Since the 1920’s we’ve been bombarded with advertising to make us think what we have (or what we are) is not enough. And that by having more we become more. In the 20’s more people were living in urban areas than rural for the first time in history. Also, for the first time in history we weren’t reliant on what we produced as means of living… we had expendable income. At least some people did.
This advertising has continued and today we have more and more “throw-away”items than ever before. From plastic and paper utensils to box fans and shoes. We don’t keep things as long as our ancestors once did. And since many items are so inexpensive why would we? We can just replace them if we don’t like them or if they break. We are told to buy and buy and buy. We watch commercials that are designed to make us feel that something is missing; something is wrong with me or my life the way it is. We are told that this car or this soda or this beer will make us have fun and look good.
But in the end these things are short lived. These good feelings only last a while. The novelty of the new car wears off in a short time and it just feels like a car again. The fun of drinking with friends dies down after a while. And that red can of soda doesn’t actually bring polar bears, Santa Clause or fun pop/rock music to your life.
And I’m not immune. The red soda commercials make me want that fun-ness that’s portrayed in the advertisement before the movie starts. I do want the social connection that a beer ad conveys. And of course I want the amazingness displayed in certain car ads. But, I know that those things don’t actually come with the soda, the beer or the car. They come from me.
I have to look inward, change the way I live, become aware in order to experience fun, excitement, social connection, love, inspiration in my life for any length of time. Sure I can have it temporarily through certain experiences. But to have the feelings I most want and to have them last, I have to change me.
I found freedom through minimalism. I found ease, peace and MORE love through minimalism. I found security, abundance and expanded connection with the divine through minimalism. Getting rid the temporary got me in line with the infinite.
I started small with a closet, a night stand and then I went big. I went through my entire condo room by room. It was NOT a quick process, it was a bit of an ordeal. But an ordeal that felt better with each space that was minimized. Suddenly I could find whatever I was looking for, my house stayed cleaner and more organized. I felt free and happy. It was worth it.
- A change in my shopping habits. Since I was striving to keep my space minimal, I stopped purchasing unnecessary items. Along with this a better financial picture.
- Being able to find things easily. Since there was less “stuff” I knew where pretty much everything was.
- Mental clarity. I didn’t know just how much my physical clutter affected my mental life. This brought a sense of peace as well.
- Increase spiritual connection. What can I say? I began to get in tune with my higher guidance. My intuition improved and I started making decisions aligned with what I most wanted for my life.
As my intuition improved I began living life more and more in alignment with what I know I’m meant to do. I started “listening” more to the ideas that occurred to me and I stopped jumping at every opportunity that came my way. I learned through this process that we know the answers to our questions, even our deepest questions. But with all the noise, the clutter, the constant striving to “make it”, we can’t hear them.
Getting rid of your excess will expand you spiritually. Without a doubt this is true in my experience. So true, in fact, that I teach it inside of one of my courses. It is one of the first exercises assigned to those participating. And they agree that freedom and peace are prominent results of getting rid of excess.
When it comes to minimizing maintaining is the hardest part, next to eliminating something with a high sentimental value. We live habitually, it’s our nature. And maintaining a minimalist state is no different than creating any other habit. You have to maintain awareness. I can tell you from experience that you will fill up your space, make unnecessary purchases and collect things you do not need if you don’t maintain your minimalist mindset.
Minimalism is Personal
How you minimize is personal to you and those you live with. I live in a house that no one would call “minimal”. I have furniture in every room, I have decorations on the walls and I have 2 bathrooms! That’s not minimal by some standards. I also have a lot of kitchen supplies. I have a standard slow cooker, a casserole slow cooker, a pressure cooker, a juicer and a blender to name some of my kitchen supplies. Not minimal? For me, I use all of these things regularly. What I don’t have is a lot of excess. I don’t keep things that I don’t use. Once I minimized the first time through I had a good understanding of what was important to me. Cooking is important. Having the right tools to make what I cook most often easy is also important.
What is important to you? When you minimize your space, you’ll know. And if you already know, then you can minimize easily because you’ll know what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of.
Guidelines for Minimizing
- LOVE IT or USE IT
- If you don’t love it or use it, get rid of it.
- If you’re getting rid of it: trash what’s trash, sell what’s worth it, donate the rest.
That’s it. Keep your minimizing simple. This is about simplifying after all. Maintaining minimalism does take some effort, but is well worth the awareness. Go ahead and get rid of your excess. Minimizing isn’t about being a minimalist in other people’s view, it’s about living a simple life from your view.
Share your experience in the comments. I love to hear from you.