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Minimalism: Complete the Journey and Maintain a Lifestyle

As we transition into fall, our three part minimalism challenge comes to a close. If you missed parts 1 and 2, they will be up on the blog for you to come back to any time. You may feel called to do a quick review before digging into this last piece. If you’ve been following along, excellent!

Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve covered so far:

  1. Identify your personal needs. Create a list outlining your ideal mental outlook and home environment
  2. Develop a healthy relationship with consumerism
  3. Live and purchase with INTENTION
  4. Begin editing your possessions one category at a time. It is ok to start small. Just start!
  5. Build a support system of like-minded individuals
  6. Let go of guilt and put your intentions first
  7. Follow our editing guidelines for a gentle transition

Everything Has a Home

Minimalism and organization go hand in hand. Having a super organized space is in flow with ridding our excess. In the Clutter Healing® world, a space is truly in organized bliss once every item within it has a designated “home”. To achieve this, we put like with like. For example all of your batteries should be in one drawer, cabinet or bin. They should then be stored near your tools and house hardware, as these items are all in the same family. We categorize the space similarly to a retail store where all the tank tops are right along side the perfect layering piece. An excellent scenario for finding things right when you need them, right where you need them.

This synergy is an excellent tool for maintaining a minimalist lifestyle: you never have to go out and buy something that you don’t need because you can’t find it. Your clutter free environment will leave your mind spacious and settled. You may even find yourself addicted to such simplicity. Whatever blissful feeling you are experiencing by living with less, anchor into it. Give it a name. Make a pact that you will nourish this new relationship. Integrate this feeling into the INTENTION statement you created in part 1. Let your intention be the light that guides you when the urge to purchase impulsively starts nagging or you see things piling up in your home. This statement will serve as your personal roadmap to long term maintenance.

 

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” -William Morris

Maintaining Balance

Okay, you’ve done your fair share of hard work eliminating the excess in search of simplicity and freedom. You’ve donated bags upon bags of clothes and unwanted goods. You’ve developed a healthier relationship to consumerism and you are looking at all future purchases through a new filter. Before buying anything you ask yourself: is it multi-purpose, sustainable and NECESSARY? Your home feels spacious and you can finally breathe knowing that you love and need everything around you. Yay you! But how do you keep it feeling this way, indefinitely?

 

It may be helpful to think of your life and your living space in terms of an energetic equilibrium.  Each item that you welcome into your home takes up a certain amount of energy. With a finite supply of spatial energy, too much stuff can overexert your space disrupting the balance and the organization. Only items that serve a purpose should be granted permanent quarters in your precious home.

 

A few tips to keep you on track:

Keep a donation box or bag easily accessible (i.e. in your garage or coat closet) so that you and your family may discard unwanted items here as soon as they are spotted. This will help to prevent any clutter from slipping from the cracks simply because you don’t want to make a trip to the donation store for just one thing.

Reshape your habits so that you leave designated time to tidy. Whether it’s 10 minutes every morning while you wait for the coffee to brew, or when you return home in the evenings, putting things away on a regular basis will help to keep your space organized. Don’t let the unopened mail pile up again, don’t ignore the miscellaneous pens strewn about the coffee table and countertops and don’t allow your outfits from the week to find a resting place on the floor of your bedroom until laundry day makes its way around again. Once everything within your home has a designated space, tidying up should be a breeze and it should be a constant in your routine. Research shows that it only takes an average of 21 days to form a new habit…not that long for a lifetime of organization!!

Checklists or excel spreadsheets for household staple items are useful tools for maintaining an accurate inventory for what you have in stock, as well as an idea of how quickly your house depletes that stock. These lists will help to prevent misguided grocery store purchases for boxes of pasta, bags of rice or extra bottles of bathroom products, when you already have plenty on hand..

