Monday, 21 March 2016

The freedom of minimalism

Minimalism is freeing.

You aren't weighed down. You are free from the time and energy spent dealing with stuff, people, commitments and tasks that you don't place value on.

 

Less cleaning

I love a clean space but I HATE cleaning. I don't think I know anyone who actually likes cleaning. Sometimes (most times) its boring, tiring and dirty. And if you have kids like me, give it 12 minutes for the once clean space to no be very clean anymore. That being said, our family of 5 live in a small 2 bedroom unit. For a lot of people, that is unimaginable. For us, our small home means the messes happen really quickly but the clean up is quick too. Less clothes means items get worn longer and only go in the wash when they are ACTUALLY dirty or smelly and that means I'm doing less laundry. Yay!

More free time

I love to read but hadn't really sat down to read a good book in many years. I love to blog and I'm slowly getting back into it. I actually like to exercise and I am able to fit in about an hour of working out a week which I think is an achievement for a mother of three. As a family, we have more time to do things together and I mean beyond watching TV together. We've actually started to watch less TV and now we try to play board games and card games as often as we can. Our personal favourites are actually snakes and ladders and Uno. Sometimes it really is the simple stuff that matters the most. Even though there technically is always something to be done, wether its blog stuff, house work or uni work, I sometimes find those odd moments where I feel like doing nothing, and I don't feel guilty about it either.

 

Money is spent wisely

I used to have a shopping problem. Like many people, I bought things I really didn't need. I bought stuff for a life I wanted. Decluttering has opened my eyes on all the crap we spent our money on in the past, and I hope not to make that same mistakes. Now, we rarely go "shopping" for anything, except for groceries of course. When money does need to be spent on something we ask ourselves;

"do we really need this?"
"do we have something already that can serve the same purpose?"
"can we borrow this or get this cheaper somewhere else?"
"where are we going to put this?"
As a family we realised that we value spending time together doing something, or going somewhere rather than accumulating belongings. 

We also have goals as a family to travel. This of course means saving up. With my new job, saving up seems possible, as does paying off our huge debts.

We owe a lot of money to a lot of people. We also have student loans/ HECS to pay off and of course, there's the mortgage. Now that we are no longer passively, almost unconsciously, spending money on things that are a waste or don't hold value to us, a debt free life seems possible. Having debts has really put a strain on our family and our marriage, mentally and emotionally. Being in debt can sometimes feel like you are treading water but drowning ever so slowly. If anything, being in this financial situation has taught us patience and discipline and that we both need to set a better financial example to our children  so they don't end up in the same situation.

As a family, helping those in need, in any way we can, has always been a priority and with money spent a little wiser, we can help others more than we used to. A great article by Joshua at Becoming Minimalists, suggests a change in perspective to see that you are already wealthy and that a redefining of what wealth and contentment is, is a game changer.

Saying Yes to me (finally)

I used to be a chronic "yes" person. Chronic because I would put others needs and feelings before my own. This meant a lot of time was spent doing things and spending time with people I didn't really want to. As awful as that sounds, it gets draining. An assumption is formed that I will always be there when needed. As lovely as a that sounds, I can't be there for everyone when they need me. I am barely there for myself when I need it most.

Minimalism has allowed me to define what is important to me. With that, there is the reality that I have a finite amount of time and resource to spend and that I have to spend it wisely. It can sound a bit selfish but I think that the idea of taking care of yourself first needs to become a more normal and natural occurrence. As a women juggling many roles, I can feel it on those days where I have not nurtured myself in any way, shape or form, by the end of the day, I am usually slumped on the couch feeling like a dirty tea towel.

I was raised by the most selfless parents and though I got all my needs met, now that my parents are much older I look back and try to see what they have ever done for themselves. As noble as martyrdom is, I don't want my children to think that saying yes to others is more important than saying yes to yourself.

 

Mental clarity

Every time I load up the car with goods to donate, I come home and it immediately feels lighter and my mind feels clearer. These goods which sit around my house, unused, have the power of purpose to someone else. No one donates their goods, money or time and walks away feeling depleted. With more free time, less stuff to manage and the financial worries reduced, I find my mind not as scattered as it used to be. I used to worry a lot and multitask constantly, which was exhausting and I felt it in my overall health and well being. Mental clarity would have to be one of my favourite benefits. With three kids and a husband and a million things to remember a little clarity is a big bonus. 

The best thing about minimalism is that it is different for everyone. It brings different meanings and benefits. It manifests in many different forms. Minimalism is a spectrum and I invite you to think about letting go of some stuff, commitments and mental clutter and find some free time and mental space.

Step 97,

1 comment:

  1. I love this post and I can totally relate to a lot of things in it! I now keep my wardrobe very basic, still not watching a lot of tv (we used to live without tv for 2yrs so I think we got used to it), settled with smaller home (bcs like you said, no one likes cleaning, hahaha), and mortgage definitely had us even more careful with our spending.

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