Sometimes, when life begins to feel a little too overwhelming, stressful, and kind of like the whole plot has been lost, it is worth taking a pause and returning back to the basics.
I like to think of minimalism as a tool with which you gently peel back the layers in order to understand what you want to be in the core of your life. I will re-iterate that minimalism is no one size fits all or a quick fix to everyone’s situation, but instead it is your personal journey to explore and find out how you can lead a more intentional life.
Now, what does living with intention mean?
To live with more intention “simply” means taking responsibility for yourself and your life. I guess for most this comes more naturally, but as a recovering people-pleaser, I always looked (still sometimes do) to others regarding the decisions that I, and only I, should make about the things that will impact my life. Living intentionally is about thinking with your own mind and checking with your values, beliefs, and experiences about what feels right for you.
It sounds, and feels, liberating, but for someone like me who would rather avoid making decisions, it’s also terrifying, because suddenly there are just so many more to be made.
However, the following 5 minimalist habits are at the core of how I try to infuse more intention into my every day life. They are some basic guidelines you can try out, too, if you want to also enjoy the positive effects of minimalism in your life.
1. Declutter as you go
Whether you’ve decided to embark on your minimalism journey, or if you already swear by it, decluttering as you go will make transitioning and keeping up with it much more bearable. It can be overwhelming to declutter your whole life and being digitally, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically all in one go. So, just choose an area in life or one drawer and start there. Soon decluttering becomes a habit and you notice that you cling less onto things (both physical and abstract), or allow them to enter your space less.
Really, minimalism isn’t about getting rid of everything in your life and living extremely frugal, but more so a practice to shift your focus to what really matters. What matters to you, where you derive value from, and how you can lead a more intentional life.
2. Quality / Quantity
Choose quality over quantity. For example, I prefer to surround myself with a handful of inspiring friends with whom everything just syncs. But also considering the ‘things’ in our life, I would rather buy something seldom of higher quality that’s a little pricier, than having to buy the same item multiple times for cheaper.Of course, you can find quality pieces for cheaper at vintage and thrift stores, so quality doesn’t always have to mean an expensive price tag. However, it takes a little more consideration and effort from the consumer than just popping into your local H&M on a whim. Think about the cost per wear!
3. Practice Digital Minimalism
Digital minimalism is a whole topic on its own. If we find ourselves immersed in the digital world constantly, it can begin to take a toll on us especially mentally. On social media learn to be intentional with the content you follow, consume, and how much time you’re spending online. We cannot control everything that we’re exposed to, but you can still develop a critical mind towards what you see. Also, declutter that desktop screen, and whilst you’re at it, organise your folders. Thank me later.
4. Build a Capsule Wardrobe
Talk about a life- and time-saver! If you’re anything like me and like to look stylish and elegant most of the time (debatable), but have actually zero patience to put much thought into clothes, then building a capsule wardrobe is a winner. A capsule wardrobe is a curated collection of a limited number of clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories, that you’ve bought with intention and careful consideration. Ideally each item fits together freeing up the mental energy you need to use every day to figure out if an outfit looks good. Sure, partly it is about being stylish, but more than that, it’s removing another decision from my every day. Who doesn’t want to feel good and confident without much effort?
5. Embrace space
There’s a clear correlation with how crowded a place is and the level of anxiety and depression I experience. Naturally, the more space I have around me, blue sky, trees, and nature, the more I feel like my mind and body can breathe. That also applies to my indoor living areas. I avoid over-crowding my room and walls just for the sake of filling up space.In fact, this white space, aka negative space, is a technique used in interior design to provide a breathing space for us. It balances our surroundings, rests our eyes whilst highlighting key pieces in the room. As a result, this creates a sense of visual comfort and harmony subconsciously. I’d say this is pretty crucial for our mental clarity.
How do you bring back intention into your life, surroundings, or relationships?