Living a Modest Life

Tired of the weightiness of consumerism and forever keeping up with the Joneses? Consider trying minimalism. Minimalism offers a welcome reprieve from endlessly striving to possess the next thing, and the next thing, a cycle that’s tiring and impossible to attain. It’s about intentionally reaching for the things that make you happy. And it happens when you get to the breaking point of frustration with managing all that extra stuff.

Clutter has been linked to sleep problems, higher stress levels, and decreased productivity, while the benefits of pursuing a minimalist lifestyle are apparent and far-reaching. So how do you pursue the simpler life? Here are some practical steps to get you started on the path to minimalism in your own home:

LOOK INWARD

Before starting, gain an awareness of your real issue with clutter. What thoughts are contributing to your own rat race mentality? It could be something as blatant as envy, or as subtle as an underlying philosophy you’re unaware of. Maybe it’s: “I need a nice car to look like I’m doing well in the world,” or, “Having more clothes means I’ll finally gain approval.” Take a moment to look inward and journal. Getting your thoughts down on paper will serve to shine a light on the root issues so you can start addressing them.

PURGE AND REPLACE

Now that you’ve calibrated your mind to a minimalistic pathway, it’s time to get rid of physical stuff. Start with duplicates. Next, move on to clothes you haven’t worn in the last six months and décor you haven’t unpacked in years. Once you’ve successfully peeled away the first layer, go back and declutter even more. Apps like Sortly and LetGo can help provide direction and streamline the decluttering process. And word to the wise: Resist the urge to hold on to things because of the amount of money you spent on them. Instead, use it as a reminder to weigh and consider future purchases more purposefully.

NEXT STEP: REPLACE (CAREFULLY)

As you rid yourself of the clutter, start replacing it – this time, with things that make you happy. Perhaps a stack of clothes in the corner of the bedroom becomes an enjoyable reading nook. Or your mail-covered kitchen table transforms into an inspiring place to paint, meditate, or write.

LIVE MODERATELY

Now figure out any and all areas you can scale back. What can you give up in the pursuit of moderate living? Figure out the stuff that’s keeping you from reaching your goals – whether Netflix binges or bi-weekly fast food runs – and cut it out. Maybe you can downgrade your car, or move into a smaller space. Count the cost of holding on to this item – whether in time, upkeep, or stress. Be prepared to dive deep into some gut-wrenching honesty.

RE-FOCUS: REACH FOR YOUR DREAMS

Now for the fun part of living minimalist: pursuing the life you’ve always wanted. Find out what you love, and pursue it fully. To figure this out, answer the following questions: What do you really want in life? What would you love to accomplish this month? What would your ideal day look like in five years? Surrounded by friends and loved ones, cherishing each moment fully, experiencing great adventures together? It’s yours for the taking.

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