To be honest, I'm not even sure how I came across the minimalist lifestyle. At some point during the early hours of the morning nursing my baby I was probably scrolling through Pinterest and saw some gorgeously simple home that I aspired to have sometime. It wasn't until recently that I spent a lot of time researching and learning purposefully about minimalism. In the beginning, I was just searching for peace and simplicity. My daughter is now two and I'm still in awe of the simplicity of others' homes and lives, but I'm slowly but surely making progress toward the lifestyle I first envisioned when I stumbled across minimalism.
1. It may be incredibly hard
There are times when I'm just exhausted after going through the personal items that I've held onto for an entire lifetime. I find sentimental items are the hardest to purge. But sometimes things like clothes, or my daughter's toys can be just as hard to go through. It's easy to make emotional connections with things. Sometimes I'll need to go through everything and get rid of some things and then wait until I come back to that collection to go through again and let go of more. At first, I thought I was the only one who thought it was painful to let go, but then I realized other people had similar struggles and attachments. I wasn't alone, I was just seeing others who have moved through the difficulty already.
2. There isn't necessarily a timeline
There are so many articles, magazines, and entire books outlining exactly how you're supposed to de-clutter and simplify your life that include a specific timeline for doing so. But here's a secret: you don't have to follow any of those timelines. That schedule may have worked for someone else, but that doesn't mean you have to blindly follow it. Maybe you want to purge your entire house in a weekend, eliminate one item a day, or take many passes through your possessions. We should encourage others to go at their own pace and provide support, not demand that they follow the routine we followed.
3. Your simplicity doesn't need to be the same as someone else's
The other day in a large online community I witnessed a mother who had asked for suggestions to store her children's stuffed animals. The responses quickly turned harsh and unproductive. Instead of assisting her with suggestions of simple and effective organization tools, they attacked her journey. People quickly got hung up on a number of stuffed animals her family owned, and not on actually helping the mother get organized.
Your simplicity is yours and yours alone. However you seek to pursue a simplified life is up to you and hopefully, anyone who wants to give you advice is looking out for your best interests and your own goals for minimalism.
4. It's a journey that never ends
Sometimes I'll get a room in order or think I've pared down my clothes so I only have ones I love, but slowly the room becomes a mess again or I'll have a closet full of clothes I never wear. In those moments, I have to remind myself that minimalism is a journey.
I recently went through all of my daughter's baby clothes and sorted them to be donated. And then before I knew it, she had a closet full of items she was outgrowing. Minimalism isn't something I achieve, it's something I will continuously pursue. The journey allows me to be mindful of what I'm allowing into my life.
5. It will be so worth it
I've found such peace in eliminating possessions, commitments, and negative ideas that no longer serve me. When I envision the life I want to live, it becomes easier to purge possessions or say no to a commitment that I just can't handle at the time. When I realize that I've been able to go on a walk with my family every night and eat homemade dinners of healthy food we love, letting go becomes much easier.