Last month, I dove into a project with my best friend. We were tasked to clear out a home that had been abandoned. It taught me a lot of lessons. This experience was revolutionary in my mind about the beauty of simplicity. To explain, the house we were salvaging was butts-to-nuts in trash, debris, and useless items that would ultimately (and sadly) likely wind up in a landfill. This affected me on many different levels. It showed me how minimalism can change your mind and life. It certainly did mine.
Oh, and just a heads up: I get pretty high on my horse in this post. I also use a few curse words *gasp*. Sorry (not sorry); I’m just really passionate about how minimalism can change lives and contribute to our planet’s salvation.
Table of Contents
- Avia’s Experience With Minimalism
- The Truth About Hoarding, Clutter, and Over-Consumption
- Some Tips to Thinking Before Obtaining
- How Minimalism (or lack of it) Affects the Mind, Body, and Spirit
- Tips for Adopting a Minimalist Lifestyle
- The Last Word on How Minimalism Can Change Your Mind and Your Life
Avia’s Experience With Minimalism
Even before I began tackling the epic clear-out of that abandoned house, I always tried to be mindful of my possessions. Granted, my home is pretty packed (mostly with books, which are my Achilles heel). But every item I have displayed in any home, trailer or apartment I lived in served some kind of value on some level. Each item holds sentiment. I can remember where I was when I procured an item, or I remember who gave me each item I have featured in my domain.
Nonetheless, there have been times when I’ve been given things, or maybe in a moment of weakness I’ve bought things that simply have no purpose, reason, or value. These are the things that we should all be wary of, I think. That’s the big take-away after spending several weeks cleaning out a home replete with absolute valueless, unused, cheap things that can never qualify as necessary or purposeful.
The Truth About Hoarding, Clutter, and Over-Consumption
Perhaps the biggest lesson learned in plowing through this house I helped clear out is the essence of value. This cleaning-out experience reinforced the interconnectivity of all things, in my mind.
To be straight with you – I realized that buying cheap shit leads to cheaper experiences on all levels. I’m not going to go into the whole global issues of unfair sweatshop practices, or import/export politics that impact every country in this world. But – I will encourage this: Buy local, buy responsibly, and buy from vendors who are ethically driven with a mind for sustainability. Otherwise, everything we buy might contribute to the growing (and alarming) trend of landfill waste and global demise.
And really – is that bauble, or trivial knick-knack really worth it? I can see a unique trinket one might pick up at an estate sale. But the crap that’s on sale at Hell-Mart (my moniker for Wal-Mart), or Dollar Tree or Dollar General – is that stuff really worth owning? I fear that ultimately (and I saw it first-hand), these useless, crummy-quality items might wind up contributing to the ever-burgeoning waste problem from which our planet is suffering.
Some Tips to Thinking Before Obtaining
So, when you feel compelled to buy something, or accumulate – I have a few pointers. At least, this is what I do when I come up against a great bargain, or feel like I’m faced with an “I gotta have this” item. And believe me – I have some serious addictions to accumulating things. Books, pen sets, cigar boxes, and freaky oddities – my knees turn to jelly when I encounter certain unique objects. I want to buy – but these days (setting financial restrictions aside – which in my world, is a real thing. Like most of us, I have precious little recreational money to buy unnecessary stuff) I have to think twice. So here are some things I think about before I leap into a purchase.
Frequent Questions to Ask Before Accumulating
When you come across something that seizes you by your snarglies, and you feel you simply must have it – ask yourself this: Do I really need it? Then ask yourself what will happen to that tidbit 2, 5, 10 years down the line. Will it contribute to the mess on this planet in a landfill? Will it be retained? Can it keep its relevance and importance into the future?
Before buying something, ask yourself questions like: Does this serve in my legacy? What will happen to this after I die? Can I bequeath it to my forebears? Will it serve a purpose? Or, will this item simply fall into that mass wasteland of landfills across the world? Can it be repurposed at some point? The take-away here is that for every item you buy – ask yourself these or similar questions. The answers will guide you towards more savvy decisions, and also instruct you as to how minimalism can change your mind and your life.
With credit the way it is today, it’s tempting to slap a charge on a credit card and worry about the financial consequences later. Trust me, this is a beautiful way to get yourself into a ton of hot water. Back in my Halcyon days, my website was doing well, I made good money, and all was honkey-dorey. But when shifts came, I was submerged into financial ruin. It’s not a new story. Many people have had financial successes, only to be met with failure. The point I’m making here is never buy anything that you can’t afford within your immediate budget. Nothing is worth putting yourself in debt (trust me on this, I know!).
My best friend always says, “Buy once, cry once.” What he means by that is when he needs something like a tool or something for the house, he buys high-quality stuff first. That may lead to a bit of crying over the price tag, because well-made things are typically more expensive than cheap stuff. But, in buying high-quality first, you’re better assured that it won’t break in the first week.
Hence, “buy once” means that item should last you a long time. Granted, things aren’t made the way they used to be, and planned obsolesce is a real thing. Just keep this in mind before you buy. If you can afford it, try to buy the best quality you can. It will help you avoid contributing to landfills if/when the item breaks.
