Lately, on my internet wanderings, I’ve been noticing that most conversations about minimalism are turning into lists of things you can declutter. (Goodbye blender, spare phone charger, and college text books!!)
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe decluttering your home is obviously a big part of embracing minimalism – but I can’t help but feel that that part of the conversation is missing.
I believe minimalism is less about the number of things you own and more about intentional thinking; it’s about considering the purpose and value something (physical possessions, ideas, or even people) brings into your life and then being intentional about what you choose to keep.
When I first started to discover minimalism I felt like this was something that was talked about a lot (especially on blogs like Zen Habits and Be More with Less.) They are still talking about it, but I feel as minimalism goes mainstream with the popularity of the KonMari method … it’s maybe losing it’s soul? (In full disclosure, I haven’t actually read the book, so maybe this is just my projection or what I’m seeing in my small corner of the Internet.)
(Note: As one reader has rightly pointed out in the comments, the above passage may come across as critical of KonMari. I apologise if I haven’t expressed myself clearly; the point I’m trying to make is that KonMari has made minimalism mainstream – and as often happens when anything becomes mainstream or popular, in some cases the focus gets lost. If I haven’t communicated this well then I’m sincerely sorry for anyone I’ve offended.)
But anyway, regardless I’m sure it can’t hurt to share a different kind of decluttering list – a list of things to declutter that aren’t things. Instead of physical decluttering, I’m looking at ideas and mindsets that aren’t contributing to my life and could use letting go.
15 THINGS TO DECLUTTER (THAT AREN’T THINGS)
Before jumping into the list, I wanted to make two quick points:
- I’m still working on A LOT of the things on this list (in fact, I’m writing this list for myself as much as my readers. Life is a work in progress!)
- Not everything on this list makes sense for everyone. Please don’t view this as an authoritative ‘master list’ (or as my attempt to write one); instead my intention is to inspire you to think outside the box with minimalism and to consider other aspects of your life that may require a bit of ‘decluttering.’
On that note, I’m sure there are a ton of things I’ve left off this list, so if you have any ideas you’d like to share please feel free to add them in the comments!
I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve spent stressed to near tears because I’ve had some sort of project or chore that I really, really wanted to finish before going to sleep – even though there was absolutely no reason it couldn’t just be left to the next day.
Yet for some reason, I’d created a self imposed deadline that was causing me ridiculous stress. If you’ve ever caught yourself in the same boat, join me in just letting go.
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
We all know this one. It’s a lazy habit; let’s be intentional in breaking it.
A GOAL WEIGHT OR SIZE
Instead of focusing on an arbitrary number, chose to focus on feeling healthy and well. Healthy living is easier when it’s about feeling good instead of battling the scales.
Have you even had the ‘I’ve been so busy working all day but somehow I’ve done nothing‘ feeling?
Yep. Me too and we can thank multitasking for creating lots of busyness minus productivity. The alternative? Try slowing down, doing one thing at a time, and being mindful about the task at hand. (I’ve been trying block scheduling lately and it’s really been working for me.)
Perfect isn’t real; it’s an illusion and it’s holding you back. Progress over perfection every time!
FURTHER READING: Check out my friend Wendy from The Gratefulist – she has a free workbook to help you let go of perfectionism – or check out this guest post she wrote for us, sharing 10 truths every perfectionist should know.
[tough love] Stop believing you’re trapped. If you’re not happy with your life, acknowledge that you are in control. You may not be able to change all the circumstances of your life, but you can always choose your reaction and start taking steps in a new direction.
If this is something you struggle with, I can help. Learn more about my e-course, Thrive; a 30 day guided exploration, where I’ll teach you the skills that helped me clear the clutter and create a life I love.
GUILT ABOUT SELF CARE
If you feel guilty or in any way negative about making time to take care of yourself, please stop and let it go. Practicing self care is important because it creates a strong foundation (YOU!!) for everything else you want to do in your life.
RELATED POST: 12 Practical Self Care Tips (How I make self care work in my real life!)
BLAMING OTHERS FOR YOUR MISTAKES
We know this, right? But boy is it hard to remember in the heat of the moment. I’m trying to learn the power of ‘pause’; to stop for a moment and think before I react, giving myself time to accept responsibility for my own actions.
WAITING TO BE HAPPY
Stop waiting for a new job, a new month, or a new boyfriend to make you happy. You aren’t waiting, you’re making excuses. Make the decision to start living and loving life today.
RELATED POST: 14 Ways to Stop Living for the Weekends
THE GLORIFICATION OF BUSY
Busy does not equal better.
If you find yourself complaining (or boasting) about being busy, stop.
If you’re too busy to do what’s important to you, look at your priorities.
If you have down time, enjoy it without feeling guilty.
ANY DEFINITION OF SUCCESS THAT DOES NOT SERVE YOU
Define your own version of success. Create your own standards and build a life that makes you feel good (and stop worrying about how it looks to everyone else.)
RELATED POST: How Defining My Core Values Changed My Life
Learn to accept compliments with grace, instead of responding with a self deprecating joke. (Yes, you do look nice today, and no – it’s not the flattering lighting.)
OBSESSING OVER THINGS YOU CAN’T CHANGE
I know this isn’t easy (I’m still putting some serious work into this one) but I truly believe that one of the greatest things we can learn in life is how to let go of what we can’t change. (Goodbye: replaying things in our head, constant obsessing, and unnecessary stress.) If you’re not sure how to start with this, try meditation.
ANGER + GRUDGES
When you’re angry with someone, deal with the issue and then move on. If you’re struggling, ask yourself what’s more important – the issue or the relationship. (And if the answer is the issue, then move on from the relationship.)
Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
SELF LIMITING BELIEFS
And finally, let go of any thoughts that begin with ‘I could never …’
For a long time, I believed I could never get out of debt, or end my first marriage, or start a blog that people actually read.
But guess what? I learned that I’m brave and capable of more than I thought and you are too. Say goodbye to any thoughts (or anyone) that tell you otherwise.
What ideas or mindsets could use ‘decluttering’ in your life? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to add to this list! x
photo credit : Vladimir Kudinov // Used with permission