This article was written by my friend Rocio Espinoza. Visit his site for more tips at porch.com
This is part three of a three part series on Minimalism. Enjoy!
Create a Calm Sleep Space
Take a long, critical look at your bedroom. After a long day, can you walk in and feel your muscles relax and anticipate a peaceful night’s sleep? Or, are you met with chaos from misplaced items, a cluttered dresser drawer, and clothes draped on the back of the chair? Donate or dump the items that you don’t need and create an oasis of calm.
Clean up Daily
Once you have your rooms cleared of extra stuff, make sure you keep it clean. Once a day, do a sweep of the house, putting things back in place and throwing away junk mail or other items that come in your house. You don’t want to go down that clutter road again.
Ditch the Digital Clutter
We often overlook the vast amounts of digital clutter in our lives. Everywhere we turn, there are notifications from a social media site, new emails to read, or new message chimes. It’s like we’re tethered to the world, and it adds to our stress. Consider how many emails clog your inbox. Reserve a chunk of your time to go through and delete those you no longer need (which may be most of them). If you’re always looking down at your phone, jumping every time you receive a message, you’re not being present for yourself or for your children or significant other. Make a goal to put the phone down and walk away, checking messages only once or twice a day. For a few days, keep a diary of the time you spend online each day. You may be stunned by the results. This may be an area of your life – internet and social media clutter – that you can jettison in favor of a more in-the-moment presence. The less time you spend on social media, the more you can be present in your own life. You can do a digital detox of sorts. Announce on social media that you’re taking a break, and then put it aside for that appointed time, whether it’s a week or a month or more. When you return (If you decide to return), be mindful, and limit the time spent on social media. While you’re decluttering your life, go through your Facebook page and unfollow or unfriend those people who litter your timeline who aren’t bringing something of value to your life. You don’t need to be surrounded by negativity, complaints, and unkind thoughts. That kind of energy will only erode your progress.
Take Time to Invest in You
No matter the stress of the day, the demands coming from all directions, don’t forget to carve out some “me time” out for – well, for you. It’s too easy to forget ourselves as we attend to the needs of others. You deserve to invest in yourself, to recharge, re-center, and re-balance. You can use this time to meditate, do yoga, read, relax with a drink, or soak in the tub.
Get your Finances in Order
Finances can spark a tremendous amount of frustration. While you’re bringing peace to your world, don’t forget about finding ways to streamline your finances. Instead of spending time writing checks, sealing them in envelopes and mailing them, try paying them online through your bank. If your account balance allows it, consider setting up automatic payments. This will ensure more time “banked” for higher-priority activities.
Manage your Expectations
We all want what we want. We have high expectations for ourselves, and society expects that we pursue it all, at great cost to ourselves. The pressure can be intense as we push on toward all those goals, causing distress and discontent. When you take on a minimalist’s outlook, you can reduce the number of “wants” to a manageable level, especially when you keep your essentials in mind. It also helps usher in peace and an appreciation for what you have already.
Embrace the Transformative Change
Clearing out the clutter from your life will help put into motion a steady, transformative change, one you’ll nurture and appreciate. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle isn’t the secret to endless happiness and contentment, though. It’s a journey you’ve started, freeing up more time, space, and money for more meaningful pursuits. As you find balance in your day-to-day life, the benefits of a minimalist’s life will become clear: simplicity, focus, and peace.
The longer you maintain a mindful, self-improving, self-loving mindset, the easier it becomes to keep your life full of both freedom and purpose, and free of clutter and frustration as you focus on your gratitude.