For the past ten weeks I have been participating in the Uncluttered Course created by a group of minimalists (including Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist). The course was something I had been wanting to do for about a year but because of adding a new baby and adjusting to that addition, I wanted to find a more optimal time to participate.
The course has been such a great model for me to continue to declutter my life and challenge those ingrained beliefs about all of the things that surround me.
As I have been participating I started thinking about how minimalism is really a shift in what you decide to acquire. I think the desire to acquire (hey that rhymes!) is fairly innate. We have this inner pull to have more and often we fill that with physical, tangible items. We buy things because they are on sale, because they are stylish, because we see everyone else has one and we just keep on acquiring things until the legacy we leave our children is a storage unit full of stuff.
When I began to sever my assumptions about what I SHOULD be buying or even what I WANTED to buy, I started to feel the temptation and the lure of stuff even more. However, I was also far more conscious that those wants were not needs and all of that stuff I wanted would never fill whatever void or pain or boredom I felt in my life.
But! Instead of acquiring stuff, I realized I started to acquire habits. Over the course of 3 years I have challenged myself to spend less, shop less, to have less items of clothing, to have cleaner counters and fewer toys. I have de-cluttered and purged and then de-cluttered again. I am continuing to develop habits on a weekly basis (in large because of the Uncluttered Course), experimenting with less, finding that sweet spot between too much and too little.
These habits have helped to realign my focus on what I actually value. They have set me on a path of consciously choosing how I spend my time and money, to reflect those values that sometimes get trampled underneath good intentions.
My habits aren’t grandiose, but they make a difference. Having your kitchen counters clean before you go to sleep has resulted in calmer mornings. Keeping the top of my dresser cleared from articles of clothing keeps my bedroom a place of refuge instead of a room that causes headaches. Putting things away right after I use them seems basic but when interrupted by small children, becomes a challenge. These habits help create a more peaceful home and a more peaceful mother. The benefits of that sense of peace are unending, but it really is the ultimate reason I keep pursuing minimalism.
Try it out.
Start using that mental energy to start acquiring habits that will benefit your home and self rather than acquiring all the stuff you think you might need. Chances are you might gain a lot more than a few extra dollars in your bank account.