“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.”– Vernon Howard, 1918
We all long for a simpler life. One free from stress, distractions, clutter, busyness–you know what I’m talking about.
We want more time to read, work out, and spend time with family. We want more time for adventure, travel, personal growth, or dream chasing/pursuing.
We want more space and less stuff.
Some call this a “minimalist lifestyle.” I like that terminology.
The dictionary doesn’t clearly define “minimalist” in the sense of what I’m trying to convey. The closest definition is “being or offering no more than what is required or essential.”
Hmm…‘no more than what is required or essential’. This part of the definition hits the nail on the head.
What does that look like, though?
Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, writers at theminimalists.com, claim:
“Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”
But how do we achieve this “simpler” life–this new life free from clutter, in the form of possessions and time? I don’t have an easy fix for this lifestyle change or any secret formula that will instantly remove from your life the aforementioned topics in the second sentence of this post.
It’s a daily battle to live simpler.
But what I do have are a few suggestions–steps I’ve taken that can also help you begin to make this lifestyle change.
You Have To Say “No!”
This is an area I used to struggle with big time. I always felt bad for telling someone I couldn’t do something. I felt bad for saying, “no.”
But what I found in saying “yes” to every request of my time was having almost literally no time available to do anything I wanted to do. I didn’t have time for friends or family. I didn’t have time to work out. I didn’t have time to read. I didn’t have time for personal growth.
That’s a stressful situation. Aren’t we trying to live a simpler life? If so, we need to be able to say “no” to some things
Commit only to what is necessary.
The Bare Necessities
“Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities”
Ah, The Jungle Book, a 1967 classic. The bare necessities… This is where we have to decide what you absolutely need and don’t need. It’s up to you, not me. For me, to get rid of some clutter, I sold or donated clothes, books, and DVDs. I got rid of furniture I didn’t need.
I don’t buy something for my apartment unless I absolutely, positively need it–and 90% of the time I don’t need half of what I want.
Not only does this save you money–which literally affords you opportunities to save for travels or adventures–it also removes the possibility of clutter…which is what we’re trying to get rid of anyway, right?
In this step, we need to decide what exactly we need or don’t need. This is where we decide what to keep and what to sell, donate, or trash.
More, More, More!!
Materialism, ah, you little trickster. Trying to make us think by having more we’ll be happier.
Materialism is defined as “interest in…possessions.”
I think this topic is rather self-explanatory. It also ties into (rather closely) “the bare necessities.”
I like clothes. I like to dress well. I like to look fabulous. Don’t judge me. At least I’m not Judah Smith wearing Spanx….sorry, Judah. Mad respect! Lookin’ good, bro!
If I could, I’d probably have a wardrobe bigger than the Narnia closet/forest/world/thing. But do I really need 15 outfit options per day? Yes. Wait…no I don’t. Maybe I do. No, I really don’t. This internal struggle is not good for convincing people not to want more.
But really…we don’t need half the clothes we own. Half the shirts I own are just-in-case-I-ever-finally-decide-to-wear-this-shirt-I-haven’t-worn-since-1994 shirts. Seriously? What is wrong with me?!
Donate those old just-in-case clothes. Stop buying all the latest electronics and gadgets. I want the Xbox One, but do I really need it? Nope. My Xbox 360 works perfect…even at 5-years-old.
“The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” – Elise Boulding
How different would your life look if you said “no” more often, had only “the bare necessities,” or had fewer material possessions? What does a clutter-free life look like to you? Share with me in the comments!
Images courtesy: forwallpaper.com and hdwallsource.com
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