The minimalism movement is a rather fascinating concept. And with that, I’ve received quite a few questions about my experience living this lifestyle. So, today I wanted to answer some frequently asked questions in a casual chit chat style blog post. Let’s get into these questions.
How long have you been a minimalist?
I was introduced to the idea of minimalism or rather “living with less” in 2016. But I wouldn’t have considered myself a full blown minimalist, even now. I’m still on the journey in a sense. But the last couple of years, I’ve been more into the concept as a lifestyle & try to be as intentional with my choices as much as possible.
How do you get started on your minimalism journey?
I’d say, the first thing to ask yourself is “why you want to become more minimal?” Is it because you are a bit of a hoarder & you feel consumed by stuff? Or is it because you want to live more in the moment? For me, it was the feeling of being overwhelmed by stuff which caused me to feel more anxious . It was a way to manage my overall wellbeing & live more stress free. I also thought more purchases would mask my emotions & bring me more happiness. But obviously those purchases made no difference in my overall wellbeing.
What was your first minimalist project?
It was my entire bedroom at my parent’s house for sure. I used to be quite the “secret pack rat.” My drawers would be stuffed to the brim to the point where I broke a few. I think my mom made me properly go through everything one day that made me have a change of heart. We literally lined up all my belongings from my closet, drawers & under my bed in the upstairs walkway. And seeing all the junk in that way was VERY eye opening & rather embarrassing. But that gave me the mindset of keeping my space tidy. I grew up in a home where we cleaned quite a bit. But I was always taught to have less showcasing on my surfaces. The reason for this was dusting was a lot of work & we needed to make it easier on ourselves. I personally hated it as a kid because I wanted to display everything! I was the girl who taped Jonas Brothers & Zac Efron magazine clippings on her doors and walls. Now, I cringe at the thought.
What is the most challenging thing [about minimalism]?
We live in a world that is based on consumerism. So, it’s hard to practice the idea of going against that norm. I feel like as soon as I declutter a few things, more things magically come back in & it’s this vicious cycle. Part of it is because a lot of people I know aren’t minimalists. And so, we are gifted things or things are handed down to us. And although we can say no, it is hard to be that way all the time because I don’t want to feel ungrateful. There’s this balance of being minimalistic but not being rude about it.
How do you get past sentimental reasons for holding onto things?
I love this question because sentimental items are one of the most difficult sections to declutter. I actually have a post here that goes more into detail on the decluttering process of these items. But in short, I’d say it was a process in shifting my overall mindset to physical belongings. You have to understand those pieces are not the person. And if someone really cares about you, they won’t hold it against you if you decide to let something go. And I think the reason we hold onto these items from our past is because we attribute them to a person’s memory.
Are there things you miss?
I think in the beginning of this journey, there were times where letting go of seemingly useful items was difficult. But actually, over time [ at least for me] the decluttering process has become very easy & I don’t rethink the things I donate or trash. I’ve gotten in the mindset that material items are rather pointless. Plus, I would hold onto things I thought I would use but never did. So, finally I decided to let them go. What I miss more are the people in my life who are gone & the memories attached to them.
Do you own something you refuse to declutter?
The first thing that comes to mind is my stuffed animal monkey I’ve had since I was 5. I refuse to just take a photo of it & ditch it. It sits on top of my nightstand to this day. And I’m not ashamed of it. And on days I’m feeling the most upset or stressed, I’ll cuddle with it.
Isn’t the minimalist lifestyle boring?
This is such a misconception. People think minimalists don’t own much, sleep on the floor or have no sense of style. And this is not the concept at all. It’s not a deprivation. It’s having a more clear mind to love what you do have & what you should truly prioritize. And I’ve talked about how minimalism isn’t one size fits all. There are ones who live in tiny homes while others live in single family houses with acres of land. There are ones who live out of a backpack while others still have a walk in closet. It’s a mindset with no specific rules. And if you do it right, you’ll find your life to be anything but dull.
What is your advice on decluttering books, music or movies?
The question you should always ask yourself is, “do owning these items make me happy?” And if the answer is yes, I say keep them. But if you are looking to downsize in anyway you could always give some books to friends or digitize those things through your laptop or a Kindle. That way, you don’t physically see the clutter & they are properly stored in a discrete location. I personally still own a few DVD’s. I think they are great to have for children in the future. But it is something to reconsider since streaming services are an up and coming program. But again, life shouldn’t feel like a desprivation, so if those things bring fulfillment to your life, hold onto them.
What inspired you to start sharing your journey on social media?
I knew I wanted to start a blog because I wanted to finally share my writing to the world. I wanted to have a niche that was unique too. I idolize a lot of other minimalist influencers, so I felt like it would be cool to share my own experience. Plus, none of my friends understand it / follow the lifestyle so I needed to find some like minded individuals to connect with. As I’ve been on this journey it has really changed me as a person in the most positive way so I wanted other people to have a chance to experience this too.
How was it when you initially incorporated minimalism in your life?
It was a shock to the system at first. Deleting most social media in my personal life was VERY hard to get used to because my world revolved around it. I felt like the only way to connect with friends was through Instagram but in reality it is a lonely mindset. It was an addiction & my connections with people weren’t any better with it. Downsizing other forms of my life was nothing compared to my digital life. But it was like a snowball effect. Little changes helped me grow as an individual.
Do you ever have setbacks & how do you keep yourself motivated when you do?
Yes, absolutely. It’s human nature to have setbacks especially since society is heavily run by materialism. In my personal life, my setbacks develop from emotional hurdles. This pandemic for example really sent me in a negative spiral at first. It was a shock to my system & when I feel sad, I still can catch myself healing those wounds through impulse purchases. But I’ve found meditation, exercise & listening to motivational podcasts & videos bring me back to a minimalistic mindset. I posted on Instagram a quote that said, “quit buying your way through the hard times.” And that was a reminder to my followers as well as myself to stay positive even when the world says otherwise & find the good within the simple things & what you already have. No amount of material items will truly make you happier. You have to find that within yourself.
What’s your favorite resource to learn about minimalism?
Youtube. I learn everything from that platform. I have a few youtubers in the minimalism community who inspire me. A few of these people include Ashlynne Eaton, Carmen Elaine & Kyra Ann. But there are so many more. If I need motivation to declutter, I’ll just search it & tons of videos pop up.
Are you the only minimalist in your house?
I’m the only one who has truly dived deep into the lifestyle. My parents & brother kind of live in a “essentialism lifestyle” where less is definitely more” but they don’t live & breathe it like me. And now that I live with my boyfriend who isn’t very minimalistic at all, it’s quite the balance. And it’s a lot of give & take. I let him live his life the way he likes to with all his favorite nicknacks & decor. I have encouraged him to declutter some which is nice but I’m not strict about it either. And when we have a family, I will be rather minimalistic with less toys etc… but my main goal is for them to live a happy life.
Hope you liked this post. I’d like to do this again in the future so please leave more questions in the comment section