I took a poll on Facebook and asked people why they became a minimalist and what started their journey. I believe this is important to bring to the table since we all have different reasons we’re attracted to the minimalist lifestyle. Though a strong common denominator is overwhelm. We are so overwhelmed with life that we have no idea what bothers us because EVERYTHING bothers us. If you are anything like the old me, you were just in this constant state of being pissed off.
But deep down you know this isn’t the real you.
I believe the first step to unpissing yourself off is awareness and for the sake of this article awareness of your environment. Yes, your environment plays a huge part in your headspace. A University of California study found that levels of the stress hormone cortisol were higher in mothers who lived in homes they described as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects.” We go through our days, our months, our years on auto pilot just trying to survive and get to the weekend. But I believe if you put in the work to evaluate your daily life and start to recognize the triggers, you can begin to not just declutter the physical stuff but the emotional baggage that is truly weighing you down. In my process, I started out clearing the physical clutter first and then the mental minimalism followed.
And I am obviously not the only one.
Out of the 509 people who participated, a whooping 232 or 46% participated said they were just fed up with the stuff and needed to do something about it. 109 or 21% said they realized material things are just a waste of time, money, and energy. I’d like to be a little more specific and say not all material things are a waste. There are some things you need but what I want you to begin to become aware of is what you need in your life versus what you want. Dave Ramsey covers this with the four basic needs – food, shelter, utilities, and transportation. This is a great place to start when you have no idea where to start on distinguishing a need versus a want.
What I want you to focus on is to see if any of these stories relate to your story? Maybe you have been on the fence about trying minimalism? Realizing we aren’t alone in our struggles, may help motivate us to begin changing our lives. I know you are tired and if you want to make a change in your life, you have to start somewhere and minimalism has helped so many people. Most people who commented said minimalism has given them freedom, peace, and/or more time to do the things they love. How powerful is that? We all want more peace and freedom in our lives and minimalism is a avenue to achieve that.
In closing, read through these different stories and see if any resonate with you. These are all people who struggled with something and are making shifts in their lives. I hope this inspires you be more aware of your environment and maybe even begin to ignite some change.
Let me know why you started your minimalist journey in the comments below.
- I had to move abruptly.
- Too much laundry.
- I was fed up with having so many things and so little money.
- The things in my house weighed me down. The anxiety of cleaning, maintaining, and organizing all of the things in my house.
- Necessity, I had to sell things to afford food.
- I kept loosing things.
- I am tired of the house being a mess.
- I started dabbling in minimalism when I realized I was becoming a hoarder and had a major shopping addiction.
- MIL passed away and we helped to clean out her stuff thinking she had way too much stuff. We didn’t want any of our relatives to have to deal with our excess belongings. It was a wake up call.
- I believe Capitalism is bad, minimalism is a response.
- My parent’s are hoarders so I chose the opposite route.
- We want to live in an RV or tiny home.
- Move after move lugging boxes and totes. Stuff just sitting in the basement year after year not even being seen or used.
- I was tired of being ruled by things.
- Having to take care & maintain all of my things was a full time job. Now I have what I use & use what I have. We have more time to do other things rather than taking care of a honey-do list!
- I had sudden realization that I buy stuff when I feel sad/stressed. I then looked around my house and was like ooooohhhhh that’s why I have so much stuff. My minimalist journey began the next day, since Oct 17 I’ve raised £2000 on stuff I’ve sold and cut my belongs in half. Never been happier.
- I’m the personal administrator for the estate of both my parents. They were born and raised during the Great Depression. They threw nothing away. A 900-square-foot house packed — and I mean PACKED — with stuff “we can’t throw away cause we might need someday.”
- One of Dad’s favorite things to say was “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.” He never grasped the idea of the false dilemma, I guess.
- Now it’s my job to shovel all this shite into a dumpster. And when it’s all said and done, the only thing left of value will be the house.
- I look at all of my belongings and think, “I’m not dying with all of this crap holding me down.” I don’t have children, so there’s nobody to leave anything to. By the time I’m done, I hope to be able to move all of my belongings in my short-bed pickup truck in one trip.
- I’m minimal & organized, along with my husband came chaos & ALL THE THINGS. So I’ve finally gotten him to where he can part with things & understanding how much more freeing & clean things can stay with less stuff that just takes up space!
