Lighten the Load

Stack of clothesThe minimalist lifestyle has found its mainstream vibe over the past few years. Living with less can be good for your mind, body and spirit, but is it the lifestyle for you?

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism is about choosing to live a life that focuses more on the people you love and your purpose in life and less on how much stuff you can acquire. Making the switch requires some heavy-duty lifestyle changes. Let’s face it: Americans love their stuff. But, don’t get the wrong idea. The minimalism movement isn’t necessarily about selling your house, donating your possessions and becoming a nomad. Rather, its focus is on practicing mindfulness, identifying the tangible belongings that make you genuinely happy, and surrounding yourself with just those items instead of meaningless clutter.

Can Less Be More?

People who embrace the minimalist way of life consistently tout the health benefits of living with less. Namely, they find when they focus on quality and not quantity, they have less stress, debt and obligations. As a result, they report having more time to do the things they love, better experiences and interactions with people they care about, greater peace of mind, and a boost in their overall happiness.

The Budding Minimalist

Adopting the minimalist lifestyle isn’t something most people dive into overnight. It’s not an easy way of life, and it’s not for everyone. Baby steps and a little tough love are the best way to get started.

  • Write down the reasons you want to live a simpler life. Common reasons are improved health, financial freedom, more family time and less stress.
  • Next, pick a starting point and get busy. Most people start with a closet or junk drawer. Toss broken stuff, donate duplicates, and sell (or give away) items you no longer need, want or love. If it doesn’t make you happy, don’t keep it around.
  • Finally, keep moving forward.

If you declutter a closet or two and find minimalism isn’t for you, the worst that can happen is that you’ll have a couple of clean spaces and the sense you’ve lightened your load a little.

Related Reading

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō.
Be More With Less (website)
The Minimalists (website, blog, podcast)

Related Watching

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (Netflix)