"Are you a minimalist?"
That is a question I am often asked when people find out that I am a professional organizer.
The most famous idea behind minimalism is that possessions weigh people down, and prevent them from doing the things they really want to do. That people get so bound up in their stuff - buying it, maintaining it, re-selling it - that it sucks the fun out of life.
Okay, you might guess that I agree with that, and I do. However, this idea can quickly get distorted and stop being helpful.
It's easy to turn this helpful idea into a strict belief system that implies that stuff is "bad." People start having a lot of shame around it. They make lists of how many possessions they own to prove how little space they can take up. This doesn't necessarily make them any more open to life - they're still fixated on their stuff.
The implication that you must live a spartan material life in order to practice minimalism keeps people from making it their own.
I'm here to tell you that minimalism isn't an exclusive lable to be used only by those who choose to live such an extreme lifestyle. It's a tool. It's a guideline meant to serve when you are making difficult choices about what to prioritize. And it's something you already practice. Here's why.
You Mostly Use the Top Layer of Stuff
My client who had a walk-in closet full with clothes has been a minimalist this whole time. How is that? She was cycling the same few outfits that she kept accessible in front of most all of the other stuff in her closet. She knew what worked for her - she just hadn't yet taken the step to actually let go of the stuff she already wasn't using. Once she became aware of this, it became easier to do that.
You Will Always Have 24 Hours in the Day
Ah, time. The great equalizer. We only have so much of it, and it's easy to lose touch with that. It can be easy to take on more plans, responsibilities, hobbies, and projects than we can realistically manage. So, we still only do what we have time to do. This can be a hard pill to swallow, and force us to make some tough choices in order to take care of ourselves and the things that are truly important to us.
Whether you have lots of clutter or not, you're still a minimalist. The question is, are you going to own up to this and take action to feel empowered in your space and in your schedule again?
When you choose to cut the cord with the dead weight, you are choosing to amplify what makes you feel alive, and this leads to untold positive momentum in your life.
Harnassing the power of minimalism isn't about the number of things in your domain - it's about you deciding for yourself what belongs there.
With Love & Gratitude,