- Too much clutter in my house is causing me unnecessary anxiety and stress. I wanted peace.
- Well, I did a whole life change over. Got rid of my abusive husband, got rid of crap food and started exercising, and got rid of stuff.
- I was born a minimalist.
- My mom and husband’s dad inspired us. They are packrats. When they eventually pass away we are going to have a TON of work to do to clean their houses.
- Marie Kondo! Watched her series, got the audiobooks, got started, did my space in a week (pulling very long nights because I hate leaving things unfinished) and it lead me to minimalism, zero waste, wanting to reduce my meat consumption, I’m currently trying to be mostly vegetarian with an end goal to be mostly vegan but we shall see about that one. I’m happy this has lead me to much better choices but if you asked me 6 months ago, I wouldn’t have done any of this. Currently researching for a capsule wardrobe too.
- I was really unhappy with where I was in life and I had so many things that triggered me feeling that way so I started pitching stuff little by little that reminded me of not so nice times or of the person I used to be but grew out of. I didn’t even know what minimilism was at the time and purging item just made me feel in control of my life.
- I realized I was holding onto everything out of a sense of mental and financial instability. Having things was important because my life felt out of my control. Now that I’ve achieved stability all the things suddenly started to feel like clutter.
- I watched the Minimalist documentary and/or Marie Kondo.
- I was just DONE with the stuff piling up, drawers that wouldn’t open because they were so crammed with things, tchotchkes/Knick knacks/random items taking up precious space. We had moved so many times. Honestly, I just got fed up with packing these worthless items again and again. I didn’t want to clutter up yet another space.
- Had children, watched them grow and fill the house and all my speculative hobbies, all my bikes and books and instruments and gongs and singing bowls and chess boards and basketball equipment, all my camping stuff and vinyl collection, my vintage typewriter and my obsolete technology, my old text books and academic notes all suddenly seemed like part of a past life belonging to someone that I used to know.
- My anxiety reached a high point. And each thing that goes and the cleaner my spaces are I feel the weight lifting. I got divorced. Moved from a 1600sf house with two car garage and sheds, to a 450sf apt, no storage, to a 625 sf house inside of three months. Not only did I not have room, I was just done with my old life. I just left a job that caused extreme physical and emotional stress In the past two years. During this time I let a lot of thing go. I am starting over in my career and getting myself and my environment healthy again. I am already starting to feel better. I was miserable. Still miserable but easing with each part of the house we do.
- I lost an important document. And i ripped my whole house apart trying to find it. The amount of clutter everywhere was making me feel INSANE because I couldn’t find anything. Nothing had a HOME. So I researched organization techniques and found Konmari. From there, minimalism. Now I know where everything is.
- I have a friend who had an opportunity to take an overseas trip at very short notice with her work and she couldn’t locate her passport. She ended up not going on the trip and then spent the whole weekend in a frenzy and in tears of frustration while she cleaned, sorted and culled her house, she has never gone back to the clutter.
- Growing up with a dysfunctional hoarder mother. I was deeply ashamed of having friends over with all the mess and clutter and vowed to never live like that.
- Got pissed off by seeing clutter, got annoyed with how much junk I have, feel like it affected my mental health.
- My brother died. All we had left of him was his stuff. This stuff didn’t mean anything. It didn’t help us. It didn’t make it easier. It just made me sad.
- Not only is consumerism a waste of money but also ruining our environment with all the plastic waste and fast fashion. I am more aware of it now than I’ve ever been and it’s even crazier when you realize that most of what you own is not really necessary.
- I developed a couple of chronic, progressive health issues and new I didn’t want to have to move/organize/clean all my stuff as I became less able to deal with it all.
- My youngest son is a “natural minimalist” after really paying attention to his habits I became curious about why he was that way. I found the documentary minimalism right after it came out and while watching me it dawned on me that I had spent my entire adult life dealing with a chronic illness and the times that I felt better I was spending it trying to organize my clutter and clean a cluttered space. The way my son kept his room and didn’t want more than a week’s worth of clothes or more than one or two pairs of shoes made so much sense. That led me to deeply analyzing consumerism and how I was soothing my physical pain and my emotions with buying stuff. It has been such a great awakening.
Let me know why you started your minimalist journey in the comments below.
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