Over the past couple of months, I’ve become obsessed with minimalism. It all started when I decided to move across the country back to Pennsylvania from Los Angeles. I could not afford to hire movers (let alone a moving truck) so I purged 80-90% of what I had in my one bedroom apartment. At the end of my purge, what was left was a suitcase of clothes and two big boxes to send back to PA filled with winter jackets, shoes, books/journals, and photos.
Moreover, I enjoyed the process of letting go. With each physical item thrown away, sold, or given to a friend, it was like I was untieing the laces to heavy boots that had been anchoring me to the bottom of a swimming pool. I know that’s hella dramatic but that’s honestly what it felt like. It felt like freedom, mentally and emotionally.
Although the apartment purge first came of out necessity, something just clicked along the way. “I don’t need much of anything to be okay.” What I do need is to be healthy, to have solid relationships and positive people around me, to have a roof over my head, and to be working on something I’m passionate about. That’s literally it.
This experience of letting go fed my curiosity about minimalism. I watched documentaries and YouTube videos, listened to podcasts, read articles – I became consumed with learning about it because it finally made sense to me. Minimalism at its root is a lifestyle based on bringing intention into everything you do. Minimalism is about appreciation, not deprivation. It’s about making room for what is most important in your life and clearing away anything that (unintentionally) distracts you from it.
Here are a few small ways to practice minimalism:
Challenge yourself to donate 1 item to charity
Yes, just one. Chances are you’ll find more way more things in the process, and it snowballs very quickly from there. You’ll likely find yourself on a purging spree because the act of letting go and giving to someone in need is infectious.
Declutter your phone
Delete any apps on your phone that you haven’t used in the past month and then watch this Phone Decluttering video from Matt D’Avella. Streamlining the thing you use 24/7 is kind of life-changing.
If you’re out to dinner with friends or family, challenge yourself to not check your phone. To make it even more interesting, put all the phones in the middle of the table and whoever reaches to check their phone first has to pay for the meal. Although it may be awkward at first, it will remind you to pay attention to what’s most important.