Blog, Simplicity

Maintaining Minimalism – tips to keep going

I’m over 3/4 through buying nothing for a year and now, it feels normal. Like shops are for other people and things are meant to be used until they fall to bits. Joy is found in eating fresh food, grown from the garden; in a sunrise, in a moment. Distraction is found in a book, not the high street. In an interaction, not a TV show. Fulfilment is found in plans, ideas, action and hope.

In removing consumerism from my life, I removed distraction. I removed a tool, a crutch, the way I used to cope with situations and emotions. That short burst of plastic happiness, the wild swings from purchase to purchase to purchase. I took all of that away.

And in taking it away, I discovered more than I ever dreamed of.

I hear minimalism is boring. I hear it is unsustainable. Take away all the stuff…and what do you leave behind? Empty rooms and shelves to dust? Clinical, sharp houses, without any of the trinkets that are supposed to make that house a home?

I hear minimalism takes away personality. I hear minimalism takes away interest. I hear minimalism is hard to maintain.I hear all these things from people who haven’t given minimalism a second thought.

I call myself a minimalist but my house has things in it. I love that minimalism can be used in whichever way I see fit. There aren’t really any rules about how much you need to let go of. I got rid of a lot of stuff, and I’m always getting rid of more. Slowly, slowly. That’s how I maintain it. That’s how I keep my enjoyment.

And I find the more I get rid of, the bigger questions my mind seems to ask. My attention isn’t caught up in things and stuff. It’s caught up in the universe, in the cycles of nature, in politics and history, in people and experiences. It gets easier and easier to maintain a minimalist lifestyle, because the more I give away, the more interesting my life seems to become.

I have more time to pursue things I love. Music, outdoors, writing. Continuing a life inspired by minimalism isn’t as hard as I imagined, even a few years down the line. By getting rid of so much physical stuff, I actually found my life started to have more in it.

I wondered what advice I’d give to myself, if I ever found the going got tough. My top tips for maintaining minimalism are:

  1. Keeping the right mindset. Look at minimalism as a way of removing the unnecessary to make way for more of the important. Don’t look at it as a form of denial.
  2. Continue to edit your possessions. It’s easy to do one big clear out and then start to hold on to other things that no longer have a use. Continually pare down if you need to.
  3. Find inspiration in the minimalism community. Read blogs. Read books. Find inspiration in the stories of others, then create your own stories. Try here, here and here. Also here. And here. And while you’re at it, make a cuppa and check out here, too. (And here).
  4. Marvel at the space and time you create to devote to things you love. Minimalism isn’t about removing things and leaving a gaping void. Minimalism allows you to fill that gap with every single thing you love to do and create. It’s a fuller life but a more meaningful one.

What are your tips for sticking to a minimalist lifestyle?

 

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10 thoughts on “Maintaining Minimalism – tips to keep going

  1. What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing. I have just found your blog and I am so inspired by your commitment to not buy anything for a year. When I read this line in your post, ” Take away all the stuff…and what do you leave behind?” I was thinking, “Everything that matters!” πŸ™‚ Looking forward to following your journey.

    1. Thanks Charlotte – simplifying my life has meant I’ve discovered so many new things, things that to me, have more meaning than the consumerism I followed before. A lot more peace and space to stay curious.

  2. Hey Sal! Thanks for the mention πŸ™‚ I call myself a minimalist too, but perhaps not how others imagine..I am so good at letting things go, and being intentional with my life…but I also love to buy things, just the things I buy are less frequent and only what i really love. I’d love to challenge myself with a buy nothing new year, but I’m not quite brave enough just yet! x

    1. No problem Becs! Your site gives me so much inspiration πŸ™‚

      The thing I love most about Minimalism is how each individual can mould it to their life, their personality, their goals. Simplifying as much as we need to bring more meaning to our lives!

  3. Thanks for all the links to the other blogs! I’ve followed some of them in the past (and love the Slow Your Home Podcast!) and always love reading others as well. They definitely inspire me to keep going.

    I try to do a lot of what you said above. I don’t think of it as denying myself things – I think of buying less stuff as affording me more opportunities to get out and see things. I’ve recently moved to the southwest and i’d much rather spend the day at a national park instead of going to a store and buying something I don’t even need.

    Have you ever read the blog Exploring Alternatives? (exploringalternatives.ca) and the youtube channel of the same name? I think you would really like them.

    1. I’d not seen exploring alternatives yet Terri, but after your suggestion I’ve just made myself a big cup of tea and a going to spend a nice few hours lost in their site! Their long-term travel looks brilliant, we’ve just welcomed a bargain of an ‘adventure van’ (called Art) into our lives so I’m so glad you suggested this site! Thank you πŸ™‚

      I share your view of not seeing Minimalism as denial. In fact, I see it as a way of getting more…. but more of what matters!

  4. Thank you for the mention, Sal! I find that following others’ stories, including yours, has been a great source of motivation to keep going. At the outset of this endeavor, we didn’t anticipate how much more free time we would have–we’ve easily saved an entire day by way of our downsizing efforts.

    1. Love your blog Claudia πŸ™‚

      Your downsizing story is so inspirational. Following other journeys all around the world gives me happiness that I’m part of this simplicity movement! Amazing how much time you’ve saved by downsizing – look forward to following your journey this next year! πŸ™‚

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