Learning How to Be a Minimalist – Accepting My Truth

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I am donating books. Books! I’m a writer; I studied literature in college; I LOVE books. I have NEVER DONATED one of my books before. N-E-V-E-R. The world must be ending. Something really bad must have occurred.

Don’t worry…everything is going to be okay. (I think.)

I have decluttered my house multiple times in my lifetime – decided what I needed; what was broken past repair; what held less sentimental value to me. I’m really sentimental. That great-aunt whose name I can’t remember whose broken broach was passed down to me by my grandma is hanging in my jewelry box simply because Grandma gave it to me. Truly, it meant something to her and now because she meant something to me, it’s supposed to mean something to me. Follow me?

I got lost in that sentence. So why am I holding on to it?

Same goes for my books. I’ve had books follow me through multiple moves, over state lines. But why? I’ve never…and I mean NEVER…read a book more than once. So if I’ve read it, why am I still holding on?

In recent history, I’ve discovered I just need to let go of things that no longer serve me. No matter how much something, someone, or some idea has meant to me in the past, it’s better to let it go sometimes. In a previous post, “Learning to Let Go,” I discussed how hard this can be.

But right now I’m ready to let go of physical things in my life. So I’ve declared myself a minimalist.

What is a minimalist?

According to Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, two men helping others discover where minimalism can take a person, minimalism is:

A tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.

Translation: less is more.

This has been my writing mantra since my first college-level composition course. And it can work in many facets in life. With less, we can encounter more time, more experiences, more meaningful connections, more clarity. It’s trading in the ‘more’ collecting dust for the ‘more’ that offers growth in one’s life purpose.

In Donald Miller’s book, “Building A Story Brand,” he discusses making less noise in marketing to offer costumers music instead. What if we applied this to our life? Noise is chaotic, confusing, and hard to read clearly. But music is pleasant, organized, and serves a purpose.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

I’m discovering things like I had three black dresses in my closet. I only wear a black dress for funerals and perhaps a charity event. So I don’t need three. I need one. How many spatulas, pens, notebooks, screwdrivers, purses, and coffee mugs can one person have? Starting now: much less in this house.

It’s a work in progress. I live with four munchkin roommates (my children) who accumulate stuff faster than I can move it out. From papers to shoes to toys to clothes – it’s a lot. But I’ve moved through things and even recruited my daughters to help in this process. Because it’s not just me who should understand that stuff is just stuff. And with less stuff, I can spend more time connecting with people and experiencing life because that is truly the good stuff.

You don’t have to empty cupboards or closets, but don’t be afraid to make music amidst all the noise in this world.

To learn more about becoming a minimalist, visit the resources below.