3 REASONS TO BE MINIMALIST: MORE TIME, SPACE AND FREEDOM
Minimalism has changed my life for the better in so many ways. In this article I’m sharing 3 reasons to be minimalist and how simplifying my life has created more time, space and freedom for what matters most to me.
WHAT WE THINK WE WANT
It’s so easy to get swayed by the temptations of modern life. Everywhere we look we’re encouraged to buy more, do more, be more. Bigger, better, more successful.
When it comes down to it though, does more of all these things make us happier and more fulfilled?
Does super-sizing our lives with everything on offer really contribute to a better life?
Or does it just mean that we’re constantly wanting more, looking out for ways to achieve more and aim higher. We keep reaching for those misguided goals and unrealistic dreams. For things that we think we want, but usually fail to satisfy us once we’ve got them.
WHAT WE ACTUALLY NEED
It took many years of self-reflection (and mis-spent time and money) to realise that I don’t actually want things because other people have them, despite thinking that I did.
I worked hard to be independent and have freedom to spend my money how I wanted but although it made me happy in the short term, I never really felt fulfilled or content.
When I really thought about it, the things that meant the most to me were those that I loved, needed or added value.
These are the things that make me get up in the morning, keep me focused in life and bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart. They make me who I am and give me peace and purpose in my life.
THE BENEFITS OF MINIMALISM
There are lots of good things about minimalism and I could write a very long encouraging article on compelling reasons to be minimalist in your own life!
Minimalism has shifted my thoughts and approach to life in such a profound and sweeping way.
- My home has less clutter and is easier to keep clean and tidy
- I spend money wisely on experiences instead of material possessions
- My bank account is healthier for my changed shopping habits
- My body is healthier because I practice a simple rule of walking daily and eating healthy. Even my fitness regime is minimalist!
- My calendar isn’t full of things I don’t want to do, but instead I have plenty of free time for myself and my family
- And there are so many more…
3 REASONS TO BE MINIMALIST
However, when it comes down to it, there are some fundamental reasons that I choose minimalism every day. Not only do they underpin all the benefits that I’ve just mentioned but they also inspire me daily towards a more intentional life. Have a read of these 3 reasons to be minimalist and see if they resonate with you too.
1. MORE SPACE
One of the main reasons to be minimalist is to create space. We can create space in many different ways and it’s not always obvious physical space.
When I first started out exploring how to simplify my life (and even before I really knew about minimalism or became a minimalist myself), I decluttered my clothes and, in doing so, created more space in my closet. Better still, I could quickly and easily choose my clothes first thing on a busy morning. Fantastic! This self-contained project became the first in a series of simplifying projects.
Decluttering and simplifying the rest of my home was part of my minimalist journey. I intentionally chose to have less stuff. I created more space in my home, in my cupboards, on my floor, in my drawers. More space to move around in, enjoy living in my home, making memories, having fun, for my kids to play, to cook in the kitchen and to find the paperwork I needed on my desk.
Space in my home created a calmer, more peaceful home. A home that I looked forward to returning to after a day out at work. A home where I could welcome guests, relax and recharge for tomorrow. Not a home that was an untidy mess or an embarrassment!
Over time, I found that the decisions I took to declutter and simplify my space, could just as easily be applied to creating space in other areas of my life.
- I decluttered my schedule and learnt how to be less busy.
- I spent time journaling and prioritised self-care to create space in my overwhelmed brain.
- I created space in my to do list by being organised and getting clear on my priorities.
- I created breathing space in my life so that when life is a challenge and problems come up, I’m not already stretched too thin to deal with them.
Minimalism and simplifying my life created more space for me and what matters.
2. MORE TIME
One of the motivating reasons for me to simplify my life was actually lack of time. I was working full time, raising young kids and desperately lacking in time for myself, my husband and my family.
I was busy from morning until night, chasing around managing this busy life for myself without having time to enjoy being fully present for this wonderful life I was so busy trying to create.
I learnt how to be more intentional with my time, get comfortable saying no, put in place all sorts of productivity hacks and organisation tools. It was a question of doing things the simple but strategic way and being mindful of what cluttered my schedule and time.
I simplified my morning routine, created a supportive evening routine, established a daily routine so that I could do what I needed to do and still had time to do what I wanted to do. I developed some easy habits, meal-plans, and planned my week and my month to avoid last-minute stress and pressure.
I got rid of stuff at home so my home was clutter-free. This also meant it was easier and quicker to look after. Less time cleaning and maintaining it and more time for other things!
Minimalism and simplifying my life created more time for me and what matters.
3. MORE FREEDOM
The combination of more space and more time was, ultimately, more freedom. Instead of being tied to my home and the stresses and strains of busy daily life, I had more freedom for other things.
- Explore interests and hobbies
- Learn more about myself and what I want from life
- Enjoy life and its opportunities
- Do things on a whim and just because I felt like it
- Have more wiggle room and flexibility to cope with the ups and downs of life
- Swap stress for ease and overwhelm for joy
- Give back to others through this blog and website
- Focus on experiences and making memories
- Prioritise what matters to me including family and friends instead of what my to do list is shouting at me to do
Minimalism and simplifying life created more freedom to live life as fully as possible in whatever way feels right to me!
REASONS TO BECOME MINIMALIST
In this article I’ve shared my own reasons for becoming minimalist. I wanted more time, space and freedom for what matters and less of what doesn’t.
