Two years ago I began looking for answers on how to get more out of life.
I was looking for ways to become more focused on fulfilling my sense of purpose.
Following a break-up that left me needing to come deeply into my soul-self, I began downsizing my life by removing all the distractions, I uncovered my inner minimalist. Distractions such as unnecessary/unused objects, too many clothes to think about choosing from, too much space to have to clean and maintain; anything that screamed for my attention. I craved simplicity in all its forms as I realised I needed my energy for my healing and couldn’t afford to be giving it away, especially to things that didn’t add value to my life.
Within 6 months of the break-up I found myself moving three states down the coast of Australia to Hobart, 3,000 kms away. This provided the excuse to go balls to the wall with my downsizing and subsequently I reduced all I owned to a car, 5 boxes and a couple of suitcases. I had gone from owning what filled a five-bedroom house down to only the necessities. This whole process formed the basis of my book Five Bedrooms to Five Boxes.
The book alone was a testament to my new lifestyle. With distractions removed and my spare time now focused on what mattered I was able to pen and publish this second book of mine (following my first poetry book, Paper Doors).
Minimalism has been one of the best things I have done in my life and for my sense of purpose and this is why.
1. Removing distractions and clutter allows me to focus my time directly on my life-purpose-ventures.
Firstly, don’t feel you have to have one defining life purpose. You may have many, and they may change as the years go on like mine did, but either way you will more easily uncover purposeful ventures and then find the time to spend on them by taking away what doesn’t have you at ‘Hell Yes‘.
Another way to work out what should go is to consider would you again, now; buy, enter into, start a relationship with, or put time into it? If you wouldn’t again now, consider removing it.
2. I have significantly reduced my mental and physical fatigue by keeping it simple and streamlined.
We have a limited amount of mental energy each day. Every choice we make continues to deplete us. When we don’t deal with something initially and have to return to it we are doubling the energy cost required to complete the task. Clutter can enable procrastination as we are constantly putting off the action to finalise.
Take breakfast for example: by only buying one variety of cereal, eating it until it is gone and then getting the next one, you have reduced decision-making time and energy, and probably food waste which then also equals savings.
If we don’t fold and put away the clothes off the washing line in one follow-through action, we then have to look at the pile each time we pass the basket and feel bad about not doing it, think about when we will do it, and then find the time to come back to it. Not to mention the clothes are probably more creased now, so we’ve increased our ironing pile also.
If we put off dealing with our emotions they sit in the back of our mind chewing energy that is required to hold them there until we deal with them, they fester and brew and steal a percentage of our concentration day in and day out. Yet if we take the time to address our inner turmoil the weight gets lifted, our brain becomes free and we are released to move on. Of course all in its right time but this shows the ‘just not getting around to it’ impact.
3. With a simple life I can keep on top of things easily and subsequently am less anxious.
I am have fewer commitments to worry about as I only say yes to that which is a ‘Hell Yes’. I am more fulfilled as I can spend more time on what truly matters for me to have a good life such as exercise, meditation and working on my personal endeavours. All this brings me higher contentment and greater life satisfaction, both of which are warriors against my previous anxious thoughts.
4. I am saving more with clarity on what fulfils me – I don’t seek it in the wrong places and certainly not through retail therapy.
When you are looking for that sense of fulfilment and you don’t know where to get it, it is very easy to get caught up with the empty promises of the multi-billion dollar marketing industry.
I now know that what fulfils me is time with those I care for, time reading and writing, and time in self-care such as exercise and meditation. So if I spend money on a new outfit, which the marketing industry would have me believe is the answer to all my desires, I would be left with an empty heart and wallet.
It is hard work getting down to the depths of your soul; the only way down is to peel back the layers, but under all those layers is your greatest gift.
5. I spend less time on errands and cleaning because there is less to attend to.
I certainly don’t jump for joy at housework or running around paying bills. Yuck! So in reducing bills to pay only for the necessities I get more money and more time, winning! With fewer items in the house and through owning less I need only a small home, which means I have less cleaning to do – brilliant. Clear space for the win, it makes it easier to clean and makes spaces feel much larger and more comforting in their simplicity.
6. I am still human but so perfectly close to being all that I dream to be as I find the focus and time to give myself the life that is right for me.
When I can come home and everything feels easy, from only having what food I need in the house for meals that week, to having the spaces clear, no TV to distract me and waste my time, I can easily slot into the life I want. I can exercise and eat in ways that are right for me as I have removed what isn’t.
Life is pretty much perfect when you boil it down to only that which is right for you and you remove the rest.
7. It has allowed me to heal my wounds by encouraging me to deal with them head on.
Life is hard and there are days it stretches us all. As we move through big changes, on from relationships, and all the in between we get some pretty heavy emotions to deal with. I am a firm believer in the old ‘you have to feel it to heal it’ approach, having experienced that first hand myself. Supressing emotions only causes further pain. Deal with it as soon as you can push yourself to; it will still be a push as it is uncomfortable to work through hurt, but that is the only way to release it, at least to the point where you can begin to move on with your life to the next chapter.
8. How could I possibly want the old, cluttered, noisy life over my clear, focused, happy one?
I don’t, I love my version of a minimalist. The benefits are immense and I know how different my before and after is. Everyone I have worked with on simplifying, even in just cleaning up a few physical items, feels better for it. I love coaching people through this change and seeing how it lights up their life.
If a simpler life is something you yearn for but feel that you need some guidance and support on your journey, you can head here to my Work with Me Page for more info on my coaching packages. You can get started by reading my book Five Bedrooms to Five Boxes: Living Simply with Purpose found on Amazon here or via the Books Page here (it is less than $2!).
Happy throw, donate or give-awaying!
Here are my other blog posts on turning over to this life of becoming simply focused: