Minimalism could be stark, empty, and lonely. Minimalism could mean white walls, empty drawers, and a blank calendar.
If that scares you and makes you want to be surrounded by stuff, be comforted by the fact that minimalism is not like that at all. Or at least it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it doesn’t have to be like anything you’ve seen before. Pictures on Instagram or Pinterest and even blog posts that demonstrate the benefits of living with less only capture a tiny moment in time, a glimpse of a life. The real truth about minimalism and simplicity is that it is different for everyone.
Minimalism as a lifestyle looks different for everyone, but we can all experiment with minimalism similarly. Boundaries and challenges allow you to test the waters and find the sweet spot. It’s important to find the sweet spot between everything and nothing that works best in your life. That sweet spot will change depending on who you are, where you live, who lives with you and what is most important to you.
If your life is on auto-pilot and you want to shake things up, try a minimalist experiment.
Challenge yourself with …
The 100 Thing Challenge
I started Dave Bruno’s 100 Thing Challenge last summer and it’s really helped me to see how little I really need. Even with just 100, I use 20% of my stuff 80% of the time.
The Reverse 100 Thing Challenge
If you are just starting your downsizing journey and living with only 100 things seems extreme, give away 100 items.
Solving your closet clutter crisis is a great way to embrace a simpler lifestyle. Get started and quickly learn that 33 items are more than enough.
A Packing Party
Accelerate your decluttering efforts and pretend you’re moving on a whim and only have one day to pack all of your stuff. Unpack things as you need them. The packing party is a great way to see what you need, what you miss and what you want to give away.
Technology Free Rooms
Digital clutter and the glow of a little screen can disrupt sleep, train of thought, and the ability to fully pay attention to people you love. Try a digital sabbatical or embrace a technology free room to see how a constant stream of information and digital connection really impacts your life and relationships.
Try one of these ideas or all of them, one at a time.
We know that he who dies with most stuff doesn’t win and I think we can safely assume that he who dies with the least amount doesn’t win either. These challenges will give you information to live a happier, healthier life, but they don’t have to become your life. Our lives cannot be a competition on either end of the spectrum, but in order to find your sweet spot, experiencing less can help.
There is something powerful about empty time and space to think and move, but you don’t need an empty home or life to experience the benefits. It might be the empty room or corner that gives you permission to downsize, or a free day on the calendar that invites you to say no more often. You need time and space to discover what is most meaningful to you. You need solitude and a break from the busy to decide how you really want to spend your time.
When you carve out the time and space you so desperately need, you can live less reactively and more intentionally.
Use minimalism to experience nothing, because it’s there … in the silence, in the empty, in the blank, that everything is revealed.