“Minimalism is not a lack of something.
It is simply the right amount of everything.”Becoming Minimalist
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Why should You become a minimalist, you may wonder. Until recently minimalism had been seen by many as an empty white space, lifeless and cold. But as it turned out, minimalism has many-many shades. It doesn’t mean empty spaces, it doesn’t mean lack of character. What it does mean though is choosing things that bring meaning over those that don’t. It means keeping things tidy and clean, uncluttered, untainted by the unnecessary, meaningless noise. It means simple space and lifestyle that helps you get clarity and focus, that doesn’t distract you and help you stay sharp on the tasks that need to be done. It means freeing yourself from all the unnecessary things that don’t benefit you, don’t contribute to your productivity, your happiness, your physical and mental health. There is no one size fits all. Minimalism looks different for everybody. But the ultimate goal stays the same:
Clarity. Simplicity. Freedom.
Minimalism has been on my radar for at least two years now. I can’t even remember how it started. No, it wasn’t the Netflix movie “Minimalism” and it weren’t the books of Marie Kondo, although I do recommend them both. I remember getting into yoga and weight lifting first, which sparked my interest in nutrition. Then came the vegetarian/vegan phase of my life, which not only brought the awareness about animal welfare but environmental awareness, too. And with that came the idea of living minimally.
For the past two years I’ve read some books and watched a ton of videos, and I can tell you this: living (more) minimally is hard and constant work, but it is so exhilarating to get rid of half of your baggage (including some emotional stuff) and so liberating to stop bothering with some things. I haven’t yet succeeded in my attempts to become a full-blown minimalist, but I am moving in that direction slowly.
The New Year is just a few days away. This is my opportunity to start planning my life even more than ever and make another effort to minimize and only leave the things that bring meaning into my life. So here, today, I want to share two superb videos I found on YouTube and will be using for tips and inspiration. Both YouTubers, MuchelleB and Break the Twitch, have plenty of tips on their channels, but I think that these 2 videos in particular are excellent to set you (and me) for a good start. Let’s watch them without a further ado!
MuchelleB’s 10 Ideas To Live a Minimalist Life in 2019
Break The Twitch’s 10 New Year’s Resolutions To Embrace Minimalism in 2019
Yes, if you have watched the videos already, you know that there are only 10 tips altogether and not 20. But it doesn’t really matter, not to me anyway. Ten good tips can go a long way if you follow them.
I really want to make it work this year, despite the fact that I can’t turn my home into a minimalist home because at least 2/3 of the things we own do not belong to me, and despite the fact that I have to kids who live for making mess (or so it seems).
I’ve picked the tips from the videos that I personally will be following, and they are these:
- One in – One out. I think this tip is brilliant and essential in order to prevent things from piling up.
- “If it’s not F* Yeah, it’s a No” principle. Definitely one of my favourites here – not only is it useful when you are buying things either for yourself or for your home, it is also useful in everything you do. There is so much talk these days about saying No to things we don’t really enjoy or things that don’t benefit us. Of course, it cannot be applied to everything in life (unfortunately), but there’s a great number of things within our control. Why don’t we take them under control and say No to things that are of lesser importance or benefit? MuchelleB recommends the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. I don’t know about you, but I am already on it.
- No spend month. I like this one, too! I have never done this before and I will try making February a no spend month as a trial. Some time ago I have developed a habit of not buying things just because I want to. I need a good reason to bring a thing into my home, so I don’t think it will be too hard. In case you haven’t watched the videos and are wondering, no spend month means that you are only allowed to buy things that are essential: food, everyday self-care and hygiene items, and gifts and items meant for other people.
- The information diet – unfollowing pages that do not benefit you. It’s a lengthy process. I don’t like unfollowing people for the reason that I don’t like when people follow me only to unfollow later. But I do understand that it is just the way it is. Back in 2014 I refused to read/watch/listen to any news on the TV and radio. I found that there was so much negativity in the news that I couldn’t stand it anymore. After months without the news I started to curate what I want to read: science, lifestyle, but no politics. It’s been the best thing I could do. So the information diet absolutely works! It’s just the matter of reviewing and updating your subscriptions all the time.
- Daily pick-up habit. I used to do it and it worked beautifully. But so much has been going on lately (the last few years, actually) that I kind of ditched that habit and I am not proud of it. What I am going to try doing again is taking a small basket and put all the things that aren’t in their own places in that basket to then replace each item where it belongs. I believe I read this little trick in Regina Leed’s book The 8 Minute Organizer: Easy Solutions To Simplify Your Life In Your Spare Time. I can really recommend this book, it is full of various tips and ideas for decluttering and organizing your home.
- Keeping one space tidy. Love, love, love this one! I am willing to try how fast one space will grow into two or three and how far it will go. I am thinking of starting with the kitchen table as it is a place where stuff gets dumped in my house (usually toys) and it it is the place where you usually don’t want stuff. So let it roll!
- One hour screen-free. I need this one badly! Because I spend the majority of my day on my laptop. Of course, it’s not exactly non-work time as I usually study, read or write, but still it is too much. So I will try committing to 1 hour screen-free. I can use this time to play with kids without digital distractions, to read the actual books and not e-books, or maybe even do the daily pick-up and other house chores. Yoga or weight-lifting are on the list as well.
So, which tips will you be using to simplify your life?
There are many-many books, films, podcasts and YouTube channels that can introduce you to the idea of living a minimalist-ish, simplified and organized life. You can use the ones I linked in my post (which I will also reference below) or find your own. Whatever it is, a simplified and minimalist life style can most certainly help anyone, whether you are person who loves clean, tidy spaces or a working professional who doesn’t have much time for tidying their house, a creative visionary who needs space to think, or a generally anxious person – because clutter is known to aggravate anxiety. No matter who you are, 2019 is the year to ditch consumerism and enjoy a simpler, calmer life.
Here’s to Simplicity and Minimalism in 2019!
- Minimalism – Netflix film
- Tidying Up with Marie Kondo – Netflix show (starts 1st January 2019)
- MuchelleB – YouTube channel
- Break the Twitch – YouTube channel
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- The 8 Minute Organizer: Easy Solutions To Simplify Your Life In Your Spare Time by Regina Leeds
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Spark Joy by Marie Kondo