In terms of home decor, ask yourself how long you’ll love that item in your home. Better yet, ask yourself if the item is high enough quality to pass on to your kids or give as a gift down the line. Obtaining bric-a-brac or curios for your home or office isn’t a bad thing. But if you do collect or acquire decorative items, inquire within about the quality and potential longevity of the item.
How Minimalism (or lack of it) Affects the Mind, Body, and Spirit
This article is all about introducing you to the concept of minimalism and encouraging you to resist over-consumption. To that end, I’d like to talk a bit about how these things can put the dingbats on your mental, emotional and even physical state. Here are a few ways that the opposite of minimalism can change your mind and your life:
Minimalism and the Mind
Most of you reading this are savvy, smart and sensitive. You likely pay attention to the energies in your environment that lead to disharmony or unrest. Therefore, you probably may have a good idea about how too much clutter in your living or working area can really put a kibosh on mental balance. The truth here is, that too much crap around the home, office, or living areas leads to chaos.
Several opinions say that too much stuff makes you mentally weak. This is because clutter causes distractions. If you want real focus, solidarity, and pure concentration – eliminate over-consumption at all costs. This is when minimalism can change your mind and life. Minimalism subscribes to simplicity. It eradicates confusion, chaos, and clutter. This is essential for living freely, and living with more mental clarity.
The Gift of Freedom Comes With Minimalism
The benefits of minimalism keep on truckin’. For starters, when you have a minimal décor and you have fewer things, you will actually be freer. Being without all the hassles of objects, products, items can free you to be you. Now you can up and leave and travel the world with no need to find a place to keep your items. At the same time, you can spend less time during your days off tidying and cleaning! Letting go or saying “no” to over-consumption is a one-way ticket to freedom and happiness.
Minimalism and the Body
Did you know for every trinket or object you bring into your domain, you have to clean that thing? If you don’t you could be subjected to allergies. To explain, dust accumulates on useless stuff. Mold, mildew, filth may also cling to items we bring in and leave in our home. If a domain becomes stuffed with things that aren’t properly cleaned, that can lead to airborne poisons that can compromise your immune system, your lungs, your skin, and your overall physical wellbeing. Is your health really worth the price of all that clutter? This is just another way that living minimally can save your bacon.
Tips for Adopting a Minimalist Lifestyle
I totally get it. I’m surpassing my 5th decade in this world. I’ve accumulated a lot. Some items are from travels that I simply couldn’t resist buying, and can’t bear not having them in my abode to this day. Some items (again, mostly books) I simply can’t tear myself away from. There are must-have items that belong to us all. After all, it’s the items in our living space that reflect who we are, right? However, adopting a minimalist lifestyle can open up a new flavor of freedom, release, balance and harmony that can be extraordinarily liberating. If you’re interested, here are a few tips to adopting a minimalist lifestyle:
Decluttering is a Must
Look around your living or workspace. Does it feel a bit closed in? Do you feel a bit claustrophobic? If there are too many things crammed into too many nooks and crannies in your area, it might be time to do some intense decluttering. Stick to the 6-month rule. If you haven’t used or appreciated an item in the last 6 months, then challenge yourself to get rid of it.
Consider Preserving What Matters
The stuff that you have hanging around in your living area that matters the most can be more appreciated if you take the time to preserve it. Think about getting curio cabinets, or install shelving to keep those sentimental items preserved. Establishing proper places for items that are meaningful will also help you relive those fabulous moments in your life – because you have that go-to space to love and cherish these unique items that culminate into the history of your life.
Simultaneously, you’re saving your immune system, your lungs, and your physical wellbeing from breathing in a bunch of dust, mold or mildew. Keeping prime items in a dedicated space offers organization, reflection, and less debris. Just sayin.
Discern What is Needed (and what is not) and Get Charitable (or profitable)
As you peruse your abode, take an honest look at what you need and what you don’t. Granted, that family heirloom is sacred to you, and that’s got to be something you should retain. However, is that weird lamp with peacock feathers really something you need?
My point here is that we’ve got to assess the difference between what we need, and what we want. If it serves no sentimental or functional purpose – that’s when we’ve got to consider giving it to charity or selling it off. Does this sound harsh? Maybe. But the whole point of how minimalism can change your mind and your life is about making smarter choices to live unencumbered and in total freedom from possessions.
The Last Word on How Minimalism Can Change Your Mind and Your Life
Am I suggesting you go all monkish and abandon every item in your home? Of course not. Some things might not serve a huge purpose in my life – but I simply can’t part with them. At the end of the day, it takes discernment and scrutiny to determine what you can and cannot live without.
Practicing minimalism is a daily thing. It’s a lifestyle and it requires a constant vigil. I’m not advising a savage approach. I’m suggesting a thoughtful, sophisticated stance on minimalism with a goal of encouraging balance and harmony in your life. This kind of lifestyle can also have tremendously positive impacts on the planet too. Adopting a minimalistic lifestyle certainly changed my mind and life for the better. I hope it does for you too. As always, thanks for reading!
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