Don’t forget about the one in – one out rule mentioned earlier in the challenge. Unless the item coming in serves a specific purpose (i.e. rain boots, snow boots, holiday sweater, etc.) you are only bringing in replacements or updates and letting go of the old.  Did you recently purchase a new white tee shirt? Great! Let go of the oldest one that no longer sparks joy, has a stain and small tear at the seam. Bought a new pair of black heels? You know the drill, time to swap out the pair that has already walked its life away. This is a BIG guideline for successfully maintaining your energetic equilibrium.

Completing The Journey

So far, we’ve covered a lot about the process of ridding yourself of physical clutter…but who says minimalism only applies to your tangible possessions? This lifestyle should make itself present in all aspects. Complete the circle by reshaping the habits of how you delegate one of the most precious resources known to man: your time.

 

“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.”

-Eleanor Brownn

 

Sit down to evaluate the different realms of your day-to-day life and make thoughtful decisions as to whether or not your time distribution lines up with your goals. Do you feel that you are making the most of your time? Are you excited about the activities and the people that surround you?

 

Here are some questions to help you unlock your best self:

 

NUTRITION: Your body is your temple. Cliché but true. Do you read food labels? Are you careful about what you put into your body? Do you find yourself feeling tired and overly full after meals? Many ways of eating have blown up into “trends” AKA gluten-free, vegan, paleo and that thing about ketones?  The point is have you ever stopped to think about WHY these groups have people have eliminated certain ingredients from their diets? The less is more motto applies to what you eat just as much as what you own.

 

Plan of Action – Start a food journal. Tune into the way your body feels when you eat certain foods. Eliminate the ingredients that don’t leave you feeling refreshed and energized. Focus on eating fresh foods over packaged and highly processed foods.

 

FITNESS: Are you happy with your body? Do you find yourself thinking, “I really need to work out?” Do you make time to get MOVING? Regular exercise is important for so many reasons: improved mood, increased energy throughout the day, better sleep at night, reduced risk for common diseases and most of all improved self esteem and overall strength!

 

Plan of Action – Write down the free time that you have each week. How are you spending this free time? How many hours of TV do you watch vs how many hours of exercise you accomplish? Eliminate excess time-wasting activities and replace them with movement. Even starting with 20 minutes a day can make a huge impact throughout the course of your life.

 

RELATIONSHIPS: How many people in your life are you tending to? Do you feel pressure to keep up constant communication with so many people that you often feel like you have no time to yourself? Do you feel obligated to maintain friendships that have drifted apart?

 

Plan of Action – Put yourself first ALWAYS! Not sometimes, ALWAYS. You can’t be available for anyone in your life unless you have taken care of yourself first. When someone stops bringing you joy or benefiting your life in one way or another, it may be time to let him or her go. Not everyone has come into your life to stay forever; some people are just passing through. Holding onto dead friendships and relationships can weigh you down as much as a house full of clutter. In order to complete your journey, you must let go of all that is weighing you down.

 

GOALS: Do you have a list of goals that you hope to accomplish by a certain age? Whether they are personal or career goals, each are important for keeping us motivated and moving in the right direction, IF your delegation of time lines up with what you hope to achieve. Many people let their goals slip through the cracks because they “don’t have time”. Don’t let yourself down. Budget your time in such a way that allows you to follow your dreams and continually reach for your best self.

 

Plan of Action – This might start to sound repetitive but…sit down and create a list. This may overlap with other lists you have already made and maybe you can now merge some of these lists into an overall plan. Write down the ways in which you are spending your time. Write down your goals. Do these two lists line-up? If you want to be able to run a marathon by next year, are you running at least 3 times per week? Are you running at all? Do you feel happy about the way you delegate your time? Assess your life, ground yourself in your intentions and eliminate everything that does not move you in the direction that you are looking to go. Always be asking yourself: “Is this (person, place, thing, decision, etc.) getting me closer to my goals or further away?”

More resources from our favorite minimalists: 

Joshua Becker & Leo Babauta

The More of Less
The More of Less
Clutterfree with Kids
Clutterfree with Kids

 

The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life
The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life
The Power of Less
The Power of Less

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