If you know me, you may describe my style as minimalist. I prefer clean spaces, natural colors, and less choices.
My home decor is minimal. My wardrobe is minimal. My schedule is minimal.
I have not always been like this! It has been a slow transformation over the past 8 years. I didn’t become a minimalist because of a book I read or a system I learned. I became a minimalist because of ONE key truth that I will share at the end.
Before I do that, let me share with you what minimalism looks like for me in hope that it will encourage or spark an interest in you.
I have written several posts on decorating my home, and you can read last week’s post here that explains how I fill my home. I have learned over the years that less is more inviting and welcoming. The more clutter you have, the harder it is to relax and invite others in your home. I also have found that decorating your home is MUCH more difficult with more things. The less you have, the easier it is to make it beautiful.
For me, this means removing knick-knack things I don’t love. It means purging and selling things I don’t need or like. It means making each room functional, clean, and simply pretty.
If I notice something I don’t like, I get rid of it! No need to keep it around. If I find things in my closet I haven’t used in a year, get rid of it! The only exception to this is if you know you are saving it for something specific like I have dolls and dress-up things in my closet for Lily when she gets older :).
The same idea goes for everything in my home- clothes, makeup, kitchen items, etc. If I haven’t used it or worn it in over a year, it needs to go.
I promise you that the feeling of “well maybe I will end up using this one day” is not important because if you get rid of something you haven’t used in ages, and one day you discover you need it, it’s not a big deal to buy another because most of these “things” we hold on to don’t have much $ value.
The feeling of cleaning out your space is freeing. It simplifies your life. And it gives you room for other things that are more important.
And a notes on your wardrobe… I have never done a capsule closet, but I do get rid of clothes every season. Not only does it keep my closet cleaner, it also keeps my mind clean and free because I have less decisions staring at me and I am spending less time deciding what to wear.
Once the physical space around you is de-cluttered, you will have more room to breathe and think about your time that needs to be cleaned out as well.
This was the part of becoming a minimalist that I struggled with the most. Since I was a little girl, I loved being busy. And up until a couple years out of college, I was overflowing with commitments. There were so many seasons of my life before marriage that I wondered how the heck I had time for all of my commitments. Some of this was the inevitable busyness of school, but the other half of it was my own fault of not saying “no” to things.
I felt like I had to do everything I was asked to do. I felt like I was needed in every opportunity that arose. And I felt like I would miss out on something if I didn’t go to it.
There were so many times that this thought pattern bit me in the butt to the point that I physically felt the stress of having too much on my mind. And consequentially, I wasn’t as successful in those commitments as I set out to be because I was over-committed.
So here are a couple of things I learned to do on my journey of becoming a minimalist with my time:
- When I started stressing out because I had no idea how I was going to get everything done, I would print out an hour by hour calendar of the week and fill in every commitment I had. Then I would fill in the life necessities like eating, showering, and sleeping, and then I would see how much time I had left over to do other things I wanted to do. This helped me to physically see where my time was going and then I would work through everything written down to see what I could eliminate. I also prayed over this schedule asking God to help me see what I should say no to and what I should continue.
- And then once I had my current schedule nailed down, I began to learn and discipline myself to think and pray through an opportunity before I said yes or no to it. Even if I felt needed, I knew I needed to first pray and think through if this is something God wanted me to do rather something I waned to do. I have learned countless times that I much rather be doing what God wants me to do rather than what only I wanted to do because He gets the bigger picture and He is for my good. So I trust Him with my schedule. I promise you He will prove faithful every time.
So, this is where the key of becoming a minimalist lies. In order to find rest for your weary soul, you have to cast all your cares and anxieties on Jesus. There is really no other way to find total and complete rest. So as a minimalist, my ONE most important task for the day is spending time with God first. I spend time reading the Bible and talking to Him. This is more important than anything else in your day. The God of the universe wants to spend time with you because He loves and cares for you. Plus, He is God, all-knowing, all-powerful, sovereign over every detail of your life so you want to hear from Him!
And here is the key that motivates me and inspires me to be a minimalist:
Your life is not your own.
You were bought with a price when Jesus died for you to give you a fulfilling life (1 Corinthians 6:20).
I don’t deserve the house I live in or the family I have or the car, clothes, food, decor in my house. I don’t deserve the friends I have or the events I am invited to.
I don’t deserve anything.
Everything I have, my time, relationships, possessions, are a gift from God.
This mindset (and truth) gives me contentment in what I have and keeps me from wanting more. It gives me the desire to live a humble life. It gives me the motivation to stay focused on the priorities in my life that God has given me first to do well.
My life is not my own because Jesus saved me and has given me so much peace and joy. My response is thankfulness.
I am so thankful for what I have and want to give to others rather taking for myself.
I couldn’t muster this minimalist life on my own. It is only because of what God has done for me! And you can have this too through Him.