One of the biggest challenges and improvements I’ve made for myself was learning how to live minimally; having just what you need and honestly love so you have more time to truly live. Everything else become distractions and attachments that cause disorder, suffering and lead you astray from your true inner being.
What changes have I made?
First, I went through things I seem to habitually collect. Shoes, purses, clothes, magazines, candles, sparkly bedazzled things. Have you ever bought a shirt, saved it for the right “occasion” and ended up never wearing it? Or wearing it once? If there is anything in my closet where my mind tells itself “This is cute, but..” “I want to wear this, but..” then I throw it out. Why did I need 29 different candles when I only used 2 or 3 at a time? I also noticed that the things I bought were usually out of the solace of collecting. It’s fun to accumulate the most of something. It’s fun to choose from 75 different pairs of shoes. But did it add to my existence? No.
Now, what to do with all your stuff?
Donate to Salvation Army, homeless shelters and/or sell bigger items on craigslist/ebay. If I can, I try not to buy anything new. It only adds to the waste on our earth. Recycle as much as you can, which also means re-using used items and by giving it to others who may need it.
Eating minimally. Now this doesn’t mean I eat less but I choose to consume foods that are as simple and pure as possible. I try cooking and choosing foods that have less than 5 ingredients (I also don’t eat meat and very, very little dairy), additionally getting the most out of every meal. I feel healthier, eating becomes less complicated (read this great post about letting food be simply food) and food becomes more about cleansing and nourishing my body, rather than being gluttonous, feeling guilty or oversaturating my body.
I enjoy what the Earth has to offer. Spending time outdoors surrounded by nature keeps me reveling in the present moment and brimming with gratitude. Why spend money and time looking for other forms of short-lived entertainment when we have so much to appreciate right outside our door?
Living minimally has taught me so much about being present. What we cling to causes us to live in the past and what we hope to achieve by holding on to something causes us to live in the future. Start slow and you’ll gradually notice that the stuff you own are things you were able to live without once before.
(Read a great post here about minimalism’s misconceptions)