It all started a year ago, when I moved to a new, much smaller apartment. It was pretty much half the size of my previous one and I had no idea how it could possibly contain all of my treasured belongings.
In fact, I was pretty concerned by the perspective of downsizing – bigger is better, right? Maybe I should have spent more money to buy more square meters and more storage space?
What started as a constraint has since become a choice – to streamline, declutter and simplify. Here’s what a year of pursuing minimalism has taught me.
- It takes time. Unless you decide to go cold turkey, the process of eliminating the unnecessary takes time and patience. You won’t see the results overnight but – from my experience – they’re worth the wait.
- It requires commitment. It takes a couple of minutes to purchase something new. Getting rid of the things we’ve accumulated over years demands dedication and effort.
- Adopt the abundance mindset. Instead of worrying that you won’t have enough and holding on to things that no longer serve you or bring you joy, let them go. If you need them, you can get them again.
- We’re all different. While your journey to minimalism might inspire some people around you, minimalism is not for all. Don’t judge, criticise or impose your point of view. Instead, appreciate the differences.
- Forget the “just in case” mentality. Those special-occasion clothes you never wear or pantry supplies you bought on sale – they keep you in the past or future. Evaluate your stuff with the present in mind.
- Stop the flow. Be mindful about what you allow into your life. You’ve worked hard to clear the clutter, so think twice before repurchasing a product you’ve run out of or accepting free gifts. Most likely, you don’t need them.
- Let go of perfection – there’s no such thing. Focus on your own values, needs and goals, instead of adopting someone else’s recipe for success. Create your own path, your own solution – and don’t forget to enjoy every step of the way.
- Observe, question, redefine. We’re so immersed in our daily tasks and habits that we don’t really notice how much pleasure – if any – they bring us. Living with less brings us a chance to notice, rethink and rebuild our routines.
- You’ll lose money. Those precious collectables or high-fashion items you cherish so much? You’ll be surprised how little they’re worth to other people. Sometimes, your best option is to give them away for free.
- Enjoy the space. Whenever you remove an item from your home, you create physical and mental space. Little by little, you realise that stuff is just stuff and notice what really matters: time, people, experiences.