I believe one of the most important things to think about before beginning any new change in life is the reason why you want to do it. The reason why is, after all, what keeps a person going when the going gets tough. For example, if you want to lose weight and you haven’t identified your why, then when you start to revert back to old eating habits it will be incredibly easy to just think “what’s the point” and quit altogether.
Minimalism is a unique journey for each person that embarks upon it. Life situations vary, monetary situations vary, and opinions on how things should be vary. If a person has decided that they want to become a minimalist, then that person is more than likely looking for a way to remove stress from their current situation, or they are looking for ideas on how to create a more breathable atmosphere. Then again, it may be a little of both. Whatever the case, the reason why needs to be established.
Figure Out Your Why
If you really want to begin a minimalism journey, then I recommend that you first ask yourself some basic questions. Below, I’ve written about three possible scenarios to help you begin your search for why this type of lifestyle appeals to you. Once you have that why, use it to encourage, empower, and embolden you on the path forward.
Is it just that you have a lot of stuff in your home and you need to declutter? Do you view minimalism as simply a way to clean house?
If your answer is yes, that’s ok. That is how my husband views minimalism. He uses it as a tool when necessary. He likes to pare down items when things get cramped or when he feels like a space isn’t quite how he wants it to be. For him, the why is simply to get rid of anything he currently does not want. He is not, in my opinion, a minimalist. And he doesn’t define himself as a minimalist. He just knows that minimalism often starts with the decluttering, and he likes to do that from time to time.
Maybe you have a lot that is closing in on you at home. Maybe when you walk into your house you feel as if you are suffocating. Maybe your why is not so much geared towards actual minimalism… maybe you just want to get rid of some stuff and minimalism sounds like the way. If that is your why, then use the tool in front of you. Use your view of minimalism to get you where you want to be.
Are you constantly worried about bills? Have you spent well beyond your means and left yourself in a pile of debt because of it?
If you answered yes, don’t feel bad. You are like most of America. I used to be there, too. My husband and I had to work extremely hard to become debt free, and it was not easy. Living paycheck to paycheck, always worried about how you will keep the lights on, is not pleasant.
Financial freedom, or the ambition to achieve it, is a very powerful why behind minimalism. It is a huge part of my personal why. I don’t ever want to go back to living in debt and paying multiple times over for garbage that just sits collecting dust.
If your reason why you want to become a minimalist is to help you gain control of your financial situation, then buckle up and get serious about things. This is one of the most powerful reasons why out there. Money motivates people. Not having money motivates people. The desire to have more money… it’s a serious force to be reckoned with.
Do you feel like you never have time to do what matters most? Is there always something to be cleaned or fixed or worked on? Are you so bombarded by life’s tasks that even stopping to read this blog post is stressful?
If you answered yes, slow down! If the need for time is your why on the path to minimalism, then you are like so many others out there. Be encouraged that you are not alone.
While financial freedom is a huge factor in my why, making time is equally as important. Who wants to spend their days cleaning? Not me. Of course I have to clean my house, but to do it for hours on end is just ridiculous. Who wants to be so stressed out and burdened by life that they can’t even sit down and enjoy a book or movie with their kids? That’s not something I would choose. Yet it is something that so many in our world do choose.
And you can escape that stress. Minimalism actually provides a way. By taking life back to a more simple state and reflecting on what truly matters, a person can end the constant rat race.
The above reasons are nowhere near a complete list of the reasons why people choose minimalism. I just provided three to get you thinking. The fact is, there are probably hundreds. It might start with decluttering, but it might continue on to traveling the world and enjoying a more easygoing existence.
My personal minimalism why started with the need for peace.
I felt like my house was suffocating me. I started decluttering to combat that suffocation. During the decluttering process, a friend mentioned a movie about minimalism. I watched it, and I was forever changed. I saw minimalism as my way out – out of a life that was exhausting me, out of a financial situation that was keeping me from sleep, out of an existence that was all about the things of the world rather than the Maker to whom I give all the credit.
And now… well, now minimalism is being intentional. My why has grown into never wanting to be in debt, always being present with my family, creating time for the God who made me, and living a life that is built on happiness rather than hurry.
If you’re thinking about pursuing minimalism, give yourself some time to consider your reasons. Be sure that you have a solid foundation for the life change you want to make. You will need that foundation. Our culture is not one to praise you for your choice. You will more than likely run into resistance from both friends and family members. But if you know your why, it will be a lot easier to stick to what you also know is the best decision for your life.