Anthony’s Note: Thanks to Bridget Baker for this guest post! For more from Bridget, you can check out MinimalistMojo.com and her Pinterest.
Everything just feels like it’s falling into place. You’re focused, you’ve got clarity, and your relationships are working. You’re feeling it. You’re in the flow. Oh, look at you; you’ve got your mojo on!
Then, something happens. These shiny new opportunities that are growing in your life start to turn into you being busier, having less time for creative pursuits, and feeling utterly overwhelmed. Your to-do-lists have to-do lists, and what seemed like a good idea has now become a source of stress and frustration. How’d you get here again?
Clutter and chaos do not usually happen overnight. Piece of paper by piece of paper, your desktop papers turn into a mountain of documents. A closet of clothes that fit you and that you love becomes shoved to the gills with things you bought, thinking they’d make you feel better or that you just had to have to get that perfect work-from-home loungewear look dialed in.
If you’re feeling like you can’t get your confidence back, it may be time for a lifestyle shift. If everything becomes important, then it’s hard to tell what really matters from what’s in the way. It ALL feels like a priority, and somewhere along the way, you lost your sense of self, your sense of joy, and your purpose.
It may be time to embrace a minimalist lifestyle.
I bet you’re thinking: “What? How could only having 33 items of clothing or stark white walls get me feeling fabulous again?” Well, it’s not just about the “stuff.”
Let’s start with what I mean by the term minimalism, first. While minimalism started out as a design movement in the 1920s, it became known as a lifestyle after the recession of 2008 forced many people to downsize and reevaluate their lives. Minimalism is not a religion, nor a cult, and does NOT mean you have to live like a monk with a fancy backpack and a digital nomad life. It IS a way to look at decluttering, organizing, simplifying, and living a more fulfilling life with less. This means less stress, less clutter, less overwhelm, or less of what you don’t want, so you can focus on and be available for more of what you DO want.
You can embark on a minimalist lifestyle in several ways, but making the shift involves a letting go—from the physical to the mental—and strategies for staying conscious and aware of what you let into your life. I recommend starting with what you want first. If you’ve got lots of clutter in your way, it may be difficult to see what is important.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, the last thing you may want to do is to take the time to clean out your email inbox or declutter your closet. Take a breath, put it on your calendar, and make the time. Taking the time for you makes you more available to the people you care about. Living simply and being organized can increase your productivity, your well-being, and your joy. It may even make you more fun to be around!
Start small. Pick one area of your house, set a timer for an hour, and go for it. You may feel resistant at first or ashamed of how cluttered things may have gotten. Keep reminding yourself that step by step, it will get done. If you don’t have an entire weekend to devote to decluttering, don’t haul every single item of clothing out of your closets and purge all at once. It may be best for you to play a game like the mins game, or try some other popular decluttering methods, so you can take the slow and steady approach to get it done.
What works for one person may not work for you, and there is no one set rule book for minimalism. If it’s in your way, you don’t love it, or you don’t need it, let it go. It really is that simple. It may help to crank up some music, enlist the help of a friend, and to celebrate the wins as you go, reminding yourself it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Also, you’ll want to create strategies to keep your space decluttered so that you don’t find yourself right back where you started. I left myself no out by moving into a travel trailer and selling all our furniture, rather than storing it, but that may be a little too extreme for you. 😉
Again, find what works for YOU and stick with it.
When you move what doesn’t work, what doesn’t inspire you, or what doesn’t have room in your life out of the way, you can get your mojo back. Your confidence increases, and you can shine, free of the pile of clutter—physical, or proverbial—that’s been standing in your way. The world needs that special magic that you’ve got to offer, and when you simplify your life, you can take better care of yourself and do more of what you love. And, let’s face it, we all need each other these days more than ever.