One Year of Minimalism

by CaReese

So much has happened since I started Minimalist Believer last April. In the last year, I have changed tremendously. I can see places where I still need to improve. I could stand to purge a little more. I still fall off the wagon from time to time. But I’m making progress, and that’s what it’s about at this point.

In the last year, I have examined my life and my relationship with stuff. I have a whole new perspective on consumerism, and I’ve come face to face with the overconsumption in my own life. I’ve learned that I don’t need as much as I thought.

While I still consider myself new to this, I am already enjoying the benefits of less:

  • Less stuff.I have fewer things than I had this time last year. I have thrown things away, given things away, and donated some of my things. The result is a lot less stuff to wash, dry, store, and clean.
  • Less shopping. I still shop – probably more than I should. Even so, I shop less than I did a year ago. At one time, it was normal for me to spend every Saturday at the mall. These days, it’s rare for me to go to the to the mall at all. I try to stay away from the mall so that I’m not tempted.
  • Less guilt and stress. Given my employment situation, I watch every penny. Because I want to use my money wisely, I often find myself choosing not to purchase. As a result, I have less of the guilt and stress associated with money.
  • Less stockpiling. I’ve written in a previous post about my tendency to stockpile, and how this habit is borne out of fear. I would stockpile soap, body products, food, and anything else I feared running out of. This past year of minimalism has helped me to break away from the habit of stockpiling (and the constant problem of finding places to keep all my crap).
  • Less deliberation. It doesn’t take long for me to decide what to wear each day. I don’t deliberate over which purse to carry, or which jacket to wear. There aren’t that many options. I know exactly what’s in my wardrobe, and which pieces work together. Gone are the days of trying on five different outfits, trying to figure out what fits and what looks good. I’ve streamlined to the point where I only have clothes that fit well and look good.
  • Less Pressure. I don’t feel like I need to rush out and fill my closet with the latest fashion trends. I don’t need to wear what everyone else is wearing. I don’t have to try to keep up with anybody or impress anybody. The pressure is off.

Though I am enjoying having less, I also feel that minimalism has helped to to enjoy more:

  • More time for things that feed the soul. Since I haven’t been spending as much time buying, cleaning, and organizing my stuff, I have more time. I have had more time to read, write, study, exercise, and spend time with my family.
  • More use of what I already have. In the last year, I have made several trips to my storage unit. I wear shoes and purses from previous years instead of buying new. I am using the soaps and lotions that I stockpiled in years past. I am using what I already have, and I’m finding that I have enough.
  • More awareness. Since my introduction to minimalism, I have learned a lot about myself and the culture in which I live. I am aware of my own struggles with materialism, fear, and destructive habits.

One year later I still feel that I made the right decision. My life is much simpler, and I have resisted complicating it with extra stuff and more commitments. My goals have changed. I feel like I have a much healthier relationship with stuff.

In the coming year(s) I hope to simplify even more. I think I’m on the right path, and I can’t wait to see where it leads.

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