Minimalism makes me happier, minimalism makes me a more patient and engaged mother, minimalism makes my time management better. Minimalism even makes my housework easier and helps me spend less time cleaning.
The ripple effect of minimalism is huge but it feels like a big leap of faith to stop caring what other people think and question our life choices to give it a go. But, that’s what minimalism has also made me do! Be intentional, aware and look at life from a different perspective.
Minimalism isn’t just about decluttering and dealing with your stuff. It’s about having space, time and freedom to be present, to be grateful, for personal development, for self-care, for showing up for your life and getting the most out of life, with the best use of whatever resources you have available to you, even if that’s just pen, paper and an open mind.
IF MINIMALISM FEELS DIFFICULT
If decluttering your stuff and learning to live with less feels difficult, I understand. When life is telling us that having more is the key to happiness and meaning then it seems counterintuitive to want to try living the opposite.
Simplifying life isn’t easy and our complicated lives and homes can take effort, motivation and perseverance to untangle them.
So, if minimalism feels difficult, I encourage you to do two things.
Firstly, really ask yourself why you want to explore it for yourself. Are you feeling stressed out, worn down and in need of a change? Do your priorities feel skewed and out of alignment with how you spend your days? Maybe minimalism is a lifestyle change that could create time, space and freedom for you to honour those priorities in a better way. Try this free Know Your Priorities Worksheet for some ideas.
Secondly, don’t try to walk before you can run. Minimalism isn’t something you can ‘do’ or ‘be’ overnight. There’s no real checklist to follow and no markers or targets to tell you when you’ve achieved a minimalist lifestyle. Minimalism is just a set of guiding principles to help you create boundaries and live an intentional life. More life just with less stuff.
Most changes won’t happen overnight and it probably wouldn’t be sustainable if you woke up tomorrow and announced you’re becoming minimalist. It’s a case of actions speak louder than words.
UNDERSTANDING WHAT MINIMALISM IS ABOUT
A minimalist lifestyle looks different to everyone although there are some common themes – less stuff and more intentionality, to name but two. What you might also think you’ll see is plenty of white walls, succulent plants and a ban on shopping. No room for cluttered closets and toppling piles of paperwork. This may or may not be the case!
There are so many myths about minimalism which I know can make it feel very impractical, off-putting and unrealistic. Not only that, it can also sound very privileged to be talking about consciously choosing less when so many in the world don’t have enough in the first place. I get it.
However, there are many ways you can be minimalist and feel the benefits of minimalism, no matter what your life looks like. Minimalism isn’t actually about your stuff and how much of that stuff you have.
Minimalism is about an awareness of what’s important in your life and a daily, intentional choice to prioritise what’s important and adds value, over and above what doesn’t.
And, let’s face it, that’s sometimes pretty difficult when the outside world is shouting louder than that little inner voice inside you which is asking for something else.
Becoming minimalist isn’t just about decluttering your home. It could be:
- Facing your debt problems and asking for help
- Finding courage to leave a difficult relationship
- Overcoming a bad habit and changing your patterns of behaviour
- Saying no to overbearing relatives and setting boundaries
- Setting goals for your career or life in general
Minimalism takes many forms and that’s why it’s important to make minimalism work for you and your life.
MAKING MINIMALISM WORK FOR YOU
To make minimalism work for you I suggest you throw out the rule book and forget what you THINK minimalism is about.
Forget those white walls and capsule wardrobes and focus on what you want out of life. What makes you happy and energised? What makes life meaningful and rewarding?
Learning more about yourself as you answer these questions (and then go back to revisit your answers often) will help you make minimalism work for you.
- If something makes you happy, don’t get rid of it.
- If your collection of vintage records brings you joy, keep them.
- If you can’t decide whether you want to keep one, two or three cake tins, put them all back in the cupboard.
There are no rules, no deadlines and no boxes to tick to say what stage of minimalism you’re at and how far you’ve got to go.
Find your own path and enjoy the journey along the way.
Becoming minimalist is about making small deliberate decisions about what clutters your life vs what adds value to your life. And what clutters your life might be different to what clutters mine so that’s why it’s perfectly ok to find your own version of minimalism that works for you.
GETTING STARTED WITH MINIMALISM
So, how do you get started with minimalism? Especially as there’s no rule book or checklist and definitely no one-size-fits-all approach to what constitutes a minimalist lifestyle?
I would suggest, very broadly, that you approach minimalism from different angles but keep it small, manageable and come with an open mind. These initial baby steps for the beginner minimalist won’t change your life overnight, but the momentum grows as you build confidence and clarity.
Get started with minimalism by:
- Deleting one app on your phone
- Saying no to one invite, appointment or commitment next week or month
- Declutter your bathroom with this handy, completely free, Bathroom Declutter Guide
- Open your wardrobe doors and assess your clothes with this Wardrobe Declutter Checklist
- Take a few minutes to declutter your mind with this free Mental Declutter Checklist
- Sit still and listen to what your body and mind is telling you
Start somewhere and start today if you can. Create time, space and freedom in your home, your schedule and your mind and explore your own reasons to become minimalist.
MORE RESOURCES ON MINIMALISM
If you are new to the concept of minimalism then you might like:
- This post I wrote on 7 easy ways to become minimalist. It will give you some practical suggestions and simple tips to try it out for yourself.
- Learn more about what is minimalism and a few things it’s not!
- 5 Gentle Reminders About Minimalism and the Minimalist Lifestyle
- Read this article for an introduction to the minimalist lifestyle, or these minimalist lifestyle tips.