This week, I’ve made it a priority to sell some of these items – including some of those silly purchases that I mentioned in last week’s post. I’ve made back a fraction of what I paid, but I no longer have to look at them and feel guilt not only about wasting my money but the hours that I wasted working to be able to afford them in the first place. I’m turning this negative around…the items are going to a new home where someone else can get pleasure out of them and I’m saving up the money for a special family treat.
4.I’m better at time keeping. This might sound a little strange….so bear with me. For years we’ve heard the slogans about being able to have it all. How, for example, women can work, have a family, a brilliant social life and a perfect home. I’ve come to the conclusion that personally, I can’t do it all. And that’s okay. I live better if I focus on one thing at a time and try to do it as well as I can. This means that if I’ve agreed to complete a work assignment then I’ll be there on time and I’ll do it well. If on the other hand, I’ve arranged to meet a friend for coffee then I’ll be there too…I won’t spend time refreshing emails or social media before setting out. I’ll be there when I said I would. Sometimes I have to say no, decline invitations or work offers, but that’s okay too. I know that I can’t do everything.
5. Downsizing works for us. A couple of years ago we moved from a property with a living space of 1,300 square feet to one with 900 square feet. Not only do we appreciate the lower utility bills and the nicer area (we traded living space for a preferable location), but we think more carefully about how we arrange our home and what we bring into it. It also means we spend more time together, which is never a bad thing 🙂
I’d love to hear your thoughts on living a more minimalist lifestyle. Is it something that you’re working towards, too? Have you been working on creating some space in your daily routine to spend time on those things that are really important to you? Please leave your comments below, I love reading them!