Last week, a woman new to minimalism reached out on Facebook to ask if any minimalists lived in her area. She was beginning to purge her possessions and wanted some advice and support from others who are walking a similar path.
I responded right away and we messaged back and forth a bit. Soon a few other minimalists commented as well, and we had ourselves a minimalism coffee date planned for the weekend.
It’s so refreshing to pass along what we know to someone else who is interested in what we have to say. We can also be helped by remembering what it was like at the beginning, when everything is new and overwhelming, and offering a few kind words of support can go a long way.
I felt energized by our meet-up. It’s a wonderful thing at this time of the year, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday advertisements pounding us from all sides, followed shortly by the onslaught that is the Christmas marketing machine, to realize yet again that spending money and accumulating possessions are choices under our direct control.
In no particular order, these were some of the things we discussed at our meet-up:
We encouraged our new friend to take a good look at where she and her husband spend their money. For me, this was a wake-up call. When you know how much you are spending every month, it can help you make better choices going forward. Our goal is to have no debt other than a mortgage. We are not there yet, but we’re closer than we’ve ever been and that feels fabulous.
A big part of the minimalism lifestyle is learning to manage your schedule. No longer conforming to our culture’s obsession with being crazy busy feels awesome. We encouraged our new friend to say no to more things that don’t bring her joy or life and to work at creating space in her calendar. This is one of my favourite parts of my minimalist lifestyle.
The woman who reached out to us set aside 3 days to do nothing but purge items from her house. I applaud this effort, but I certainly didn’t have that kind of stamina when I first went through my rooms, closets, drawers and garage. I set a timer for 15 minutes per day and only tackled small, manageable areas. Sure, it took me months, but this system worked well for me.
Those of us who have been minimalists for awhile cautioned her about the maintenance it requires to keep your counters clear of clutter and your drawers from piling up with junk again. Purging once is not enough. You have to be vigilant with everything that comes into your house. I try to deal with papers and shopping right away, making sure it all has a proper place in my home, otherwise the piling up starts to snowball quickly.
Becoming a minimalist requires you to change your thinking so that your buying patterns change. Otherwise, you will just be on an endless rat wheel of consuming, purging and re-organizing. We’ve radically changed the way we buy, using lots of little tips and tricks.
Want to hear more? Come join us at a Minimalist Meet-Up or drop me a line and ask away!