I was thinking the other day on how my habits have shifted with my pursuit towards a minimalist lifestyle. For one, I realize how much more mindful I am when contemplating new purchases, and I also try to be mindful of how I spend my time.
Not all my habits would I consider minimalist, of course. But, some of them definitely are corner stones in that respect. When come to think of it, isn’t these the habits that makes the lifestyle? I was wondering what other habits I keep that I would consider minimalist, so I decided to make a list.
I found six habits I keep that are essential to my minimalist lifestyle:
1. Making time
A simple life for me, means to make time. It means to pause in my busy life for moments to breathe. Therefore, in my pursuit of a simpler life, I make sure to make time; time in the morning for breakfast and coffee had with the one I love; time during my day for practicing my guitar playing; time on the floor to spend with my two house bunnies; time by myself to regain center and calm; time in my months to meet friends and make memories.
In a world that champions the busy, it can be easy to forget that time is something we need to make and take. If we are too busy for the things that matter, we need to re-evaluate our schedules and make time. For what matters. If we do not consciously make time, we won’t have it and we’ll run out of it.
2. Evaluating my purchases
Having spent much time purging and minimizing, the last thing I want is to accumulate new things and bring additional clutter into my house. But, like anyone, I do get carried away sometimes with stuff I think I need or want. Often, these are things I think will make my life easier or better.
I’ll admit in a heartbeat that it’s easy to fall into old habits of purchasing stuff before taking the time to think about it. Yet, the practice of evaluating my purchases is a staple habit in my journey towards a simple life.
Therefore, I make a conscious choice to evaluate my purchases before I take action to buy. Do I have something in my home that already do what this new purchase does? Is my desire for this item a want or a need? And, if I want it more than I need, can I justify buying it? If I buy it, can I get rid of something that I already own as a compromise? The answer to these questions will determine whether I proceed with the purchase or not.
3. Evaluating my belongings
Even with the evaluation of each new purchase, belongings usually have sneaky way of accumulating. It’s life, after all. And, even if I needed something once and bought it, some months or years later this same object might not serve the same purpose anymore. That’s why evaluating my belongings from time to time, like I evaluate my purchases, is an essential habit for me. This way, I can take inventory and see if something takes up space in my cabinets or drawers without being used and see if it can be donated, recycled or trashed. This habit keeps me on the straight and narrow to only hold on to stuff that has value to me.
If last year’s favorite sweater, for example, keeps staying tucked away in the closet, I might hold on to it for one more season. If it still doesn’t get any wear, it must go.
4. Building a capsule wardrobe
The curation of a “high quality, less items” kind of wardrobe is perhaps one of my biggest minimalist pursuits. For me, however, it might also be the hardest to accomplish. Not in terms of it being hard in a theoretic manner, but rather, hard in terms of practicality.
There are at least two factors that play a part here – namely time and money. Swapping out clothing items “before their time”, as it were, can feel wasteful. And, when finally deciding to replace a couple of pieces with better quality ones, there’s the question of budget.
The collection of quality pieces for the wardrobe can be quite the expense. That’s why, in the creation of my minimalist wardrobe, I know to take my time and not push forward too quickly. For each old piece that goes, and for each new piece that gets added, I know that I’m one step closer to my well-curated wardrobe. And, I also know that as I’m getting there, my modest wardrobe will serve me much better than an oversized, poorly planned wardrobe ever did.
5. Appreciating the journey
Minimalism is a journey, not a destination, they say. That’s why I make a point of appreciating the journey to where I’m heading. Not only my minimalist journey, but my journey in general. ‘Appreciating the journey’, means to me to stop the striving. I don’t mean that we should not have ambitions for ourselves, of course we should. But, always striving for the next big thing makes us miss out on life right now, which for all intents and purposes are all we ever actually have.
Each step we take towards a goal is a necessary part of the process. And, to cherish and appreciate each of these steps instead of beating ourselves up for not being further along, is much more productive.
6. Learning to let go
Letting go of belongings is one thing. Letting go of mental clutter and overload is another thing. The latter can feel even harder, but can be even more beneficial if we manage to make it happen. With this habit, I make a point to practice letting go of negativity and negative thoughts. Most of the time, I find that mental clutter is a product of overthinking and worrying, which often are negatively loaded.
Thinking about something is good practice. Overthinking, not so much. Being cautions and mindful are good habits. Worrying, not so much. Learning to let go of overthinking and worrying about things we can’t control, can be a valuable habit on the road to a simpler, more mindful life.
What habits do you keep in terms of creating a simpler, more mindful way of life? I’d love to read about it in the comments.