A few years ago I stumbled on “The Minimalists” TED talk. Much of what they said made sense, and a lot was what my mother practiced my whole life. If it doesn’t have a use or make you happy why have it? Are you surrounded by stuff? Imagine living an intentional life, not a perfect or easy life, but a simple one. As I watched more videos, I came to a realization. Much of the things I own, actually owned me. Above all, much of what I owned did not make me happy, and was actually adding stress to my life. This, along with my yoga practice, is why I’m embracing minimalism.
Minimalism and Yoga
Embracing minimalism, I noticed how much it relates to Aparigraha, the 5th Yama in the 8 limb path. Aparigraha means non-greed/attachment. Taking only what you need, and using what you have. As you look around your environment is it cluttered? How much stuff is taking up the space? Do you use or love everything in the space? And the most important question. Above all, how does your environment make you feel? After all, how we feel in our home is an important factor right? As I sat assessing my kitchen I was less than happy. As a type A person, living with a pack rat sharing space can be challenging at times. But I could reduce my belongings, lead by example, and hope that he followed suit. After all it happened when I went vegan!
It was while on my minimalist video binge that I also discovered Marie Condo’s book “The life changing magic of tidying up”. After reading her book I embarked on step 1: purging clothes. This deserves it’s own post, so I’m not diving into it too much here. But suffice to say, it was life changing, so I began to slowly progress through other steps. In just a few short weeks, something strange began to happen. Having less stuff was making me happier, and saving me time! Could embracing minimalism really be the key to happiness?
Progress was slow initially, but gradually habits and moods were beginning to shift. Not only was I happier having less, but I was purchasing less. And when I did make a purchase I considered it thoroughly. Which also saved me money! Big bonus to this lifestyle. For me, another side effect of working through these steps has been realizing that because of the STUFF in the house I was neglecting purchasing things we actually did need! Ironic!
With simplicity comes ease
In 2018 I spent a lot of time traveling. I visited Oregon, San Fransisco, Hawaii, Florida, and the UK, all with minimal luggage. Traveling with less stuff really makes you realize how little you actually truly need. Just taking the essential clothing, and having bare necessities in accommodation. Not having all your tools, equipment, trinkets, electronics… etc. I really LOVE the condo we stay at in Hawaii, because it’s very minimalistic. It has just what you need, and what makes the apartment look appealing. Nothing more. Just enough.
Could I do the same for my house, my life? How much did I really have, and how much do I actually need? For a family of two did I really need 20 bath towels? True story! If we managed with 2 during our vacations couldn’t we manage with less at home? If my counters weren’t covered in clutter wouldn’t that make my life easier? Cleaning quicker? Could I find more peace in passing things I no longer loved onto someone else, rather than putting them in a box in a closet?
Benefits of embracing Minimalism
So far the biggest change for me has been my mood. I feel less stressed, and much happier since reducing my stuff. I have however found so many benefits which I figured I’d share since I want to encourage as many people as possible on the path to more internal peace, happiness and well being.
- Spend less
- Easier to clean
- Environmentally friendly
- More productive
- Visually appealing
- Less tied to things
- More appreciative of experiences
- Find things easier
- Freedom from materialism
As I said, the best way to get others to change is to lead by example. So that’s what I’m going to do. Each week I plan to share some way in which I am embracing minimalism, in the hopes of inspiring others. That may be sharing about downsizing, thrifting, making things, spending less and do more, companies and things I DO choose to buy, and more. Let’s enjoy the journey together!
- Have you ever thought about reducing the stuff you have?
- Which benefit of minimalism sounds most appealing to you?
- How many times have you bought storage items for your stuff?