Lifestyle

Minimalism – How I Found Joy Living With Less

By La Shell Reid Hoilett

Minimalism

Those who know me can tell you I love love LOVE garage sales. I live for vintage and craft markets and anything that falls into the knick knack category (scented candles, incense sticks, random jars…the works). In my late teens and early 20s, I had so much junk and it was everywhere. My bedroom walls were bursting with stuff. Many of these things I could only wear or use once (that sky high purple shoe) then they would never see the light of day again.

When I moved out at 24, I just couldn’t take all that stuff with me, and so my life of minimalism began. Very soon my concept of things and the acquiring of it began to change. I quickly realized that things do not equate to happiness. That the more things you own does not guarantee or generate contentment. Actually, quite the opposite.

Later on in my 20s I was introduced to Buddhism which explained the concept of attachment and how we as people get attached to things, ideas and people. This concept indicates that when you are attached to things, you will never be satisfied. You are either unhappy because you don’t have what you want, or you are unhappy because you have it and can’t fathom losing it (think of that diamond engagement ring or that iPhone).

This in turn gives us a sense of deep insatiable emptiness which needs constant filling. The more we have, the more we want. But who can blame us? The hyper consumerism that is encouraged and shoved at us is insane and continues to get worse. Society (us) says in a lot of ways that the more you have, the better off and happier you are. We are programmed to believe that we need the big (full of random stuff) house, the fancy car, the expensive vacations, because every where we turn, there is someone or something telling us that this is life.

 

Minimalism - How I Found Joy Living With Less

I totally get it. The massive sales, the fast fashion phenomena, the YouTube and Instagram influencers telling you to buy buy buy. We just can’t comprehend minimalistic living; a fulfilling life with less stuff.

Living minimally suggest different things to different people. There is no right or wrong way to live minimally as it is a deeply personal task. The general focus is choosing to get the most out of life with less. Some people change their entire lives by dropping everything they own and move to the most rural location with only the absolute necessities whereas others simply address their living space. For me, I stopped spending unnecessarily on things I didn’t need. I stopped partaking in fast fashion, flash sales and so on, and bought only what I considered valuable. This sometimes cost me alot initially, but I saves so much more in the long run.

But what have I learned through years of living this way? I mean, I still have scented candles on every surface, Buddha statues in every room, books on every table. So what exactly does minimal living mean to me? How have I found joy living minimally? Here’s how:

 Less desire

The less I desired, the less time, energy and money I wasted on things I didn’t need. I no longer feel the strong compulsion to always have more because what I do have is highly valuable to me and I am satisfied. Yes there are still things I need to address (that wardrobe and bookshelf for sure) but my main goal is not acquiring excessive stuff. I purchase good quality items which serves its purpose sufficiently and lasts me a long time. I now have room to pursue other things that are beyond physical possessions. It puts me in a better place (financially, mentally, emotionally) as I am not consistently preoccupied with having more in order to BE more.

Decluttering

You can’t get away from it. When you sit down to declutter, you can find purpose (in your mind) for every single item. Hence, many times, not getting rid of anything at all. We pack them up and move them under the bed or on top of the wardrobe or in the garage. It takes alot of retrospection to get rid of things.

To move forward in your new way of thinking, you need to ask yourself some serious questions. Questions that rang in my mind were, why do I keep buying all this stuff? Why do what other people have influence the type of consumer I am? Why do I believe that this is what life is about? These are not easy questions to answer and it involves admitting and accepting some uncomfortable truths about ourselves. This revelation is absolutely necessary though, because if we don’t understand and embrace this lifestyle and see ourselves in it, we will only continue to perpetuate destructive habits.

Minimalism - How I Found Joy Living With Less

Recognizing you’re still living

Whenever I thought of minimalism I thought of the extreme. For me, this is not what it’s about. Remember this is a very personal journey to those living it. For our household it means that we will be responsible consumers, who do as little damage to the environment as possible while cherishing and appreciating the things we already own and that which we acquire in the future. This means that we still have a nicely decorated apartment, still own a car, still indulge in nice vacations; but it also means we eliminate things in other areas we don’t consider important or valuable to us. There are many resources online, even books that can help steer you in a direction of learning how to be happy while living with less.

Being contented and investing in what truly makes us happy should be the end goal. It surely is mine. I treasure moments and experiences more than I do of material things. Thinking about my new refrigerator never brought a smile on my face such as the one when remembering eating ice cream with my nieces and nephew.

When I get old and grey, my experiences and memories are what will make me reminiscent of a life well lived, not acquiring a pair of diamond earnings.

