Becoming a Minimalist is one thing. Living the life of a Minimalist is where the real challenge begins.
I started my journey to minimalism in October 2016 and it was effortless to put stuff in bags, as I told myself they were for people in need and would end up in homes that would love, use and value them. However, it is not the ability to minimize that makes a person a Minimalist, nor is the greatest catalyst to being a Minimalist. The real struggle comes after you have decluttered your space, simplified your life, capsulized your wardrobe, contributed your possessions to charity and trashed what was left of your stuff in the most ecological fashion.
What I failed to understand then was that it was not the stuff in my apartment, the clothes in my closest, nor the objects in my life that were the problem or barrier in me adopting a Minimalist way of life. It was ME! I had never told myself, “No.” I had spent my life buying stuff. Clothes; I knew I would never wear. Food; I would never eat. Products; I would never use. It was my compulsion to buy. I was the only thing standing in my way of living a life of intentionality, mindfulness and minimalism.
This post-declutter period is the catalyst. Only the strong will survive. This was my question to myself in November 2016.
“Are you really strong enough to survive? To live with intention? To embody a minimalist way of life? To not purchase things that you want, or knowingly recognize you will not fully commit to purposely integrating into your life and will not add value to your life?”
Let’s just say, November was hell. December was hard. January was easier. Now it’s May, and although I do not fall prey to my desires, I would be lying to myself and you, if I said it was not an everyday struggle. The art of saying no to your compulsions requires commitment, focus and practice in every second, minute and hour of our day.
I share my story, because I see too many proclaimed “Minimalists,” propagating that the choice to become a minimalist is as simple as flicking off your lights at home. It is not. Your struggle is real. It is not necessarily the number of clothes that you own or objects that you possess that makes you a minimalist—it is only how we live our lives after we have decluttered our spaces and simplified our lives.