I want to start off this post by saying, I am not a minimalist. I own a lot of stuff and enjoy several hobbies, meaning I do like having these items around. That being said, over the past three or so years, I have started to enjoy living with a significantly smaller number of items in my life and not bringing as many new items into my life on a regular basis. It all started with of a mix of feeling like I had way too much stuff around me and seeing photos of beautiful indoor spaces on the app Pinterest, which with a mix of stumbling upon YouTube videos introducing me to the concept minimalism, prompted me to begin culling my belongings. I started off with the easy stuff, clothes that didn't fit me anymore, decor pieces I didn't like, shoes that were too worn out to wear anymore, old notebooks from high school, almost empty candles, anything that was obviously just taking up space.
One of the first benefits I noticed was having more space to move, and hula hoop, around my room. This also inadvertently made me want to hoop more because it was so much easier to do so in my room, rather than having to leave the house to find another indoor spot, since it was winter/early spring at the time. This was also around the time I graduated from college, so I could no longer just walk over to the gym after class to use one of the studio rooms. Hula hooping always makes me feel happier and healthier, so being able to it more often was a great help in getting out of that year's seasonal depression. Having less stuff in my room also meant that it was much easier to clean. If you're anything like me, you hate both cleaning and living in a dirty space. Without all the extra pieces of decor and other junk, cleaning the surfaces of my room became a much quicker process.
Another huge benefit from adopting the concept of minimalism into my life, was how much money I saved. After clearing so much stuff out of my room, I didn't just want to have it go back to being cluttered, I wanted to keep decluttering and reducing items until I got to a point were I felt like I had the right amount of stuff. So when it came to making purchases, I had to really justify it to myself, whereas before, I would just buy things because I liked and could afford them. That's how I'd end up with all those clothes and shoes I didn't really like or didn't fit me well, they were just on sale, or random makeup products that I mostly just liked the packaging of. I had so many things because I felt like if I could afford them and wanted them, why not buy them? However at that time, I had pretty much no savings and never really set any money saving goals, because I figured once I graduated college I could worry about all that anyway. Now that I was out of college, and struggling to find a higher paying job and figure out how to pay back my student loans, I needed to change my mindset. Within about six months of starting this journey, I had saved up enough to take my first ever independently-financed solo trip out of New York state, and visited California for the first time. Of course staying at my friend Carla's apartment in Los Angeles was a huge help, but that was the first time I felt like a real independent adult who could take herself places, and to a place I had dreamed of going since I was a little kid.
Taking that trip made me realize something else too, that spending my money on an experience brought me so much more joy than had I spent the same amount on buying clothes or makeup products. I then began to value experiences over buying random stuff. My mom's favorite thing to do has always been shopping. For as long as I can remember, my mom would bring my sisters and I to malls or shopping centers on the weekend. Don't get me wrong, it's great to have family time, but this habit built on me to the point where shopping became my hobby as well. And I can't help but think about all the other hobbies I could have enjoyed during my high school years if I didn't just want to go shopping all the time. A few years after my visit to LA, I decided to try and move there. And if I hadn't had this minimalist mindset at the time, it would have been so much more difficult to move all my stuff there, and then back to New York a few months later. In addition to this, I was able to save up enough money for my move, and then pay off my student loans when I got back, all within less than two years. This would not have been possible, had I still been consuming products and spending money like I had back in college.
Today, I still own a lot of stuff, but it's all stuff that I love and use. I love having hobbies, and often these hobbies need a lot of stuff, like hula hooping, performing and doing photoshoots. But I try to keep track of what I have and not buy new things unless I really feel like they will add value to my life. Like I always have, I'm still working a lot, but now I'm saving so much more money. I do currently live at home and do not own a car, have children or have any debt, so I understand that everyone's situation is different. But this doesn't mean you can't take advantage of the concept of minimalist and being more aware of what you bring into your life. There are plenty of YouTubers who have videos about getting into minimalism, I will list a few of my favorites below in case you are looking for more inspiration to declutter your life. You can also always check out the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, which has now become a show on Netflix as well. With the warm spring weather, I feel like this is the perfect time for some decluttering!
Lavendaire: Minimal Living/Meaningful Living
Rachel Aust: How You Can Become A Minimalist - 30 Day Challenge
Brittany Vasseur: How to Become a Minimalist
Christine Kobzeff: How To Stop Shopping