In the end, we should ask ourselves this. When we’re broken hearted, when we’ve lost a loved one, when we lose our jobs, when illness strikes us; does the money or the extra car embrace us and comfort us? No. Our friends and family do. Living simply enables us to grow in so many ways. It gives us the opportunity to reach a place where we can understand the importance of maintaining healthy relationships while seeing clearly, our life’s purpose.

 

What do you think of minimalism? Do you think you can live as a minimalist? Are you already one? Share with us!

Thanks for stopping by!

Oh! and P.S Simple Joys and Apartment Hunting – What Every First Time Renter Should Know.

(Photos by Stocksnap & Pexels)




  Comments: 54

54 responses to “Minimalism – How I Found Joy Living With Less”

  1. robin rue says:

    I look at my house sometimes and get so overwhelmed by the clutter. My husband said the house looks “lived in”, but one of these days I want to actually do something about it.

  2. I couldn’t be a minimalist. But I do hate clutter. I think that everything we have in our home serves as a purpose right now. However, I do go through and toss out from time to time when things get a little too much.

  3. Jaye Shields says:

    I’m usually the type of person that holds onto everything nostalgic and I LOVE stuff on my walls. But I’m about to move onto a boat where everything on it has a purpose. So I guess I’m about to find out if I can live with less 😉

  4. Yolanda says:

    I’m reading more and more on minimalism and it’s really opening my eyes up to rethinking my home and how I live. I agree with you regarding consumerism and how it can take over. Also, I don’t necessarily follow feng shui – but I feel it also links closely to minimalism… When there is too much around and not in the right place it’s stressful!

  5. Jeanine says:

    Organzing and decluttering is good to get your house tidy and neat and also get rid of things you no longer need, use or want.

  6. I am a hoarder, collector and I don’t like to throw anything away. My house also is cluttered and lived in but I wish I could fix it. Your uncluttered life seems better, so it is something to strive for

  7. Marilyn says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this concept. Love that you included the buddhism philosophy. It’s definitely true that we as humans become attached to things that cause us to not be able to fathom losing them. We are in a slow state of minimalizing our space as well! Wish us luck. :-/

  8. My husband and I don’t actively practice minimalism, but we have two completely empty rooms that do not bother us in the slightest, so there’s obviously a big part of us that just doesn’t care about stuff. We always say we’d rather spend our money on experiences than things.

  9. Erica M says:

    I don’t think of myself as a minimalist. But I’ve moved around so much in my life. And every time I move, I have to throw things out since it doesn’t make sense to move what I’m not using. And sometimes things just get lost in the move. So I don’t have a lot of stuff from years back. But I could probably cut down in other ways. I have quite a few things I’ll never use again but are just sitting on shelves…in case.

  10. Pam says:

    I totally agree with your minimalist ideas and you’re right- there is always sometone telling us that more is better and to buy buy buy! I can see it in my children now. They are happier if they get a toy at the amusement park, rather than just being happy to be there and we’ve explained to them (and each time before we go anytwhere) that the experience and memory will last forever and means more than the cheap toy.

  11. Karen Morse says:

    This is so nice! I think it’s good to declutter and we do that every time we’re about to welcome a new season. Less is always best for me and my husband and I just like seeing the house so clean, it allows me to relax better. I totally wouldn’t call it extreme as it really helps make your life easier.

  12. Cassie says:

    I have read a lot about the minimalist movement and watched the documentary on netflix awhile ago. I’ve been trying to do this for years now although not really calling it anything. Just decluttering and thinking about what i actually need

  13. I’mm constantly going through the process of decluttering. I guess as I get older with age, the wiser I am about the things/people who take up space.

  14. I am tired of my possessions, in a way that truly surprises me. I had placed a lot of value on where I live, what I own and other material things. I am just not finding satisfaction in them like I used to.

  15. Kitty says:

    I totally agree with you.. I need to declutter the stuff I don’t use and start being a minimalist 😀

  16. marge says:

    What a great piece!! I struggle with living minimalistically while my husband is a total shopaholic. We recently moved and it was very therapeutic to eliminate a TON that we just don’t need. With the new house I am definitely trying to maintain that minimalist feel…we will see how that goes.

  17. Adrienne says:

    La Shell, this is spot on! Like Marge, my husband is a clutterbug and it’s so tough to keep things minimal. It really does completely impact your flow.

    I get it – it’s tough. Especially as you start having kids – the art work is seemingly neverending.

    Thanks again, La Shell, for taking the time to provide this inspirational piece. Just pinned and and followed you. Looking forward to your pieces!

  18. Jess says:

    this is beautifully written and makes a lot of sense. Nice post.

