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Let’s talk about Minimalism and Intentional Living
Aug 26, 2020
Over the past few months I have read a lot about the effects of world wide lock downs and how this will effect our lives in the future, as well as trends for living a more home base life, with less. And while I am one of the first to admit I cannot wait to hit the good old shopping centre for a browse and shop, I have also taken this time to re-evaluate my lifestyle and my approach to consumerism and my daily habits. I have been all about intentional living and if I take one lesson forward as we hopefully slowly move out of this pandemic I would like to keep my minimalist approach to my life and my intentional new way of living. I have never been a hoarder, have always been exceptionally organised (hence my business is helping you become more organised too) I have always believed in simple tools to become more efficient, and I have now embraced minimalism more than ever.
I absolutely love this quote and think that it sums up my lifestyle approach perfectly, ““Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”
~ Joshua Becker”
Here are my tips for a minimalist approach:. Remember, you need to take these elements and make them work for your own lifestyle, that feels right for you.
1. Minimalism is not about empty spaces
The thing about minimalism is that it is more than decluttering and not just about stark, empty spaces. You can have a minimalist approach to the things that you own. Have a look at your spaces and lifestyle and prioritise what you value the most: items, people, events, commitments. Whatever you value least in your life are the elements which you can discard of. Sometimes, especially when it comes to relationships, this can take some guts but it is worth it for the value it places on the other aspects.
2. Make Minimalism about intentional choices
This is a big one. Let me tell you a story: I always struggled to say “no”. It’s such a simple word (that my five year old girls have no problem with) yet for some reason we live in a culture where in saying no, one always feels that we need to give a reason, and associate no with negative attitudes. When I entered my thirties I decided I was done with excuses, often made up, and that I was going to say “no” guilt free. I started to embrace my intentional choices of how I wanted to spend my time, and if an event or commitment wasn’t going to work for me or my family, I simply answered “Sorry we won’t be able to make it” - no excuses, no explanation. I can’t tell you how liberating it is. This is a great example of guilt free living that gives you a more minimalistic, intentional life. Minimalism is making room for what matters the most.
3. Don’t go extreme with Minimalism
You do not have to look at minimalism and think “I can’t get rid of everything” therefore I give up. Rather find a balance that works for you.
4. Identity your Minimalism priorities
Once you have identified your priorities for living, you will easily be able to start approaching a more minimalist life by cutting out the things that don’t find themselves on that list. When I say priorities I am also taking about goals and reaching them. We often get caught up on the day to day business of life and get distracted from our life choices and intentions. I think that this is something to really be aware of as we move away from isolation and home-base living of lockdown and open up a bit more. We can easily fall back into old habits which we vowed to not embrace or rush ahead filling up our schedules and calendars without the focus on what we really want our lives to mean, and the intentions for our time and space. We’ve had such a good opportunity to work out and be really clear about our priorities, and now going forward make sure you make decisions and choices that keep your priorities prioritised!
5. Minimalism means declutter.
I have spoken so much about the minimalist approach to your life intentions and even said it isn’t about the stuff. But now that your goals and priorities are in place you do need to tackle the stuff and start a declutter. I have spoken about it before, and organisation for productivity before (here) and the same goes for an intentional, minimalist life. You cannot focus on your goals and priorities with cupboards full of (no other way to say it) crap. This type of approach to living needs to carry through to all aspects of life, including your physical space. Once again, you don’t need to go extreme and get rid of everything but you do need to clean out, priorities your things and organise your space so that it works for you and your goals.
6. Minimalism should be included into shopping habits
Oh gals, I am sorry! Yes, retail therapy is a thing but I hate to break it to you it really is a short term solution. Intentional living means thoughtful consumption. I am not an advocate for “only buy what you need” as beauty plays such an important role in our lives and home. But before you hit “add to cart” take stock of what you are adding to your space: does this fit in with your lifestyle, think about it, make an intentional choice. These thoughts will immediately slow down your intake of “more stuff,” quality rather than quantity.
7. To Do lists helps with minimalism living
In this post (click here) I spoke about making the most of your to do list and this is such an important part of intentional living. Embrace this way of formulating your daily, weekly, monthly plans and already you will be more focused and intentional about your time and attention. Take a moment to think about your mental clutter and what actually belongs in your life and needs your attention. Add to your to do list when necessary, add to your priorities if you must, but there is a lot of clutter going on in our heads and we need to get rid of it. Yoga and meditation are such gifts in terms of focusing our minds, trust me gals!
8. Be thankful and get the most out of minimalism
I don’t want to preach to you about your privilege or lucks in life but once you start examining what you are thankful for, you will easily be able to see what means the most to you in your life. We all have read about gratitude journals and while the concept is beautiful to me, it’s not realistic for me to create an entire gratitude journal. What I like to do everyday or sometimes only weekly when I take stock and plan my week ahead is just to jot down in my Edit what I am thankful for - looking back at these notes I get a sense of what my priorities need to be and where I can improve in my choices.
I hope this helps. Remember a minimalist approach is not an overnight things, it’s not cleaning the cupboards and then thinking it’s done. It really is about your life holistically and what adaptions and priorities need to be made.