A lot of people who feel the urge to live minimally- struggle with it. In society today, we are constantly blasted with buy, consume, buy more, buy BIGGER, buy BETTER! It is every where we look. When we were children, watching cartoons with our bowl of cereal, commercials told us what toys were the coolest and showed us how much fun we would have with them. Then, as teenagers- magazines told us what to wear and how to look. “Buy this and you can look and be the best!” I believe, kids growing up these days have an even harder time. Everywhere they go they have a tv in their pocket. They are forced to watch ads while watching gaming videos, or scroll through ads while on social media. I know my kids struggle with unhealthy consumerism and thinking that “things” will make them happy.
I really want everyone who is struggling with minimalism to know that in the end it is worth the struggle! I made a list of our 3 biggest struggles while obtaining a minimalism lifestyle and how we conquered them.
The biggest struggle for me was knowing where to start! One day I would want to just start throwing crap away, the next I was so overwhelmed by all my crap that I wouldn’t do anything! After months of doing it on my own, it occurred to me that I can’t be the only one who feels this way.
So, Eugene and I created RobinGene’s Weekly Minimalism Challenge Group. It’s totally free because we are so happy with our new lifestyle that I can’t imagine asking people to pay money to help them get started. We have weekly challenges for your house and yourself (what we call “internal minimalism”) to keep you motivated! We connect you with people who are just like you and want to break free from the consumer mentality that we all struggle with!
Consumer mentality is the expectation that goods and services will be available to satisfy your needs. We live in a society where there is a thin line between our needs and our wants. We are all consumers. But, to be stuck in a unhealthy consumer mindset where we think buying things is making us “happy”- is truly a sad way to live. I am 100% guilty of buying things, out of selfishness. Anyone else that has, if they are honest with themselves, has also felt the small twinge of guilt after you realize it did not make you happy or you overspent and are “out of luck” until your next paycheck. If you Google search, “how can I buy happiness with money”- you actually get 3 really good answers (to my complete surprise).
Here’s Googles answers:
- Pay for services that give you more free time. (Minimalism does this for free, btw)
- Spend money on others…
- Buy experiences, not stuff…
To live minimally, we have to start building a healthy attitude towards consumerism. It is not easy to stop buying things just because you want them, or because “they would look cute”, or they will make you happy (for a day or two). We have to stop believing that our things determine our worth. This is why in the beginning of our Minimalism Challenge Course, we write down why we are choosing a minimal lifestyle and we post it to our Facebook group page. It helps hold us accountable and we find more reasons posted by other people! We are told every day that buying things make us happy. Billboards, commercials, magazines, ads on this blog page! Buy, buy, buy. Consume, consume, consume. It is what we do, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here’s a great blog post about consumer vs producer. It’s a short but good read on the benefits of being a producer rather than just a consumer. You can find true happiness, as a producer in life. You won’t ever find it as just a consumer, because the truth is- true happiness comes from giving not taking.
3) Letting Go of Sentimental Items
This one is the hardest for me. I really had to get it through my head that memories were not tied up in these items. The memories were in my head, not in the item. The Minimalists have a great video, called “The Art of Letting Go”. It really put everything in to perspective for me. These guys are my minimalism heroes and I definitely recommend watching, following, “fan-girling” them.
I did make a sentimental box for each of my boys. In it holds my favorite drawings and school projects, gifts from school they had made for me, a flash drive with all of our families pictures and a couple outfits and their baby blanket. Only stuff that would mean something. Not stuff they are going to have to figure out what to do with (or make them feel guilty about throwing away) when I die.
Minimalism is not just easy-going, care-free, fun stuff. It is a lifestyle, and life-changing! Less stress, more time, freedom! Less cleaning, more money, brilliance! Once you get through the hard parts and all the work, you are going to feel the benefits. My dad once told me, “You can never be a better person if you aren’t uncomfortable first”. We don’t change unless there is pressure, and pressure is uncomfortable. If you are feeling the pressure of all your “things” and are ready for freedom, click here and sign up today. It’s gonna be amazing!