    Have you heard of’ the story of stuff projec’t on facebook? It might be worth having a look and they may be interested in sharing this post.

    https://www.facebook.com/storyofstuff/

  19. You are right there is more than one definition when it comes to minimalist living. I definitely need to de-clutter but I completely get what you mean by never being wholly satisfied as we are constantly buying into hyper-consumerism x

  20. Antonia says:

    Minimalism is such a good practice. I’m trying to get more into it but it is a little difficult. I started when our house flooded earlier this year and realized how devastated I was over it even though it was only a house! Been trying to remember the bigger picture, so thank you for a wonderful post!

  21. Nicola says:

    We spent 4 months living the simple life while we waited for our house was being built. Four of us and the dog in a small caravan. Whilst it was only temporary and I really didn’t enjoy it too much it did make me appreciate the things I have a lot more. The most interesting thing was how little the children needed to entertain themselves…they had very few toys and really didn’t miss them at all!

  22. Aish Das-Padihari says:

    On many levels I’m a minimalist as well. I don’t like clutter at all. I can live with lots of empty space than crowding the place with junk.

  23. Amber Nelson says:

    You definitely can live with less. Having more “stuff” doesn’t bring us joy. Great post!

  24. Dee says:

    A wise man said: You think you have to want more than you need until you’ll have it all you won’t be free.(Society.Eddie Vedder) I believe that less is more.

  25. In the past few years, I’ve felt the urge to reduce the amount of stuff I own and consume. There really isn’t a need to have so much stuff. I would rather have experiences than things.

  26. A lot of people are skeptical about living as a minimalist! I think it’s awesome that you’re sharing your experience with us. It would be better to just live a simple life.

  27. Shoshana Sue says:

    I would like to call myself a minimalist and with pride because I seriously envy the lifestyle. Deep down inside I am one, I just need to learn to let go of all my stuff and then I will brag!

  28. Jenny says:

    That is awesome! I know it must’ve been hard at first , but that sounds amazing! I’m working on this now and it’s super hard .

  29. Yes I def need to declutter, I like to hold on to memories so a tiny bit of a hoarder.

  30. Tidy house = Tidy mind. (Drops mic). Minimalism with personality is key. Lovely article!

  31. Maraya Bell says:

    I Konmaried my house at Christmas and I love it. I’m trying to live a clutter free life and focus my $ on travel rather than stuff. Sadly all my children seem to be hoarders so it’s an ongoing battle!

  32. SamiJoie says:

    So beautiful and spacious! I’m trying to incorporate minimalism in my life little by little since having too much def clutters my mind!

  33. Minimalism is such a great thing. I am a total minimalist and it has changed my life! Life is so much more simple when you have less.

  34. Tiffany says:

    I love the idea of minimalism although it’s something I struggle to attain. But I think what I enjoyed most about this post is section about doing away with the idea of attachment to things and individuals. It breeds disappointment and I for one would like to focus on relinquishing that practice in my own life. Great post!!

  35. Brittany says:

    We have moved around quite a bit and it’s forced us to become minimalists. I will definitely say it feels way better to just let stuff go.

  36. Clair says:

    Love this! I haven’t tried to live completely as a minimalist, but have had a somewhat minimalist experience…our house flooded in the historic 2016 Lousiana flood last August and we pretty much lost everything. After going through that, I learned that things are just things. We can live without all of it, and it’s our family who is truly the most important ❤️

  37. Claudia Camargo says:

    I love this idea but every time I try it I fail miserably 🙁

  38. Amanda says:

    I’ve been toying with minimalism for awhile. Time to pull the trigger!

  39. Kathy Wright says:

    I love the look! It’s the practice where my family gets stuck! Slowly I strive for less is more!
    Thanks for the post. It is lovely!

  40. Sharon John says:

    Around the age of 50, I decided that I didn’t really care about the physical number of things I owned, but rather about my attitude, surroundings, sustainability, and simple living, and life became so joyous and stress-less. Oh happy day!

  41. I’ve been trying to learn to live with less. I really don’t like clutter so I’ve started with cleaning out room by room in my home and getting rid of things that aren’t truly necessary.

  42. I just read an article from a young woman who purged almost all her possessions before making a big move. It seems more people are finding joy with less lately.

  43. […] ~ Have you checked out my post on Minimalism […]

  44. Taylor Fiske says:

    Ha, I think you already know I couldn’t be a minimalist! But I did just purge a bunch of clothes/kitchen wear that I no longer use, and it did really make me feel better to be donating it, and freeing some extra space! Enjoyed reading your story!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *