Note: This is a guest post by Winnie of Her Digital Coffee.
“I’ve found that the less stuff I own, the less my stuff owns me.” —Nathan W. Morris
A few years ago, I came across several videos online discussing minimalism. It wasn’t a concept that I was familiar with at the time, but it immediately piqued my interest. I was fascinated by the sheer happiness and fulfillment these individuals found just by living with less, and I had to learn more.
As I began to reflect on my own lifestyle, I found it challenging to envision myself living in the same manner. I took one look around my surroundings and asked myself, “Where do I even start? What if I need all of these things? Is this lifestyle even attainable? How can I possibly find more joy living with less?”
Despite my initial hesitation, I figured it was worth a shot. If my stuff was causing me stress and affecting my productivity, then the least I should be getting out of this experience is more desk space. Little did I know that this journey that I was about to embark on would change the course of my life for the better.
I decided to set aside a weekend to sort through my belongings. It should’ve been an easy process, right? But I was wrong. I quickly realized that letting go of things was much harder than I had expected. It was a mental process of detaching from physical items and several hours later, I found myself in the same spot with no progress.
Rather than giving up completely, I managed to feel good about finding a few things to donate. I repeated this process weekly, and while some may say it was tedious operation, it worked for me. This method allowed me to be productive on a pace that I was comfortable with.
The hardest thing about decluttering is thinking “What if I need this down the road?” Once I couldn’t remember what I had donated the week before, that’s when I knew the answer was “never.”
After months of consistent effort, I began feeling much lighter. I no longer had an attachment to physical items. It brought me so much peace to look around my space and be greeted with items that actually enhanced and added value to my life.
I was no longer fazed by trends or felt the pressures from social media to have the newest product or gadget. I began prioritizing experiences, which lead to me becoming more mindful and appreciating the little things in life.
The feeling of living with less was empowering because I realized just how little I needed to be happy. In fact, my first trip to the mall since my decluttering session was an enlightening experience. I went from impulse shopping to window shopping. It became easier to say no to buying new things and being mindful of my spending.
More Than the Physical
As my journey progressed, I realized that minimalism had bled into every aspect of my life. What once started with decluttering physical items now turned into a spiritual experience. It’s taught me the importance of letting go of things that don’t serve you.
If something didn’t add value to my life or make my life easier, then I didn’t want it. I was more mindful of my personal connections. Whether it be a relationship or a friendship, if it’s not healthy or bringing the best of out of me, then it was time to let it go. I learned the true meaning behind quality over quantity.
Now, I had all the time in the world to enjoy nature, new foods, and exciting experiences, because I was no longer stressed and overwhelmed by my physical surroundings. Rather than collecting physical things that would bring joy for just a moment, I was now collecting memories that would bring me joy for a lifetime.
Embracing a minimalist lifestyle certainly didn’t happen overnight, but it’s been a worthwhile and rewarding experience. It’s incredible how something as simple as living with less has shifted my mood and perspective so greatly.
I’ve learned that minimalism is more than just decluttering, owning a certain number of clothing, or limiting yourself to buying cool things. The beautiful thing about this journey is that it’s going to look different for everyone. The journey is going to be unique, just like you are.
If I had to answer the question that popped into my head before I began my journey which was “How can I possibly find more joy living with less?” I’d answer today by saying, “Through the most magical journey of letting go, that’s when you find your truest self.”
Winnie is the founder and creator of Her Digital Coffee, an online space that dives into lifestyle topics that spark passion and encourage meaningful conversations. Her Digital Coffee’s popular subjects include wellness, sustainability, travel, books, and more. Say hello and connect on Twitter and Instagram.