introversion & minimalism

plant-2004483_1920.jpgAs an introvert, I’m easily overwhelmed. Put me in a loud, busy, crowded room and my brain quickly becomes fuzzy and sluggish. Similarly, if my place is cluttered and messy, it’s hard to find peace of mind. One thing that has really helped is minimalism.

Minimalism isn’t about living out of a backpack, or only owning 10 things. It’s about keeping only things that add purpose or value to your life. Imagine opening a kitchen drawer and being able to find exactly what you need without digging. Or opening your closet and creating an outfit with all your favourite clothes. It’s like that.

theminimalists.com (one of my favourite resources) defines minimalism this way:

“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”

I first discovered minimalism a couple of years ago. I had moved four times in two years and having to pack up things I never used got old pretty fast. I was also transitioning from a retail job (casual wear) to an office job (business casual wear). There were a few things that carried forward but most of my wardrobe became superfluous. I eventually went on a massive “get rid of everything I don’t need” party.

As a minimalist, I live in a tidy little apartment. I have throw blankets, pillows, art on my walls, plants, and candles. Books line my shelves. But I no longer have piles of useless things that serve no purpose. As a result, I’m a lot more content. Here are a few benefits to minimalism:

1. Peace of mind.
By getting rid of clutter, and keeping only things that have value or purpose, I’m no longer faced with piles of stuff sitting on all available surfaces. I love it. I can sit in my clean and tidy living room with a book, light a candle, and just enjoy the peace and quiet of the room. I never realized how stressed out stuff made me feel, until it was gone.

2. It’s cathartic.
Getting rid of things you don’t need feels amazing. It isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially if it’s something nostalgic, but it’s worth it. I had so many things, some from 10 years ago, that I was moving from place to place but never used. If I haven’t used something in 6 months, there’s a good chance I won’t use it ever (I’m looking at you, ice skates from middle school).

3. Focus on priorities.
When you’re sorting through your personal items, it forces you to think about what’s really important. Do I really need to keep that grad dress that I only wore once, doesn’t fit anymore, and sits in my closet? Not really. Plus, when you’re no longer focused and distracted by material items, you can spend your time on the important things in life: family, friends and personal connections.

4. Cleaning is easier.
When you don’t own a lot of stuff, your place automatically looks cleaner and tidier with much less work. A friend stops by unexpectedly? No problem, your place already looks good to go. You also have less things to move when dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, etc. It’s awesome.

What are some of your thoughts?