The very first step of transitioning to a simple or minimalist lifestyle is often overlooked. When looking for the best way to start minimizing our possessions, we’re often guided towards decluttering, donating and purging. While this is absolutely a step on the simple living path, it’s not necessarily the best way to start.
The interesting part is that the first step requires absolutely nothing, no resources or time commitment. It is literally the simplest way to get started — but it certainly is not the easiest.
Ready for this?
As obvious as it may seem, the best way to start minimizing is by doing absolutely nothing. As in, not buying new things and avoiding bringing more clutter home. It requires no resources or time, and you can do it now.
That’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?
The main problem, one I’ve struggled with, is it can be quite difficult to completely put that desire to rest. I still want a shotgun microphone so that I can improve the audio quality of the vlogs I make for this site. Can you understand me and hear what I have to say in all the previous videos? Sure. It’s just not quite what I’d like it to be, and I’m going to have to be okay with that for a while.
While the basic twitch to want new things may never fully go away for those of us who struggle with it, there are forms of relief. Some of you may be familiar with how I gave up buying things so that I could travel every month in 2015. I haven’t written about it much on the Break the Twitch, but it has been my personal experiment to live an experiential lifestyle. For years, I was trading my ability to travel (one of my main passions) for small, insignificant impulse purchases. Twenty dollars here and there, that in the end added up to a lot of money.
My hope was that experiencing the change in lifestyle first hand would give me the kind of perspective shift I was looking for. By traveling more, I wanted to somehow magically ‘cure’ my desire for things, removing the need to battle that impulse regularly.
I can confidently say that my life has been more exciting, adventurous, and full of opportunities than ever before. Although it has helped realize some potential, it didn’t exactly do the trick. I hadn’t been able to articulate what made the most impact on me until this past weekend when I had the below conversation.
It happened to come up on this week’s vlog when I was discussing minimalism and generosity with my surprise host.
Your money is only as valuable as what you choose to spend it on… if you’re just spending it on new jeans, new shirts, or new televisions, then that’s all it’s worth. When you start giving it in a way that changes people’s lives… rescuing an orphan that doesn’t have any parents, and just changing the trajectory of their lives forever, you realize that your money can have eternal value and be worth so much more than just the things that you buy.
That’s the ticket. When we choose to help others with our money, it infinitely increases the value it represents. That increased value, provides a new perspective and suddenly makes that impulse purchase seem all the more unnecessary.
So to sum it up, the best way to start minimizing is to want and buy less. The best way to want less, is to use money in ways that benefit other people’s lives. This gives the money infinite potential and puts that impulse purchase into perspective.
Today, I’m going to challenge you to give away at least ten dollars to a person who may need it or a cause that you care about. Choose something that matters to you personally and see the impact that it could have on another person’s life. Leave a note in the comments and I’ll personally mail you a thank you card and, if you’d like one, a Break the Twitch ‘B/T’ sticker for your efforts.
Need somewhere to start? You could check out my fundraising page for The Hope Effect. 🙂
Let’s start changing the world together, starting now.