When I finally started telling my friends that I was becoming a minimalist,
the reactions were priceless.
* “You mean you have to sell all your stuff?”
* “What does that even mean?”
* “Why would YOU want to do THAT?”
* “You’ll be over it in six months…”
* “I could never do that!”
* “I like shopping too much!”
* “Won’t you get bored?”
* “You have 3 kids, you can’t live out of a backpack!”
* “What about your kids? They deserve a life!”
* “You’ll change your mind…”
* “How do you do that?”
And later when they discovered that I wasn’t losing my mind, that I wasn’t getting over it, and I wasn’t suggesting that I live a deprived, nomadic life:
* “I wish I could live like you!”
* “I can’t buy you anything for Christmas!!”
* “You aren’t stressed like everyone else. I’m so jealous!”
* “Can you teach me how to clean out my stuff?”
* “You seem so much happier.”
Finally, when the dust cleared and everything I didn’t need had been addressed, the people around me that weren’t becoming minimalists got it and I relaxed.
Some people are held back from becoming a minimalist because they are afraid that they won’t fit it, that loved ones won’t understand, or that they will be labeled a geek. They worry that living without all that stuff will be painful and not worth the effort it takes to clean up their lives. Fear takes hold of them and holds them immobile, unable to go on. Judging the outside of minimalism creates fear.
Maybe they are right.
Becoming a minimalist takes a change in mindset. If you are still viewing it as completely painful you probably aren’t ready for anything more than clearing just a bit of clutter. But if looking at most of your possessions creates more anxiety than it does pleasure, you can just keep going with few regrets or misgivings. Minimalism isn’t meant for everyone. If you are pursuing it because everyone else is doing it, you might want to delve further and check your reasoning.
This lifestyle does change a person. It even sneaks up on you. You become intolerant of self-induced stress and chaos created by others. You find ways to improve other aspects of your life such as your health and your mind. Once you have all that space in front of you, it makes you see things clearly and make a good life.
Clearing clutter doesn’t just happen in your home or your car. Most of the time people start with their home, clearing out the extras and moving onto the essentials. Then they find the other areas of their life are cluttered with time- wasting relationships, activities,or obligations. This is when it gets harder to examine what you really need and ease out of the rest. In the end, the peace is worth it and you realize that this life is not just about stuff.
Becoming a minimalist isn’t magical. Sometimes it isn’t easy if you aren’t ready but it is fulfilling and it does make a difference in a life- your life if you choose.