Minimalism With A Twist

For me, minimalism isn’t just about how many things I own or how I choose to live in my physical space. My choice to live a more minimalist lifestyle runs much deeper than how many shoes I have piled up in my closet. My creativity and how I choose to be myself in the world are so deeply rooted in the connection I make within my own space. This creativity pours out into my mind, body, and physical scope of my life. Plus, living a more minimalist life doesn’t have to feel restrictive or boring when we choose to tailor it to our own unique style.  It can fit into our own definition of what an outside-of-the-box approach looks like. It’s simple. Less things, less waste, less cleaning, less trying to fit in, less stress, and less consumerism equal more opportunities to show up in the world as our most authentic self.


This might seem counterproductive but, I keep empty decorative boxes in various rooms in my home. I’m not talking about your old Amazon order boxes or the box your new iron came in but, boxes you enjoy seeing every day. It isn’t about filling them up with stuff but, knowing they represent potential possibilities in every area or your life. Sometimes, I add wishes to the boxes but, I never fill them with random things. The boxes also represent a willingness to live “outside the box” of what society thinks is normal-- like the idea of needing more stuff to be successful, happy, and respected. You decide what you choose to bring in and out of your mind, body, and physical space.  


Practice looking for your space’s story. Yes, my speckled robin’s egg ceramic pie dish always reminds me that I can be more cheerful and that there’s always room to fly from the comfort of my nest to try new things. I flipping love what that pie plate represents.  For many of us, we grow up in homes with cupboards stuffed to the max with several versions of the same thing. It’s often not a joyful celebration when the seventh plastic container lid doesn’t fit or we can’t find our crock pot because it’s buried under our three extra blenders. Host a goodbye party for all your “extra” home items and wish them well as you donate them to someone else’s “story”. Only keep the material items that remind you to grow within the chapters of your life. If you really want to remember that item create a digital photo folder and snap pictures of it. Items that may be sentimental or tell a good story but, aren’t worth keeping around because they take up too much space make great photo opportunities. You may also consider keeping a small swatch of fabric from quilts, old concert t-shirts, etc. in a small box to help you make small steps toward minimalism.


Start by meditating for one minute a day and build up to ten minutes in ten days. We carry around so many thoughts with us on a daily basis that life can start to feel cluttered and overwhelming-- no matter how little physical items we own. Start by taking several cleansing breaths. While inhaling, think or say, ‘I breathe in life’ while exhaling, think or say, ‘I breathe out what cannot be changed’. Then, practice sitting with your breath and coming back to it as your mind very normally wanders from to-do lists, new ideas, and anxious or worried thoughts.


Traveling light is one of the best ways to connect with your free spirit in a fun way that invites us to dive even deeper into a minimalist lifestyle. Bring a small duffel type bag and only pack a few items you absolutely love, while leaving the rest behind. Concentrate on your experience and not your luggage. Feeling really brave? Bring the outfit you feel most radiant in and where it every day while away.


We often don’t think of food waste when it comes to leading a life of minimalism but, it’s right there under our noses the whole time. Take one week and practice going to the grocery store every day and only buying what you need for that day and nothing extra. Take extra time while preparing your meal and notice how much less cluttered your pantry and refrigerator are after this little experiment. Have a conversation with the people in your life about food waste and the journey our food makes to find its way to our table. I wonder who picked these ruby red cherries I’m enjoying so much….


Taking technology fasts and reconnecting with nature is an awesome way to make space in your life for new experiences. Try going off all digital devices for 24 hours. Every time you have the urge to log-in, ask yourself, “why is this important to me?”  and physically go outside of your home to reflect. At the end of 24 hours cleanse your social media accounts of any friend, acquaintance, or business you don’t feel a real connection to.


Practice saying this out loud. No! Did you say it? This may feel odd as it rolls of your tongue but, practicing saying no before actually needing to say no is a great way to be ready when the time is right. Say it out loud, say it in the mirror, sing it in the shower-- just slowly begin decluttering your calendar by only saying yes to the things in life that make you feel most alive. Can you shout out an enthusiastic “confetti toss!” when saying yes to someone’s request? If not, it’s probably a wise no.


Different people have different ideas about what minimalism means to them but, this isn’t a one size fits all idea. Only have so many items at one time. Declare a clutter free zone. Never have doubles of anything. While these rules make sense because we probably don’t need four different lasagna dishes, on occasion they are made to be broken. We may clear out most of our excess kitchen items and only keep the three tea pots that make us feel the most connected to the happiness we feel when we practice tea sipping self-care. When we take the time to enjoy peppermint tea it reminds us of feeling alive and ready to go out into the world. The three tea pots then make sense to the way we uniquely view what it means to be a minimalist. Minimalism rules can and should be broken to invite the experience to be all your own.

Gina Bell