Stop The Madness.
In the madness that is everyday life, we must intentionally create our own calm by grabbing onto God’s peace and shutting out the noise clamoring for our attention and emotional energy. Peaceful state of mind is an invaluable asset, and from it stems creativity, productivity, efficiency, focus, and calm reactions in challenging situations.
Inner calm is also a natural starting point for something more… For some reason, decluttering our minds, houses, and schedules of unnecessary junk seems to be appealing to a lot of people right now. And we’re calling it minimalism.
Got to admit, I’m all over that trend like stink on a monkey.
I won’t say that I can claim minimalist status… yet. But I am certainly aspiring toward simpler living, fewer possessions, and freedom from the trappings of consumerism. And I can’t help noticing a lovely cycle: the more we declutter our minds, the more we want to purge our possessions; conversely, the simpler our surroundings, the calmer our thoughts.
What About Thrifting?
Along my journey, thrift stores have played a huge role.
Now, most of us can agree that all good things are good in moderation, right? In other words, anyone can have too much of a good thing. A valuable lesson I’ve had to learn is… well just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean I need it. And there are certainly times when I can benefit more from showing up at the back of the thrift store to donate my own excess of stuff, than I do from cruising through the aisles with a piled cart.
Don’t get me wrong, my entire wardrobe is built from those aisles. And I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future. But over time, it pays to revisit my possessions and sort through them based on their value to me now, not the value they brought to my life at the time of purchase. It also pays to remember the use and value they could easily bring someone else.
Here are 3 simplifying guidelines I try to keep for myself on the reg:
1. The Trade-off.
This one is great for those times when I do need to (or just really want to) go thrift shopping. For every 1 item I purchase, I go home and pack up 2 items of the same category to donate. I always end up donating closer to 4 items for every 1 purchased, but that’s just my own propensity to get into “purge mode.”
2. Core Stuff.
Minimizing my possessions has really helped me pinpoint where my needs are. There are some essential core items that would really make my life better – either in my closet, kitchen, or elsewhere – but I’ve been so buried in so many things that it was hard to see those basic needs that were going unmet. For instance, when I purged my closet, I discovered I had only 1 pair of pants for work that I actually wore and felt good in. Probably because dresses happen to be more fun for me to buy (but not always practical to wear). So this helped me carve out time to thrift a few more pairs of pants that I love, and to donate about half of my dresses that I didn’t need or enjoy.
3. Go To Your Happy Place.
Clearly this should first be a state of mind, but I think we should also create a physical happy place – everywhere we go. I’ve begun investing the time needed to arrange my rooms, office, and even car environments to be places of peace and happiness. Whether with minimal decor, accent photos, or something as simple as air freshener – it’s about making every item count. And removing those items that count against us or don’t count at all.
Don’t take it from me! Below are 2 very inspiring, successful women, who happen to be professional minimalists… Minimal in their possessions, but abundant in their life experiences and happiness. They provide a lot of useful how-to’s for enjoying a simpler, more fulfilling lifestyle:
Rosetta Thurman of HappyBlackWoman
Jennifer L. Scott of TheDailyConnoisseur
One Last Tip.
If you’re feeling inspired but slightly overwhelmed, pick just 1 area to simplify for a few weeks. In fact, I kept my car clean for about 4 months before I moved on to purging my closet, home, office, and schedule. But having 1 success under my belt helped me remember that it is possible to simplify – and the results are worth the process!
Until next time,