There are only two days in the year when nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow.
– Dalai Lama
For many years, I wrote a list of New Years Resolutions every December. For many years, I failed to stick to them. The same thing happened every time: I’d look at the past year’s list, realize I hadn’t done any of that, make a new list, promise myself I’d stick with it this time, and fail to do so again. One year, I even made a spreadsheet to track my progress, week by week. One of the things on my list was to let go of something unpleasant that had happened the year before. It took me a while to realize that it was impossible to ‘let go’ of anything if I kept looking at a spreadsheet row that remind me of it.
This year, I only have one resolution. Well… two of them, but they’re a package deal:
Minimalism can support both these goals. Between letting go of busy-ness, which I’ve been conditioned to since early childhood, and getting in touch with what I truly need and value, it’s already improved my life. I’m eager to see what else it can do for me in 2019.
If you’re on the fence about embracing a minimalist lifestyle, here’s five things that might help you make up your mind.
1. You save money.
Obvious, right? Buy less stuff, have more money. No more buying stuff on auto-pilot because it’s on sale or you might need it someday (pro tip: “someday” never comes).
But the true beauty of minimalism is knowing that when you do buy something, it’s something you really wanted and can wholeheartedly enjoy.
2. You save time.
The more stuff you have, the more time you spend using, maintaining and organizing it. Discarding it will reveal a whole new outlook on life. Fumio Sasaki describes this beautifully in his book, Goodbye, Things:
Because I don’t own very much, I have the luxury of time. I can enjoy the simplicity of my daily life without feeling stressed or overwhelmed. That useless pride has disappeared.
Whether you compost, donate, recycle or simply throw something away, even the simple act of removing something from your possession takes time you could spend doing something else. The good news is that you only need to do it once, after which you can simply be conscious before buying more things that you don’t need.
3. You free your mind.
Clutter takes up more than just physical space. The effort of ignoring it, whether you’re aware of it or not, uses valuable mental energy, and you only have a limited amount of it. A messy desk or a floor that’s covered in clothes and magazines can hamper your productivity, decrease concentration and tire you out.
Besides, with less stuff, there’ll also be fewer things to remember. Did you ever use that sauce that expired last week? Did you air the second batch of laundry yet? How do you clean this handmade wicker basket again? Get ready to say goodbye to all of that.
4. It’s kind to the environment.
Less stuff bought means less packaging and a smaller carbon footprint (shipping things across large distances is damaging in more ways than one). With the natural inclination towards sturdy, durable things that minimalism brings, you’ll also throw away fewer things that will need to be dumped in a landfill or recycled.
5. It’s kind to you.
Minimalism encourages you to embrace a simpler life by taking away many of the faux decisions that bog down your day. It quiets your mind so the authentic voice of you, that small, still voice that comes from within, can finally break through. Listen to it and you’ll know what you need, whether it’s a major life change that’s been a long time coming or a weekend of pampering and and self-care.
There are a myriad and one books out there on knowing yourself, but there’s really only one thing that you need to do: get rid of everything that’s in the way.
I hope this article helps you in your journey. Good luck!