I am a minimalist.
(But you may have guessed that already)
I am very open about striving for a simpler life and often encourage my friend and family to do the same. I'm sure I drive them nuts.
Minimalism has become such a huge part of my life. And I think that finding minimalism was nothing short of a miracle. When you make an effort to be intentional about your life, it's crazy the things that change!
I want to share my story with you.
It's not glamorous, but for me, it was life changing.
How minimalism found me
I didn't find minimalism. It found me.
(I know that sounds ridiculous.)
Life change was not something I was looking for. My life was just fine, thank you very much.
All I wanted was a way to keep my stuff organized.
I was stuck in an endless cycle of organizing and reorganizing and organizing again. No matter how much I cleaned and organized, I was still overwhelmed by stuff.
Nothing seemed to help.
I scoured the internet daily for ways to keep my messy house in check. But even though I'd find dozens of ideas, I was typically too exhausted to try any of them.
I was in a rut.
And then it happened.
I was looking for yet another way to organize my stuff and keep my house from turning into a disaster, when I stumbled across an article about de-cluttering.
I ignored it, obviously.
Stuff wasn't the problem, organization was.
Or so I thought.
More articles, more organization ideas, more time wasted, more things I would have to buy to store all my stuff, and more things I would have to keep up with and keep clean....
It was too much.
So when I came across another minimalism article, I was just desperate enough to see what it was about.
I don't remember the article or anything about it. But I remember that it resonated with me so deeply, I needed to read more.
So I did.
I read another. And another. And another. I spent the rest of the night reading blog after blog about minimalism.
It seemed too good to be true. But the hope it stirred in me--the hope that I could live a fuller life, in a cleaner house, with less stress--was undeniable.
The great purge of 2015
I've always been a woman of action, so it didn't take long before I was tired of just reading about minimalism.
So I got rid of all my stuff.
Ok, not all of it. But I wanted to.
I spent that weekend filling box after box and bag after bag full of stuff. If I filled up a bag? That's ok, I'd just start filling another.
As soon as I had a pile of boxes and bags, (and by pile I mean I had so many boxes it looked like I was moving out) I put it all in my car and took it far away.
But I didn't stop after that. I just kept going.
Over the course of just a couple days, I'd removed well over half the stuff in my house. I can't even begin to put into words the weight that was lifted off of me.
I felt free.
Trips to the donation center have become a routine part of my life since then. Though the decluttering has slowed down considerably, I still find things to part with.
Since the great purge, I've never looked back. That was just the beginning.
Changing my expectations
Positive change always inspires more positive change.
As I started becoming more mindful and intentional about my possessions, I noticed a shift in my entire way of thinking.
I used to have myself convinced that to be productive or to live a fulfilling life meant that I needed to be busy all the time. Busy is best is the lie I told myself.
Even on days off, I'd write myself long to-do lists and make sure I was doing something every minute of the day.
Busy is productive and productive is fulfilling. That was my mantra.
It took me way too long to realize that a busy life did nothing but leave me tired and exhausted and stressed And not only that, but I was disappointed in myself for feeling that way.
My expectations of myself weren't realistic. And my priorities were a mess.
That's no way to live.
Learning to slow down
Since my decision to embrace minimalism, I've learned how important it is to slow down.
I don't need to fill up my days with mindless tasks. And I don't need to say yes to doing things that are going to leave me stressed or exhausted.
When I got rid of most of my stuff, it left my days very open. I had less to clean, less to take care of. The urge to fill up all that extra time with more things was almost unbearable.
It took a few weeks, but eventually I learned to let that time remain open. I let myself relax and just be.
Now, I try to simply accomplish 1 or 2 things a day. I have very short to-do lists.
And as a result? It's the opposite of what you'd think.
My house actually stays cleaner and my head stays clearer. I don't know that I'd say I'm more productive now, because I'm not, but I'd definitely say I'm happier.
And that is 100% worth it.
Lowering my stress level
I hate stress. It's the worst.
I've been told that some stress is actually good for you (I don't believe it). But chronic stress is bad. Very, very bad.
Stress will probably always be a part of my life in some way, but now my home isn't part of that stress. Home is a safe place.
There are so few things that I need to clean or take care of. That is the natural result of not having anything in your house!
But my journey has also been about changing my habits. I do little things throughout the day to make things easier on myself later, like putting things away immediately instead of waiting until later.
Little things make all the difference in the world.
I definitely haven't arrived yet. My life isn't the stress-free paradise I'm striving towards. But it is getting better every day.
I'm learning to slow down, take things one day at a time, one task at a time.
So what does any of this have to do with you?
I'm not typically one to just talk about myself without having a reason. So why is it important for me to tell you my story? Let me tell you.
Minimalism has been one of the greatest life changing decisions I've ever made. And the impact on my life has been so great, I want to be able to share that with all of you.
My hope is that each and every one of you will experience the same freedom, the same sense of fulfillment in pursing a simpler life.
Minimalism ignited a passion in me. I believe that you deserve better than to be stressed out and busy all the time. I want to help you take your life back. I want to help you create a life that you love, that is relaxing and, most importantly, stress free!
And that's why this blog exists. Because I want to help you learn the joy of living simply. You deserve that.
Minimalism isn't a cure all, and it doesn't magically fix all your problems. Minimalism is a tool to help you refocus and create a life you love. It gives you room to breathe.