According to dictionary.com minimalism is a type of design based on simple elements and avoiding elaboration or embellishment. While in its most basic sense I would say this to be true, minimalism affects not only the designing aspects of my life. It touches every area of my life: material possessions, grocery shopping, clothes closet, decor, etc.
When I realized that I wanted to have a more minimalistic lifestyle, I began throwing stuff out. That’s what minimalists do, right? They have less stuff! I began donating, selling and throwing out unnecessary possessions in our apartment. If I hadn’t used it in a year, then I would toss it; that was my criteria for getting rid of something. While that worked for me and really pared down the stuff we had piled up in our cramped apartment, I think there is a better way to look at things.
A minimalists mind
There is a certain mindset of those who are minimalists. It’s not just about throwing stuff out or only having one set of dinner dishes or having clean, modern furniture lines. It’s about how they choose to live their life. Because they want a less cluttered, less complicated life, they choose to have one set of dinner dishes, or they choose to have limited Christmas decorations boxed up in their attic.
But how do you get to that point? How do you get to the point of realizing and knowing for certain that you want your life to look and feel a specific way? I believe you must answer some key questions:
1. What do I want my home to look like?
I’m thoroughly modern in my decor tastes. I love clean lines. I love no clutter. I love having space in my home to breathe. But you may be different. Your style may be country. Maybe you like knick-knacks on your shelves and tables. Maybe you’re sentimental with your walls covered in pictures and awards. Do you mind boxes piled up in the corners of your home? Either way, you must visualize how you want your home to look.
2. What do I want my day to look like?
I want my days relaxed yet productive. For me being a housewife is perfect! I love to cook and clean and take care of my family. Those are my priorities. If I can have a relaxing day with my kids while being productive in those other areas (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.) I would be happy! I do not want to constantly be cleaning though. I don’t want to have to dust a bunch of shelves filled with memorbila. I don’t want to have to sift through boxes of decor items to find something I need. I want to keep it simple and relaxed.
3. What do I want to spend my time doing?
In my single days I used to be a shopper. I would spend my money on piles of clothes and shoes. And part of the fun was getting a great deal! While deals are awesome, I didn’t really need all of those things. I spent so much of my time shopping.
If I were to do that now, I would have no time for housekeeping or my family! I’ve had to choose what is important. Now I want to spend time enriching the lives of my family by spending quality time with them, and making our home healthy and beautiful!
What will you choose? Are you okay with cleaning a house filled with possessions you don’t need? Are you okay with cleaning a house that is too big for you in the first place? Are you okay with neglecting responsibilities to participate in more time and money consuming activities? You have to look at your life in this way. Because sometimes it just gets away from us. When you take a step back and evaluate where your time and money is going, it tells you a lot about the kind of person you are and the home you will have.
4. What projects do I truly want to complete/partake in.
I have so many hobbies that I could participate in! Scrapbooking, card making, baking, crocheting, sewing, quilting – those are only a few! And I have hardly any time to do a couple of those during my days. So for me, I have to decide what is most important. The space it takes to store those hobby supplies and the time it takes to actually do them is quite a bit! Because I don’t want to feel guilty every time I go to my crafting closet, I’ve chosen only a couple to continue. I can focus my efforts and become more skilled in those hobbies having only a couple to work with!
By asking these questions you can easily discover if you’re ready to move toward a more minimalistic lifestyle. Remember, it’s not about throwing stuff out; it’s about how you live your life! And for every family, minimalism will mean something different, because there are varying degrees of it. Only you can say what will work for you and your family.