Minimalism isn’t about having 100 items or less.
It’s not about white walls or modern furniture.
And it’s not about extreme living or deprivation.
It’s about reducing and removing all of the clutter from our lives, be it physical, mental, emotional, or time-related, so that we can really focus on what’s important.
Minimalism is about happiness.
This year I am striving for less, and intentionally moving my family towards a more minimalist lifestyle.
Every month, I’ve been sharing my progress and goals for the next month, for my own accountability but also to spark conversation and see if anything I’m working on in my life inspires you.
Today, I want to talk about the ultimate goal of minimalism: to live a life you love.
What does it mean to live a life you love?
It means that at any given moment, you are either doing something you love or doing something that will enable you to do something you love.
It means that you aren’t constantly managing or making do.
You won’t find yourself doing the same tasks over and over again wondering what purpose they serve. Everything either has a purpose or makes you happy.
It’s simple really. Minimalism is about doing what is necessary to streamline our lives to just what makes us happy and what is necessary, both of which will look different for everyone. Every single thing that you own or do can be evaluated with those two criteria:
- Does it make me/us happy?
- Does it serve a necessary purpose, or contribute to something that makes me/us happy?
Sometimes, activities will take some thought to really decide where they fall. For example, maybe your partner or friend really enjoy it when you do something with them that they like, but you really don’t enjoy the activity — an action movie, board games, rollerblading, etc. This activity doesn’t serve a necessary purpose, and it doesn’t make you happy, but it serves the greater purpose of contributing to the health of your relationship and makes your partner happy.
We all need to find the balance of boundaries and prioritizing ourselves, and of being generous and considerate that is right for us. It’s a very personal decision to decide how much of ourselves to give to our family’s collective happiness, because there are the extremes of being selfish and having too many personal boundaries, and of being too giving of ourselves and becoming self-sacrificing martyrs.
For the next month, I want to do my best to be aware of my choices and actions, and constantly evaluate, “does this make me happy or what purpose does it serve?” I want to start eliminating the things that do neither, and then start looking at how those “necessary evils” can be streamlined or modified to make life more enjoyable.
Personally, I’m not going to spend the money on having someone clean my home because I’d rather put that money towards having a fun experience with my daughter, or put it in our travel savings. But, I also value my time and want to streamline the cleaning process so that I am both enjoying something about the experience (perhaps listening to an audio book or music) and making the work as quick and efficient as possible.
I’ll share with you next month what activities we’ve managed to reduce, remove, or make more enjoyable — and how!
I’m also going to continue to purge my possessions as I see the need. Just last night, I went back through my closet and found six more shirts and two dresses to donate.
I think minimalism is a constant striving. As with most lifestyles, you have to re-evaluate every once in a while and tweak your methods or catch yourself where you’ve been slacking off. I feel lighter this month and I know that we’ve already come a long way, so I’m really excited where this takes us.
I’ve curated a beautiful collection of items that can serve as reminders to “Live the life you love” here, but an alternative could be framing a special picture or momento from a favourite family memory — anything that you will see or touch often that will specifically serve to remind you to live intentionally.
I’ve also made this free printable for you: