Minimalism: Downsizing Everything But Your Stuff

Minimalism: Downsizing Everything But Your Stuff

The minimalism movement is on the rise and I could not be more thrilled about it. However, there is a huge misconception when it comes to minimalism; even I’m guilty of it. There is this unspoken (or maybe frequently spoken) idea that being a minimalist means living in a shack and renouncing all your possessions so that you may live a fulfilled life as a Buddhist monk. Hard pass. Hard pass. Minimalism to me has come to mean clearing out the clutter to make room for only things that bring you maximum joy. Downsize in most areas to make huge room for better things in other areas. Now, here’s the catch: downsizing doesn’t only occur in your home or with your stuff. Downsizing can happen in multiple areas of your life and it should if you plan on living your life to the fullest. Minimalism is about freedom, clarity and living a life without being tied down by the things in life that hold you back.



Your Goals

Before we even dive in, I want you to pause for a minute. Make a list of the top 5 things you want to see happen for yourself this year. I won’t even give you examples, because I don’t want to sway you at all. Just think…5 things you want to have happen. Now, keep those 5 things in mind as you read on. If you need help getting clear about your goals check out my post for the absolute best goal setting planner: Organize Your Life for the New Year.

The Hard Pass

The following three steps I have laid out for you require a “hard pass” mindset. To fully understand the “hard pass,” you need to know Bumper from the movie, Pitch Perfect. In one scene Bumper (who in all honesty is kind of a turd) shakes his head back and forth and firmly states “No. Hard pass.” This is the kind of attitude you have got to start to adapt in order to get some peace and perspective back into your life. For realsies. –Even if that means people think you’re acting like a “turd.” I was born and raised in Minnesota, where we are known as “Minnesota friendly” –this basically means we can’t say no to anyone, constructive criticism is painful to give and being walked all over has become as common as breathing. I might be exaggerating slightly…but not a ton. The point I’m trying to make is that if I can learn to “hard pass” so can you.

Debt: Hard Pass.

Drowning in clutter and stuff can make us feel panicky, hopeless and stressed. Drowning in debt offers up those exact same feelings. No one wants to live their lives feeling like they are shelling out their hard earned cash to debt collectors, credit cards or car payments. If any of your goals require you to have financial freedom, now is the time to buckle down and get serious about demolishing your debt. Check out one way we did it: How We Paid of $6,000 in 6 Months with the Snowball Method

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Talking about and acknowledging debt can be scary. Just like it can be scary when you decide to get rid of that blanket you’ve had since you were born because it no longer serves a purpose in your life. But, now that it’s gone you feel lighter and more free. There are some things we may want in life and we obviously need money for them. Things like: a new car, season tickets or a vacation. Other things might be less obvious. Say you want more time with your family. That requires good time management and secure financing if you plan on taking time off work. Getting back in shape may require a gym membership. Giving more to others…well, ya gotta have something to give. There is so much freedom that comes with less financial obligation and the great news is, there are so many programs to help you get started. Check out my post: How to Talk to Your Spouse About Living on a Budget for some of the best options available.

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Take a look at your weekly schedules. Are they aligned with your goals? Are there any places you can take a step back? I personally know I super over-loaded myself last year. I was teaching preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as homeschooling my two youngest kids. Frequently one of the Monday, Wednesday, Friday teachers would need a substitute. I felt obligated to volunteer. After all, they needed help, homeschool could be flexible and the extra cash couldn’t hurt. Yet week after week I found myself crabby, stressed and constantly moving. Even if I only worked 1 extra day a week, it through off my entire schedule. My intentions were good but I needed to seriously take a hard look at what was wrong with this situation.

It felt silly admitting that 15 hours of work a week was just too much, but it was. So no matter how insignificant it may seem, no matter how little time it takes up, where do you see cutbacks that need to happen in your schedule? Sometimes this might mean saying goodbye to things you really enjoy doing. You might enjoy bowling league; but it’s cutting into family time and you are missing one more night of tucking your kids in. If you’re a stay at home mom, maybe it’s making that time to get away from your little ones so that you can keep your sanity. —Not like I’m speaking from experience or anything.

No matter what it is, get intentional about your time and your schedule. Take back where you need to and do it without guilt. It’s your life, you do get some say in the matter.

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Expectations: Hard Pass

Now this one is a toughy…at least it was for me. What expectations are you putting on yourself that are just plain unrealistic? I can’t tell you how many times I have had moms tell me that they feel like worse mothers because they see all that I do with my kids. On Facebook I share the crafts we do, I share the meals I make and all our smiley fun adventures. Part of this is because I grew up with my mom constantly taking photos. Photos speak to me, I love them so I take advantage in every special moment I spend with my little ones. Call me crazy but when I’m screaming bloody murder, slamming doors and locking myself in the bathroom just to get some peace and quiet; I don’t often think of snapping a photograph. (Sometimes I do. That’s just how much I like pictures.)

