Minimalism is More than Decluttering

I don’t want anyone to think that I’m not giving props to the people who donated/tossed/sold more than 50 percent of their wardrobe. (Seriously, that is something to celebrate because it’s a HUGE achievement in your minimalism journey.) But, I think it’s equally important to know that your journey shouldn’t end with your closet and your belongings.

At first, I thought my experience with minimalism was going to begin and end with my closet. Once I began to practice minimalism in my everyday life, I realized that I craved to live a more simple life altogether. I wanted to have more time, more happiness and less stress or worries. I wanted to practice mindfulness and simplicity in a busy, hectic life.

It took awhile to learn what would be the best way to achieve my desire for a more minimalist lifestyle that went beyond my closet. Here’s how I took my minimalism journey to the next step:

1| Practice conscious shopping

Stop unnecessary shopping. We have all been in that situation where we haven’t been shopping for a few months, so we treat ourselves after spending freezes on good deals, etc. Instead of treating yourself to a jacket or makeup, treat yourself to an experience like a nice dinner, a spa day or an overnight trip with your friends. These will mean much more than a sweater you found on sale that you don’t need. Also, ask yourself if you truly need that item you’re looking to buy. If you don’t, be strong enough to walk away.

2| Practice saying no

“Ma’am, would you like a free gift with purchase today?” If you don’t need it, say no. If a friend offers an old handbag, say no. If a store is offering free, trial samples for beauty products, say no. The more you practice saying no, the easier it will become. The goal is to be ruthless of what you allow into your home. Your sample-sized beauty products are going to sit in a box and you’ll forget about them within a few weeks. If you truly don’t need it, say no.

3| Practice mindfulness

Instead of rushing with a cup of hot coffee in a travel mug to get your breakfast sandwich, wake up 20 minutes earlier to enjoy your coffee and breakfast at home. Instead of rushing your morning routine altogether, set your alarm for an hour earlier than you normally would. This way, you’ll give yourself enough time to get ready in the morning without forgetting your lunch and presentation information. Enjoy the little moments of each day. This makes a huge difference.

Although decluttering and getting rid of anything non-essential is a huge component of minimalism and practicing a minimalist lifestyle, it isn’t the only component of that lifestyle. It’s about working toward living a simple life where there is less stress and more time for happiness. That is why this lifestyle is appealing to many people.

Are you on a journey toward living a minimalist lifestyle? What has been the easiest or most difficult part of that journey? Make sure to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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5 Benefits of Minimalism

There’s no doubt that minimalism has been a huge topic in 2016, and 2017 seems to be another year of the minimalism trend. Hopefully, this doesn’t remain a “trend,” but more of a conscious way of living for others. For me, since I’ve adopted more minimalist concepts into my life, I’ve noticed benefits that outweigh unnecessary shopping trips, etc. Make sure to leave a comment if you want to know my secrets on how I stopped unnecessary shopping!

Today I’m sharing five benefits of minimalism. Granted, there are many more than five, but these benefits are what I call, “undeniable benefits.” No matter how much you incorporate minimalism into your life, you are guaranteed to feel these benefits!

1| More Time

Let me break it down for you. The less you own in your home, the less you have to clean. The less you have to clean, the more time you have. See how that works? It’s not complicated! Instead of dusting off five extra pieces of furniture that you don’t use or love, you could sell those items, free up more space, and free up your time! Plus if you’re selling your items that you don’t love, you can make a little money through the process.

2| I Appreciate What I Own (Even More)

Before I decided to take on this lifestyle, I had so many things that I didn’t love in my life (mostly clothing). Because of this, I didn’t appreciate the possessions I owned. Now that I decluttered my home, and drastically downsized my closet, I have a deeper appreciation for all the items in my own. Everything I own, I love. That has helped me so much in this journey.

3| More Money

With pursuing minimalism means that you become a more conscious shopper. I haven’t purchased anything that’s non-essential for the last few months, and that has been a wonderful feeling for my wallet. You won’t believe how much money you save by cutting back on what you own because then you’re more aware of your shopping habits. This means more money for travel, or saving of a different purchase!

4| Your Home Is Precious

Be a ruthless editor of what you bring into your home. The less you own the less than owns you. When you decide to take on this lifestyle, your home becomes a personal sanctuary. It becomes your peaceful place. It is a place that you find the most joy because there’s no clutter or excess items to distract you. It is only filled with items you love. That is how every home should feel, but that isn’t always the case until you decide to pursue minimalism,

5| Strong Focus 

Without clutter and items distracting you, you have more time and energy to focus on what you truly want to accomplish with your life. You have more clarity in your life to ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve?” “What brings me the most bliss?” With less stuff, you have more space in your mind for achieving all your #GirlBoss Goals! Minimalism helps your clarity and helps you remove any mental clutter in your mind that could be affecting you from accomplishing what you truly wish to do.

What are other benefits of minimalism have you noticed in your lifestyle? What benefits have I missed? Make sure to leave a comment below!

 

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Mental Cleanse Challenge: Week 3

Another week has already come and gone! I feel that these challenges are coming and going so quickly and that February is flying by. It doesn’t help that this month has been very busy at work, which makes the days seem very short.

