Google minimalism and look at the images that come up, friend.
Seriously, I'll wait while you do.
*hums the Star Wars Imperial March and twiddles thumbs while waiting*
OK, so what did you notice about the photos you scrolled through?
A lot of white, neutrals, and wide open space, right?
And if that's your thing, there's nothing wrong with that. I salute people who've managed to live with less than 100 things; it's a difficult thing to achieve.
But what if you looked at those shots and thought they weren't doable?
Even getting rid of half of your stuff wouldn't get your living room looking like that!
If that's what minimalism's all about, you think. it's way too hard.
It's just not practical to live like that everyday.
And you know what? You're right.
For most of us, it would be complicated to downsize to that level and maintain it. It would take up a lot of mindspace and energy. It would be really stressful.
Since this website's all about simple not stressful, that wouldn't be what we're aiming for, would it?
The thing is...
Minimalism in real life doesn't actually have rules like "Have less than x amount of things." or "Don't own a TV."
Ideas like that help you simplify your life, but they're not a measure of how minimalist you are.
Minimalism's about so much more, my friend.
Like what, Daisy?
I'm glad you asked.
What is minimalism?
Basically, minimalism is about filling your everyday with the things, people, and values that matter to you.
Yeah, you often let go of stuff on the road to minimalism, but only so they don't distract from what you love about your life.
Because the endpoint of minimalism isn't what you get rid of; it's what you decide to keep at the end of the day.
You might let go of clothes that don't fit anymore so when you open your closet, everything you see in it is your favorite thing.
Or you might stop feeding your shopaholic habit so you can save money for something you really want.
You give up the old so you can focus on what's important to you.
With that change, you bring more joy into your life.
How does that meaning make minimalism doable?
Well, noticed the word I kept repeating when we were talking about the meaning of minimalism?
What you give up. What you want to keep. What you decide.
You get to choose what's important to you, and get rid of the rest. And since we all have different priorities, that makes minimalism different for everyone.
You don't have to reach for the ideal those images in Google look like if you don't want to. Instead, you can be practical.
You can cultivate an everyday minimalism that simplifies your day and makes your life easier.
It doesn't have to be perfect; you just have to make progress.
Here's how I did that with my dressing table this month.
My morning routine has always been stressful. It involves a lot of digging through random stuff to find everything from earrings to eyeliner.
And as you can see from the shot below, I do mean random stuff.
It took so long to dig through everything that sometimes, I just didn't bother. I'd go straight out the door right after my shower without even running a comb through my hair. I'd feel frumpy throughout the day, but I just couldn't deal with it.
For No Mess Monday, I pared down my dresser to what I actually used.
I mentioned earlier that minimalism is about keeping what you care about, and you'll see that in play here.
If you've met me in person, you'll know I love my quirky earrings, for example. They're a trademark of my look, and I love wearing a different pair of animals everyday.
Before the purge, I'd end up wearing the same sets over and over since the others were buried at the bottom of the pile. Downsizing to my favorites and organizing them with buttons has meant a few beloved ones have seen the light of day again.
That includes the weird earring I was looking for back when I admitted I had a hoarding problem.
You might say I have a lot of earrings, and that doesn't seem minimalist.
And that may be true for you if you don't wear them. In my case, I love and use each pair, so I choose to keep them.
That's an example of what I mean when I say minimalism in real life is different for everyone.
That last photo is another way I've chosen to adapt minimalism to my everyday.
I've said I'm a recovering hoarder. One of my old habits was buying multiples of products I liked using.
Say I found a new favorite lipstick, my mind would run like this:
Overuse of exclamation points aside, my thought process was pretty irrational. Especially when I was buying brands I'd seen in the shops for years (read: not exactly hard to find). Buying more than I needed also got pretty expensive.
So I gave up the habit, but I still had all the products I'd bought before that.
Ideal minimalism guides me to get rid of everything but everyday minimalism gently reminds me creating less waste is important to me. Getting rid of these products then buying them again when I need more goes against that philosophy.
Instead, I've given away the products I know I won't be using again - deciding which is which involves brutal honesty, by the way - and kept the rest. I'll slowly be using up what I already have, while promising myself not to buy more of anything until I run out.
Eventually, that drawer will be empty. More importantly, it will stay empty since I'm no longer hoarding extras.
It's a simple and practical plan. And it fits into my everyday.
It hasn't only been about having a tidier table though.
Applying minimalism to my dressing table also made my life better.
My morning beauty routine is wayyyy easier. It takes less time (10 minutes, if you're curious!), I'm less frustrated in the mornings, and I look more put together.
The clutter that used to distract me from getting ready for the day is gone. I never wonder where things are anymore, and I can see what I need right when I want to use it.
Surprisingly, this has even helped me at work.
Working in a corporate sales job means I go through meetings, interviews, and the occasional speaking engagement. Showing up for them while not looking my best isn't exactly confidence-building. Nor is it fun to watch myself on TV (or YouTube) looking like a hot mess beside a dolled up celebrity host.
I know we often hear we don't need to look put together to be beautiful, but I've found looking my best helps me bring my best self to the table.
With my streamlined morning routine, I worry less about how I look in these situations and focus more on my job. It's a little thing, but I love how it's added something positive to my day.
I hope you benefit from minimalism in the same way, friend.
Because everyday minimalism doesn't have to look magazine-perfect. It just has to fit you right now, so you can stop stressing about the unimportant and go after the things you really want.
You with me?
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