Five Ways Minimalism has Affected my Thinking (ARCHIVE)
Originally posted November 6, 2016
37 items of clothing, 8 pairs of shoes, 3 bags
I have always been really sceptical of people making powerful claims that minimising your things will make you a better, happier person. However, I do feel that there has definitely been an adjustment in my state of mind since I started my minimalist journey. Here are some of the biggest changes I’ve noticed over the last year.
I’ve become a more mindful shopper. Getting rid of so many things has made me much more careful about what I purchase for my home and wardrobe. I’ve spoken before about shopping becoming a hobby. Shopping can be an enjoyable activity in itself, and in the past I would often purchase things just to get a small lift in my day. I now have a number of shopping rules that help me stay focused on getting only what I feel I need, and ignoring all the delicious distractions along the way. I’m hoping that my current shopping behaviour will help me sustain a minimal lifestyle over time.
I’ve realised that things take up time. The process of minimising has made me realise that all our belongings take up time and effort in some way. When we purchase, we spend time buying, cleaning and maintaining things. If we move, we spend time organising, packing, moving, unpacking and organising again. If we chose to declutter, we spend time sorting, travelling to charity or consignment stores or preparing listings for Ebay. Of course we all need some things, and even with more mindful shopping habits, energy is still spent acquiring things. However, I believe that having less stuff, and committing to buying only useful items of good quality will save time in the long run.
I’ve shown more care with money. Removing things from my life has reminded me of the value of money. I’ve mentioned before that I started monitoring how much I spent on clothing over the last few years. The figures only started to disturb me when I ended up getting rid of most of those items. I recovered some of the costs on Ebay and at local consignment stores, but it’s a fraction of what I spent. Now I think not twice, but three times or more, about any purchase I make.
I’ve felt an adjustment in my values. Unexpectedly, the minimising process has brought me in tune with my authentic values. There were many years in my youth where I didn’t buy a lot because I didn’t feel I needed to. I was environmentally aware and cared a lot about sustainability, which made me an even more mindful shopper. A combination of work commitments, financial security and general life happenings eroded that way of thinking over the most recent quarter of my life. It feels good to find myself aligning with those thought patterns again.
I have begun to apply minimalism to emotional aspects of life. In the same way that I have discarded physical clutter, I’ve felt a desire to remove emotional clutter. I am working on minimising negative thinking patterns, habits, and words.
While minimalism has not transformed me into a brand new person, I have definitely felt clarity, peace and comfort in my life recently. What can minimalism do for your way of thinking?