I chose minimalism years ago, long before I even knew there was a name for it. But it was a very slow approach at first.
Then I read a book, adventures in life often begin with a book! This book taught me that it was possible to simplify to a minimum, our minimum, everything we possess. I was hooked from the beginning because it was for me time to stop being shy about simplifying.
So there I was, with all my stuff, that I already thought sorted. I stopped simplifying to take off what I thought was too much. I started simplifying to keep what was essential. And by doing so, I wasn’t simplifying our life; I was enriching it!
These are the reason I maintained my choice over the years
These are some of the benefits we gained for living a simpler life.
1- I have time
You have probably read this about minimalism a hundred times. But let me explain my case: I enjoy a clean house. It important to me because some of our family members suffer from allergies, and also because my Mum always maintained herself a clean home. I couldn’t imagine living in a messy, smelly place. But I don’t enjoy cleaning my house. Unlike some Japanese minimalist say, cleaning my house doesn’t spark joy. Living in a clean house sparks joy, but not cleaning it.
So I did the math, and this is what I found:
Starting point: I don’t want to pay for a cleaner or even manage a cleaner, so I have to do it myself
+(want to have a cleaned house)
– (don’t want to spend extra time cleaning it)
= must have less stuff to clean!
It’s straightforward indeed. Less stuff means more time for me doing things that matter to me, and having what I want.
2- I do more of what matters
Coming straight from the first point, if you simplify your life and remove or minimize what you don’t want, you do more of what you wish to, that’s simple!
If I spend less time cleaning or cooking at a light speed my daily family lunches and dinners, I have more time for reading and enjoying cooking with my children during the weekend.
Take this cooking example. I know that it’s very fashionable to love cooking. I praise a homemade food, and family cooking time. But, I don’t enjoy preparing endless lunch boxes day after day and being grumpy about that. I prefer organizing my shopping and meal planning with simple, healthy meals which need no preparation at all or a limited one.
Simple meals help me:
- spending less time shopping
- having less in my cupboards
- and having fewer cupboards to clean
- having fewer dishes to wash
- spending less time cooking during an already busy week
- spending less time planning my meals
Not to mention that simple meals tend to be more appealing to everyone, more festive, and more adaptable to everyone’s taste!
So you see, all that time I gain every single day, I used it to start reading again. How many mothers don’t have time to read between their job and their family? Reading is a real treat for me! Also, I’m taking more pleasure if I cook something when I feel like it, and when I have time!
Overall I do more of what I love. We eat more healthy food than before because I don’t indulge in prepared food when I’m tired of cooking. Actually, I’m not tired of cooking! Being less stressed in the kitchen means I’m calmer and everybody enjoys this too!
3- Save money
Yes, a lot of it! It allowed me to stay at home with my kids when they were younger. But now they are teenagers; I can start this online business and still be present when they need me. It’s such a comfort for them, even if they are learning to be responsible adults, they are still children!
We use the money for what matters to us. Also, we chose for me to work from home and start my business, we chose private schools for our children, and we chose to live downtown, so it’s more convenient and saves time to each member of the family every day.
We also travel as much as we can, because here is our real passion! But it’s not cheap especially when you are travelling with kids. We want them to be safe and comfortable anywhere.
These are choices we made, they are personal and don’t fit everybody for sure. What fits everyone is the fact that we all wish we had the opportunity to do more of what we love. You must deal with these choices, let go of what is not so important, and embrace what matters to you.
4- Being mindful
That’s another popular word nowadays. Mindfulness is really important now that we are all digitalized. It’s a fact that we have changed a lot because of our phones bringing internet and social media into our lives. Simplifying helps us be more aware of what’s happening around us. This is beneficial for focusing on our work and being more productive. Here again, you gain time and quality. Isn’t that what we are all looking for?
You enjoy your time with your loved ones. How many of us are raising children, for watching them leave the house one day and realizing that we could have done and enjoyed more? Time flies, and you can’t go backward, so let’s just enjoy what we have when we still can!
Mindfulness is also a powerful tool against stress, and stress is the most prominent enemy of modern societies. So minimalism bringing mindfulness in our lives is an excellent and useful friend!
5- Back to real activities
How many time did I hear teenagers, or adults even, claiming that shopping is their favourite hobby!
For this point, I had the help of my daughter because, if she enjoys the benefits of minimalism and simplicity, she still wishes she could have both: many things and more time, money, etc. So I asked her what about having shopping as a hobby?
She answered that having shopping as a hobby is fine.
But why on earth would you even consider shopping as a hobby, what is a hobby for you?
She told me that a hobby was when we are having fun with friends, or doing something we love. So I asked two more questions, one for each of her points.
Do you enjoy spending time in a noisy and busy shopping mall with some friends while emptying your bank account for things you don’t need? Didn’t you have more fun with your friend chatting for one or even two hours drinking a tea in a quiet place? Mum 1 Shopping 0!
Do you think that you actually “do” something when you are giving money to big brands that already are so wealthy? Where is your brain or body having fun with that kind of exercise? Wouldn’t you instead walk in the woods instead of walking in store alleys? Mum 2 Shopping, well, still 0!
Minimalism helped us focus on real activities, as various as they can be. They only have on common point: not accumulating more useless stuff in our small home.
6- The pleasure of quality
Eventually, minimalism has taught me what a pleasure it is to enjoy quality over quantity. I don’t have tons of shoes in my closet, but my shoes are robust, comfortable and I love their design. Therefore I don’t buy them cheap at Walmart. As we don’t have a car I walk a lot, so shoes are essential to me.
I also want to be eco-responsible as much as possible because I believe I have my part to play in preserving what remains of nature. I prefer to spend more on a well made natural tee-shirt that will not hurt nature or my health than spend twice as less in two tee-shirts that have created more pollution than a car commute and are fully loaded of chemicals that will transfer to me.
Quality is more responsible, but it’s also more pleasurable to use on a daily basis. You don’t need to have more, but you can have better.
Minimalism is all about choices
Of course, being minimalists is not always easy. It’s always about choices and about what we need. We often have to give up what we want or think we want, because it’s easier to be like everyone else. I don’t say I wouldn’t love to buy a lovely colourful blouse. When spring comes, and I’m looking for a new top matching my simple capsule wardrobe I look at it, it’s calling me! But I do my best to remember that I will far much more enjoy having this road trip during the summer. Then when doing the thing I love most, I don’t care anymore if I’m wearing a lovely blouse or a plain shirt.
In the end, it’s a matter of choices. You must choose what matters to you most and favour these above all others. You will soon be able to see the benefits of this new lifestyle, invading your daily life.
I will conclude that the most rewarding point in choosing minimalism. I’m sure you noticed there were only 6 reasons until now. My last point will that I can see my children becoming adults with values they can be proud of. They learnt that every gain comes with choices and sacrifices, and they accordingly choose what matters to them. There is no better reward than that!
If you want to read more about minimalism and simplicity: