When I was young, I was definitely not a minimalist. I had tons of shoes, clothes, makeup, and purses, and I was always adding to the pile. While many of the things I purchased were on sale or from thrift stores, it didn’t stop me from bringing new-to-me items home all the time.
It wasn’t until I moved out of the country and lived in the Caribbean for three years that I finally broke the habit.
Minimalism is Beautiful
When I moved to the Caribbean, I experienced what it was like to be truly happy. For most people, it’s something they search for for a very long time; however, there I was in a beautiful place in the tiniest apartment with hardly any material possessions and I felt great joy. It was then and there that I realized that although I liked having nice, pretty things, they weren’t adding to my happiness.
Everyone says that “things” don’t make you happy but I didn’t believe it until I stripped my life of all material possessions and lived in a developing country, for three solid years.
My experience living abroad had lasting effects. I came home and couldn’t even visit a mall. It was far too overwhelming and overpowering for my senses. I finally understood what it meant to not want anything at all. After all, I really do have everything I need. We all do.
How to Become Minimalist
The best way to become a minimalist and save significant money is to stop buying things. Yes, it really is that simple! Stop going to the mall on the weekends. Stop surfing the sales online. Drive on by the yard sale without giving it a second glance. Yes, you can find good deals everywhere, but what’s the joy in that when all it does is clutter up your house and your life?
In addition to not buying things, it’s also good to donate or sell the possessions you no longer want or need.
This can be hard to do, especially if you paid good money for something, but once it’s gone, you’ll hardly notice it. I just gave away a ton of clothes and an entire bag of baby toys and already my home feels lighter and fresher. Not only that, but every time I clear out an area, it makes me want to start on another one.
It’s a Process
Becoming a minimalist is definitely a process. It takes time and baby steps to get there. It’s also just a mindset where you’re not enticed by everything the world has to offer and you’re content to just be as you are in your own home without all the extras.
There are many ways that I practice minimalism. I consider myself a minimalist parent. The only time I’ve purchased toys for my kids was last Christmas, and they each got one or two to share. And, when people give us toys or give us hand me downs, I don’t always keep everything just because it was free. I also don’t have a TV in my home and haven’t for the last four years. As far as new clothing, I only buy it when there is actually a need. I don’t shop just for the sake of shopping.
Ultimately, striving for minimalism in my life has altered my mindset and made me more peaceful and content with my surroundings. I’d highly encourage anyone to do the same if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the number of things in your home.
Are you a minimalist or do you want to become one? What are some other benefits to minimalism, in your opinion, than saving money? What area of your home could stand a good summer cleaning? Have you ever lived abroad in a developing country? If so, what did you learn from your experience?