My Journey Into Minimalism: How I Learned to Love Living with Less
It all started with a mention from Mark Hodgkin on the Sports Leadership Podcast. I can’t even recall the episode or quite exactly the date I listened to it on my way to work. But, it stuck with me. He mentioned changes he’d been making personally and said he had read a book and then watched a documentary by two men who dubbed themselves “The Minimalists.”
He mentioned how they stressed intentional living and living with less. “Living with less.” That phrase really stuck with me. It sounds so simple, yet many people struggle with it. Including myself at the time. My life had recently turned for the better as I had just begun my new job at Aflac.
Why So Anxious?
Gone were the days of wondering where the money for our next mortgage payment would come. I had new employment and a nice new paycheck. But, as is often the case, money isn’t everything. It brought a lot of peace of mind, but I was still feeling…un-settled. Maybe even anxious?
I tend to be a natural worrier, but this was different. So, I asked my wife Megan if she’d heard of these gentlemen (she had!) and if she’d be willing to watch their documentary. Thankfully she said yes and we watched it the next time we had a weekend alone. I had no idea how life changing the show would be for both of us!
How did it change our perspective? Well, we realized that we are not our things. We also realized what we should really value in our lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.
To put it simply, we now try to live a lifestyle where we only bring things into our lives if they add value. What did we cut out you may ask? Old furniture that took up space, extra clothes that we hadn’t worn in months, knick-knacks that sat on shelves serving no purpose. The list was long!
There was also digital minimalizing. As in, so long Snapchat. See you later Facebook and other apps from my phone that only served as distractions. We began scanning pictures and putting them on flash drives. Scanning articles and old clippings so we still had a record of things, but not the paper trail.
Minimalism is Different for Everyone
Now, minimalism comes in different flavors and it may not look the same for everyone. It’s not like we sit around on the floor and stare at stark white walls. You may not know we consider ourselves minimalists if you visit our house.
Minimalism to us is really the mindset of living with less. And living that way intentionally moving forward. We constantly ask ourselves what items are adding value to our lives. We regularly take stock of our belongings and do regular purges.
If living with less seems appealing to you, but you’re not sure where to start, let me offer you some simple tasks taken straight from “The Minimalists” themselves.
Start here with some of their basic resources.
Try the “30-Day Minimalism Game.”
Try a packing party.
Or just start getting rid of your crap. Because let’s face it, most of what we own is crap.
Living with less has made me focus on the more important things in my life. My mind is way more calm and free of worry because I don’t feel trapped by all my “stuff.” By focusing on health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution, I know I am putting a priority on five areas that truly matter.
Thinking like a minimalist didn’t happen overnight for Megan or myself. But, by adopting its principles and living them intentionally each day, we’ve completely transformed our lives.
So what about you? What changes can you make in your life to begin living with less?