The point I’m trying to make is that a lot of times we add stress where stress is not needed by expectations that we put on ourselves. Let’s be honest though, a lot of times we get expectations from others as well. One huge way to avoid the stress of this is to just totally own up to you limits. No one can do everything and that is absolutely, 100% OK. Admitting that you can’t juggle it all is the first step toward putting the efforts into what you can do. Applying focus in fewer areas will allow you to accomplish far more than you ever could than if you were trying to be great at it all.

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Minimize and Maximize

Taking the time to give the hard pass to all these things can do such amazing things in your brain. Decluttering the un-necessary stress and the unnecessary obligations to your life will start to clear away your brain’s clutter and help your get serious perspective in all the other areas of your life. The best way to make sure all these things start to happen is to find 20 minutes in your day to just sit quietly and reflect. Maybe a quiet walk. No jamming to music. Maybe 5 minutes with your morning coffee, 10 minutes in a hot shower and 5 minutes in a quiet meditation before bed. Get creative with how you spend your time alone.

It’s funny how so many people can’t sleep at night because they find their minds racing. Usually this is probably because laying down at night is the first time they have allowed their brains some peace and quiet. Don’t let that happen to you. Make that quiet time throughout your day so you can get a good night’s sleep and start each day with fresh intentions. Minimize brain clutter and maximize your potential for awesomeness. It’s just how it goes.

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minimalist, minimalism, declutter, intentional living, focused mind, goals, achieving goals, minimalist mind, minimalism and psychology, minimalist mindset

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22 COMMENTS

  1. jacqueline garcia | 14th Nov 17

    what such a great post ! (:

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 14th Nov 17

      Thanks so much! Have a great day!

  2. Gloria Harvley | 14th Nov 17

    More people should read this! It’s so hard to let go of our thought process sometimes to be MORE than we can do actually do. We try to be Superwoman without realizing that we already are. Definitely going to use this as a reminder to let more things go.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 14th Nov 17

      Exactly. I’m glad I’m not the only guilty one. Let it go.

  3. Erika | 14th Nov 17

    First of all, I love the GIF from Pitch Perfect and second, this is something I meant to dive whole heartedly into this year but only made baby steps. This is my top priority for 2018. Happy mind = happy life.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Nov 17

      Haha Thanks Erika. You have totally got this, I have no doubt! 2018 will be your year…until 2019, of course!

  4. Donyell | 15th Nov 17

    This is a great post to read before starting the new year! Definitely sharing this!!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Nov 17

      Great! So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day and a super amazing (peaceful) new year!

  5. Kim | 15th Nov 17

    I needed to read all of that about expectations! Oh man that spoke to my soul. Thanks for sharing this. I’m pretty minimalist when it comes to my stuff, but clutter can come in MANY forms.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Nov 17

      I absolutely can! I’m glad you found it helpful. We all need these little reminders sometimes!

  6. Ngumabi | 15th Nov 17

    This post has made me understand better the need to minimize
    I used to think that it all about living on a few things and this made me fear minimalism
    Thanks for this

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Nov 17

      Yes. People can definitely take it that far, but really, it’s just about living a little bit more simply.

  7. Oh to Be a Muse | 15th Nov 17

    I can definitely relate to the full schedule hard pass. I sometimes have days of the week that seem way more jam-packed than other days. But every time I read the word “downsizing” in this post it reminds me of the new Matt Damon movie coming out. Have you seen previews for it? It’s all about downsizing in a funny way.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Nov 17

      Oh man! I will be Googling that right now!

  8. Tom | 15th Nov 17

    I can relate to every point, a great read!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Nov 17

      Thanks so much Tom. Have a great day!

  9. Holly | 15th Nov 17

    This is a great post! Expectations would def be the hardest one for me to give up. I put so much pressure on myself which causes stress and anxiety. Especially during this busy holiday season! I need to let some of it go.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Nov 17

      Yes! Let it go!! I used to be/kind am the same way. I’m working on it. Hope you can too because you are already awesome! Whoop whoop!

  10. jill conyers | 16th Nov 17

    My husband have been working on minimizing life over the past year. The next step is right-sizing to a new home. Following your Pinterest board 🙂

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 16th Nov 17

      That is so exciting! It has been a little over a year since we “right sized” (I like that!) and life has seriously taken off. Good luck to you as you head toward your next phase!

  11. Luci | 16th Nov 17

    I have been meaning to minimalize for a long time but I can’t find the time to do so.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 16th Nov 17

      I dream of a job where I can declutter people’s houses for them. Haha. Hope you can make some time soon!

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