After first discovering Minimalism, my initial thoughts about the lifestyle were mixed. The concept stuck with me. But it wasn’t really until last year it started to creep into my own life.
My husband and I had just moved into our first home. I’d just had my second baby. I had my beautiful little girl, and the support from my husband and family.
Money was a little tight admittedly. I was on Maternity Leave (statutory pay). I had no extra benefits, and we had had a few mix ups with some utility bills after moving and were slightly behind on some payments. We were struggling.
Despite financial issues at the time, in my head I convinced myself that it wouldn’t last forever. I tried to put on a brave face, after all I really had everything I had always wanted from life. So, I had to ask myself, why did I feel so depressed?
For most parents, lives are a constant state of busy. We simply exist on a monotonous hamster wheel, not using our time as the invaluable resource it really is.
I reached a tipping point during a month of particular strain. I couldn’t see a way out of our current circumstance.
After trawling Youtube one night during one of many night feeds, I came across some millennial vloggers. They had started their own journey’s into Minimalism into their own lives. I’m so glad I did, because it truly changed my life.
I decided that enough was enough and that I was tired of living a life of uncertainty. I was tired of feeling stressed about the house, my ability to parent, money, and about the future in general.
It was time to take control.
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I began by targeting the amount of clutter that I had been avoiding since the birth of my son. Our current home has little to no storage space, and the situation had become critical.
Room by room, I slowly assessed items in each drawer, cupboard, and toy box. I thought about the last time I used it, what value it really brought to the family, and if there was really any purpose in keeping it. I became less hesitant about keeping objects as the process continued, and it was a long process.
Physical clutter does something to me that I can not quite explain. It changes my mental outlook. My mind becomes fuzzy, I become snappy and my motivation dwindles. When a room is full of ‘things’, it completely derails any drive toward your daily goals or to do lists. In fact it has the opposite effect.
Once you begin with a simpler attitude toward physical clutter and see the benefits it can bring, I don’t think you ever truly stop. It’s good to keep it an intentional cycle to do throughout the year because it keeps your mind focused and limits what you bring into the household.
It’s not easy, especially when you have little tornadoes that follow your every move right behind you tearing it all up again. So by managing items, such as using quick and easy storage solutions ( I have so much love for Wayfair for this) it can be maintained a little more smoothly.
When my house was at a point of being relatively clutter free, my spirits had already been lifted. I felt like psychologically we were living within our physical means. We had enough free space in the house that it felt like the walls weren’t going to close in on us.
I don’t want to suggest I was living in a stereotypical minimalist household with a single plant and chair in a room. That’s an extreme at the other end of the spectrum, and I like to think we live comfortably in the middle.
Did someone say more income?
Once we had decided what physical objects we could live without. I decided to be extremely critical with our bank account, in particular our direct debits. Our journey into Minimalism had reached our wallet.
I wanted to go through each monthly payment to see if we really needed certain things or if we could simply make do without and save ourselves even more.
So I did.
Just like with our physical items, I was pretty ruthless. We ditched all the unnecessary monthly subscriptions; pricey mobile phone contracts (x 2), other online memberships, and the big one… Sky TV. I was a little hesitant to ditch this one, even though deep down I knew it was a waste of money and probably brain cells.
I have to say, even now, I don’t miss it. And I am SO much more productive without the distraction of TV every evening. Don’t get me wrong, I live for a Netflix binge now and then. But for the most part, I began to actually learn new things online, which even led me to begin my blogging journey. I listen to free podcasts about subjects that interest me, and also watch A LOT of informative videos on YouTube (free!) It’s amazing what new things you can hear when you turn off the static.
I really believe this also helped me to become more procactive about finding a new job within a totally different field of work (and with an AMAZING employer). If I was still stuck in the same rut, I wouldn’t have had the drive to go and look for different employment or to have the confidence in my own abilities to actually get the job! (Yes, they hired me!) Not to mention that my new job allows me to earn over 50% more of what I was earning in my previous job.
So, not only were we budgeting and saving money, we also had more income from employment. That was a win, win situation and it saw a huge increase in our disposable income. Suddenly those bills that we had fallen behind on did not seem like such a huge emergency, but more like an inconvenience that we were swiftly able to resolve. No biggie.
To summarise, Minimalism has given me:
- A clutter free house
- Consciousness about future purchases
- Extra income
- Personal growth
- Clarity on life long goals.
- An awesome life lesson to teach to our children.
I hope you can see how each area of a minimalist mindset has had a knock on effect on another area of my life. People are quick to label movements like minimalism as a gimmick or fad. I really do believe it is a way of life that everyone should really look in to.
If you are happy living your own way of life after reading this, then as you were.
But if any of my experience rings home to you then please think about their journey andexploring Minimalism further. Be intentional with your life because we only get to live it once.
My very long term goal is to gain financial freedom. One of the ways I would like to achieve this is by starting my own online business.
I would like to invite you to join me on my very transparent blogging journey from the very beginning of absolute newbie blogger. I will create a post month by month on the steps I have taken to grow my blog, what I have learned and will post the amount of (if any) income I have made for the month.