If this is your first post catching up on my 30-Day Mental Cleanse Challenge with Erin, stop and go back to the beginning. Read the first post in this challenge series about the collaboration for creating self-care challenges and a review of my first week of the Mental Cleanse Challenge!

Are you caught up to speed? Good, now we can move on to reviewing last week’s challenges and where I struggled!

Feb. 6: Try a new workout you’ve never done before.

I knew this would be challenging for me because I’ve done a lot of different workouts. But I decided to go out of my comfort zone and not cheat, so I tried a cardio ab workout I found online.

Feb. 7: Keep all three meals “phone free.” No social media scrolling!

This isn’t ever an issue for breakfast or dinner, but lunch at the office is filled with social media browsing. Instead, I got my coworkers on board to keep their phones away for lunch.

Feb. 8: Do a yoga for beginners workout to give your muscles TLC.

I needed this. I have been going hard on the leg and cardio workouts, so some yoga was exactly what I needed this day. I only did a 15-minute, but it’s better than nothing, right?!

Feb. 9: Make two of your three meals meatless. Need inspiration? Check Pinterest!

I typically don’t have an issue with this because I love to eat a lot of vegetables, fruit and salads to begin with. I had a huge salad for lunch and a veggie pasta for dinner.

Feb. 10: Meditate for 5 minutes and focus on your breath.

I was able to do in this in the office. I was feeling overwhelmed and took the opportunity to calm myself with breathing and relaxing for 10 minutes. Breathing works wonders for stress, friends.

Feb. 11: Take your workout outdoors even if it’s for 20 minutes! 

We were happy to see a little warm weather this day, so I took a walk outside for 15 minutes. It’s still winter here in PA, so we didn’t want to go overboard with the outdoors.

Feb. 12: Go vegan for a day!

What was I thinking with this challenge? Not having eggs, cheese or any other animal products was challenging, but achievable. I ate lentil soup, salad, fruit salad, and rice with veggies throughout the day.

How did you do with these challenges? Make sure to share your wins and losses from this week! Don’t be shy, it’s okay if you had a slip-up or two!


The Third Week of Challenges: Digital Cleanse

  • Feb. 13: Clean out your inbox and sort your emails into folders. Delete all spam.
  • Feb. 14: No social media before 11 a.m. Take the time to be productive!
  • Feb. 15: Unfollow people on social media who don’t inspire you.
  • Feb. 16: Organize your desktop accordingly into folders. Delete unnecessary items.
  • Feb. 17: Go through your phone and organize your apps into folders. Delete apps, old notes, contacts, etc.
  • Feb. 18: Have a phone-free night with family or loved ones!
  • Feb. 19: Unsubscribe from email marketing you’re not interested in keeping up with.

How have you been loving the challenges so far? What challenges were the easiest/most difficult for week two? What challenges for the third week are you most concerned about? Make sure to share in the comments below!

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My Minimalism Journey [So Far]

2016 was a huge year for me in terms of discovering what material items I felt were no longer important or essential for me. I have grown so much from this journey so far, especially because I moved out of my parent’s home and into my own home. I didn’t want to have a cluttered or disorganized home; I wanted my home to be a space that was calming, relaxing, and simple.

Why I chose Minimalism:

1| I felt less anxious

For those who don’t know, I have struggled with anxiety and OCD for several years. When I removed unnecessary clutter and items from my life, I felt my anxiety decrease significantly. The fewer items I owned, the less I had to clean, wash, sort and organize. Needless to say, it has helped me SO much!

2| It brought me joy

I went into this minimalism journey with one concept it mind: if the item didn’t bring me happiness, there was no need to keep it in my life. More than 90 percent of the things I got rid of were simply because they were things I didn’t love. This is the best mindset to have when beginning your journey.

3| It gave me perspective

It can be difficult to focus on the bigger things in life, but minimalism helped me to understand there is more to life than owning an article of clothing in every color. Or, making sure you’re saving a handbag or belt for an occasion that may never come up again. There’s more to life than things. Life should be about adventure and experiences.


With these concepts in mind, I knew minimalism was something that would help me achieve the lifestyle and space I craved. So, I began with my own items in my room. I sat in a mountain of clothes taller than my nightstand, and felt the negative impact of having stuff I didn’t love. But I also knew that getting rid of things was going to be difficult, so I promised myself to take the process slow. There was no need to rush.

Over the course of a month, I removed more than 60 percent of my clothes, jewelry, accessories and shoes. I felt incredibly relieved—but I was itching to keep getting rid of things. Here is how I was able to declutter my closet.

There becomes a point in your minimalism journey where you become addicted to the process. Every week, I would find myself going through my closet to find another item (or 10) to donate, sell or toss.  By summer, I truly felt blissful with where I was in my minimalism journey.

Throughout summer and fall, I craved a desire for adopting minimalism and simplicity even further in my life. I began to simplify my routine and practice mindfulness more and more. I began practicing conscious shopping and truly monitored my shopping habits to become more aware of what was necessary and unnecessary. I also focused on my daily routine and leading a minimalist lifestyle.

Now, I am almost a year into my minimalism journey, and although I am still learning throughout the process, I am very satisfied with where I am with my journey right now. I think it’s important to appreciate every step in the journey. I know 2017 will be another year filled with progressing on my minimalism journey, and I hope to document more of this journey along the way!

If you’re new to minimalism, what has been the best part of your journey so far? If you’re a veteran minimalist, what tips would you share with those who are new to the process or considering becoming a minimalist? Make sure to share in the comments below!

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Decluttering Challenge For Beginners

 

I believe that decluttering can have a positive and powerful impact on our lives. One day, I decided to declutter my closet, which lead me to pursue a more minimalist lifestyle. Now, almost a year later, I can confidently say that taking that initial leap and decluttering my space set the tempo for my decision to continue to a more simple and more minimal life.

It’s the first month of a new year, which is the perfect time to set aside a day where you can tackle some spaces in your home and make a difference in your mindset, outlook and more! There are so many benefits to taking on a more minimalist lifestyle, and it all begins with the decision to try.

I created a simple, decluttering challenge for beginners who are looking to free up more space in their homes, simplify their life and potentially look into pursuing a more minimalist lifestyle. The challenge is simple: you have 30 days to go through and complete the challenges. You can take several days to complete one challenge, and you can do as much or as little as you’d like. The purpose is to keep the challenges open-ended for each individual to interpret and make those decisions for themselves.

1| Remove everything from your closet you haven’t worn in over a year.

We all know there are a ton of things in your closet right now that you probably haven’t worn for several years, so why keep them? Go through your closet and carefully edit your wardrobe. Does it fit your personal style? Does it fit? Do you love it? If you answered no to any of those questions, then out it goes.

2| Recycle/donate old magazines and books you won’t read or reference.

Unless you know you’re going to reread the book or reference the magazine or textbook, there’s no need to keep it in your home. I have several books that I love and plan to keep for years to come. But if it’s a book that can be donated, make sure to donate as much as you can. You won’t believe the space you’ll save.

3| Sort your mail, bills, etc. Toss what you no longer need and file important documents.

Make sure you go through mail anytime you receive it to keep from paper clutter catching up to you in your home. Pay your bills as soon as possible, sort any files you know you’ll need for long-term, etc. If it’s trash, or direct mail marketing, toss it unless you plan to use it within the next week.

4| Clean out all other closet spaces in the house. Donate old/outgrown items.

Go through your spare closets, guest bedroom closets, and coat closets, and organize when appropriate. Do you need to keep the coats you haven’t worn in years? Donate them to a charitable cause like a coat collection for local homeless shelters in your community. Do the same with boots, winter scarves, hats, and anything else lingering in those spaces.

5| Donate all kitchen/dining room items you don’t use or need including: old tupperware, utensils, mugs, plates, gadgets, appliances, etc.

No matter what you say, you don’t need 15 mugs when there are only two people living in one home. The same can be said for excess utensils, dishes, tupperware, and anything else in these rooms that you feel you won’t need. Do you really need five tablecloths even though you only use one of them twice a year? Be ruthless when it comes to these spaces in your home.

6| Go through beauty products, makeup, etc. and toss expired items.

Similar to the unnecessary mug collection, you can get rid of a lot of things from your beauty closet, makeup collection, and bathroom storage areas. Go through your linen closet and toss anything that’s old and expired or you know you won’t use. Then organize the remaining items into baskets putting similar products together.

7| Organize your office space and digital space. Unsubscribe from emails, delete old contacts, unfollow people on social media, sort through emails. Shred old files you no longer need.

Create an organized filing system for any important documents at your desk. Keep your desk area minimal with only the essentials on your desk. Organize your digital files into folders. Sort through emails until you have none in your inbox. Unfollow people that don’t inspire you on social media, unsubscribe from any email marketing, go through your contacts and delete those acquaintances from high school you haven’t heard from in five years.

8| Toss expired food from your fridge or pantry.

Remember those small jars of mustard from your Hickory Farms gift from two Christmases ago that you said you were going to use, but never did? Yep, toss those whether you had promise yourself to eat it or not. Do the same with anything in the pantry or fridge that may be expired.

9| Miscellaneous items throughout your house in the garage and basement.

The garage and basement can be huge targets for keeping old items that you don’t use or want. Whether it’s old furniture or home decor items you’ve never used, or equipment you know you will never use ever again. Donate/toss or sell anything miscellaneous from these specific spaces.

10| Get rid of anything that makes you unhappy or stressed.

Are you one of those people who has kept clothing in storage for when you lose those final 10 (or 20) pounds? Donate it and remind yourself that if you ever do lose the weight, you can treat yourself to a new wardrobe. Don’t old on to items that can trigger stress and unnecessary expectations. If it brings you stress or sadness, get rid of it.

With the beginning of a new years comes an exciting time of new opportunities for yourself and a time of self improvement. With this challenge, you’ll be able to take the first step in decluttering your home, and simplify your life for 2017.

Do you think you can complete this challenge? What have you been decluttering lately? Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below! 

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