THE STRUGGLES OF STARTING A MINIMAL LIFESTYLE + HOW TO PUSH THROUGH
Minimalism has really picked up speed in recent years, and I am so thrilled when anyone I know shoots me an email or message picking my brain about how they can take their life back and let it all go.
As appealing as it sounds, starting a minimalist lifestyle can cultivate several issues in regards to breaking the habits of your upbringing. You can relate it to people you may know that grew up with nothing as a child, and in adulthood they now have everything plus more as an act of overcompensating for what they ‘missed out on’. The materialistic items make up for the absent items they never had. This can also hinder relationships, such as a marriage, if you and your spouse are on different pages about this lifestyle change.
Luckily, we no longer have to partake in that lifestyle. I am here to encourage all of you reading this to look around your life, all aspects of it, and see how much stress and anxiety you can attribute to excess clutter and ‘things’.
Our journey to minimalism was hands down the greatest thing that we could have ever done for our family. Was everyone on board at the beginning? Absolutely not. Is everyone on board present day? Absolutely not. HOWEVER, this is our life to live, not theirs. At the end of the day you have to make a conscious decision on how you want to move forward with your own personal journey to minimalism. You have to put yourself, your mentality, your family, and your home first.
Today I wanted to touch base on a few struggles someone might encounter at the beginning of their journey to minimalism. As a minimalist, I hope you can avoid a majority, if not all, however like I stated above, everyone has their own opinions towards minimalism but it’s up to you how to handle those. Over consumption is a toxic way of living that hinders your ability to live a freeing lifestyle. It’s a huge weight sitting on your shoulders patiently waiting for you to give in and want and need all the things. You don’t. You don’t need all the things. Trust me on that.
Getting your spouse on board. When you and your partner aren’t seeing eye to eye on living a minimal lifestyle it can create a huge barrier between your emotions. As someone who has had this conversation before, I want you to know that I understand the strong force pushing you to let it all go. Make sure you approach the conversation in a way that allows your spouse to not so much feel ‘forced’ to participate in this new lifestyle, but rather list the positive changes that migrating towards a more minimal lifestyle can create for your lives. You don’t have to go all in full force, you can prioritize and start small. As long as you START, you’re already being successful.
Feeling regretful when getting rid of items that we’re gifted to you. This could potentially be a huge struggle emotionally, but I want you to remind yourself of one thing when beginning your minimal lifestyle. You can either continue living in the past and make no significant change, or you can progress and move forward and change the future. Getting rid of gifted items can no doubt be awkward, especially if said item is ‘missing’ if that individual happens to drop by your home. My number one question to myself (more so at the very beginning of my journey to minimalism) was how often are you using this item? Does this item bring any value to your life? If it serves no purpose, it’s not needed.
Maintaining a healthy ability of self control. Just because you’re starting a minimal lifestyle, doesn’t automatically mean you’ll never step foot in a store again. HOWEVER, what you have to be adamant about in regards to control, is asking yourself WHY you would need something, HOW it would help improve your life, WOULD you use it on a daily basis. It’s a learning curve, but you have to recognize that shopping in general cannot be your emotional stress release. Not only are you hindering your bank account, but you’re crowding your mind and home. Materialistic items have no value or worth in the grand scheme of things.
Parenthood. Enough said. Raising children in this day and age is a daunting task for parents. Your children are being bombarded by friends, ads, commercials, and the ‘social norm’ of doing what everyone else is doing. PARENTS. THIS IS A WAKE UP CALL. The less your children have, the HAPPIER they will be. I PROMISE. I hate to word it this way, because it can come off as ‘lazy’ to the majority, but LOWER YOUR CHILDREN’S EXPECTATIONS in life. Lower the bar. By caving into the ‘norm’, you’re consenting to a never ending contract to give your children whatever their little hearts desire. You’re not raising thankful, grateful or giving children, your raising self entitled, possessive, materialistic kids that don’t have enough appreciation for how those things got in their hands to begin with. My children have a container of 3000 legos in their room. They will play with them for HOURS. They use their imagination to create new things every.single.time. They’re not deprived, they’re not resentful for what they ‘don’t have’. They’re simply being kids, enjoying what is in front of them.
Not being able to let something go because of your emotional attachment to it. Separate the attachments you have to your ‘things’, and your entire life will change. Just because a memory is linked to an object, does not mean you have to take it to the grave with you. If it’s collecting dust on the back of the shelf, or in a cabinet, why are you holding onto it? Ask yourself WHY you need this. If you can come up with TWO solid reasons, keep it. However, I don’t think you’ll be able to come up with two good enough to not part ways.
Getting rid of items that you are fearful of not being able to replace if need be. This one is a no brainer for me. If you have not used the item/object on a daily basis let.it.go. Don’t keep things for a ‘what if’ situation. Don’t let consumerism convince you that you cannot and do not deserve a freeing lifestyle. This goes hand in hand with the above and getting rid of sentimental items. You might struggle at first with not having as much to choose from, but in the bigger picture, you’ll 100% appreciate the freedom you’re experiencing over the clutter.
All of the struggles listed above are completely normal to experience during your journey to minimalism. Addressing and facing those struggles is half the battle of starting this journey to minimalism on the right foot, SO KUDOS TO YOU. You get a virtual pat on the back for making it this far! Your stress, anxiety, and overall unhappiness has finally lost, is being addressed, and is no longer winning. You’ve finally reached the point in your life where you’re tired of facing clutter on a daily basis. Exhausted from cleaning up all the things you convinced yourself at one time that you need. You are no longer going to allow others to contribute to the over consumerism you once faced in your life. You’re taking control and that my friend is a huge accomplishment.
What you’re experiencing now will only transpire to those around you. You are allowing yourself to live a lifestyle that is unmatched by any item inside a store. The more your life changes, the more others will notice, the more others will want the details, the more you can spread the same freeing lifestyle you’re now living on a daily basis with them. Continue to set the example, set the bar, set the standard for your life.
Here is a short list of questions that can help you begin your minimal lifestyle. Purging can be the hardest hurdle to get over, as I briefly mentioned in our journey to minimalism post. When discarding items and facing the struggles of actually moving forward ask yourself the following:
Do you use this on a daily basis? If not a daily basis, a weekly basis?
Will this item replace something else eventually? If not why do you have it?
There are so many ways you can justify holding on to something. It’s a normal way to rationalize when you’re in the purging state of becoming a minimalist. However, realistic justifications are just another way to hold you in place, and never allow you to move forward and progress. Think of all the positive things that can come from minimalism. It personally helped us pay off our debt! NOW THAT speaks VOLUMES if you’re struggling with any form of debt, big or small.
What it comes down to is, it’s never ever too late to start new habits and break old ones. You have every right to live a lifestyle you feel like pursuing. If you’re reading this today and are stuck on the fence about becoming a minimalist drop me a DM on our Instagram, or leave a comment below! You can shoot us an email! There are so many ways to contact us, and we would love to help offer advice we have personally experienced in this lifestyle. Be mindful moving forward and your life will forever be changed. It’s all about your mentality.
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading the struggles of starting a minimal lifestyle, and how to push through them. You’re not alone in this journey! We would love you to share this post, and pin the photo below. Share it with friends or family that may not be fully listening to what you’re telling them.