This is all about what I l have learned after 4 years as a Minimalist. It was almost 4 years ago that I decided to move out of my mum’s apartment and to New York City. I donated and sold almost everything I owned, I packed it all up into a big suitcase and a carry-on and moved to New York City to intern at an e-commerce startup.
After my internship I moved to London, a city I always wanted to love in, and after living there for two years I joined my man in New York City. None of this would happen if it wasn’t for minimalism and frugal living.
Minimizing my possessions and focusing on what’s truly important has been life changing for me. This post is all about what I have learned after 4 years as a Minimalist.
1. Validating needs versus wants is life changing
Needs include things like food, water, shelter, and clothing – the very basics that are essential to ones well-being. A want, is simply something that people desire to have and that they may not even need. I think you get the idea.
Whenever I am about to buy something I take a closer look at it: Do I need this item or do I simply want it without really needing it? Looking deep at your needs and wants can be an absolute game changer.
2. Letting go of stuff gets easier and easier
I move a lot. Since 2014 I moved roughly 10 times! Every time I move I declutter a little – I let go of anything bulky and heavy and I sell and donate things I no longer need.
I also always need to make sure that everything fits into my suitcase and carry-on luggage and does not exceed the set weight limitis (if I happen to move via plane).
I always make sure to really only move with what’s essential.
3. Spacious places are for humans, not stuff
This is one of the biggest lessons from what I have learned after 4 years as a Minimalist. I love space, just empty space with lots of natural light. I’ve realized that I am not so fond of furniture and that I can do without what you’ll find at most conventional western homes.
When I decided to move to New York City in 2014 I sold all my furniture and seeing every piece go, bit by bit, was like a breath of fresh air. My room was so much better with so little furniture in it.
That’s when I realized that all I really need is something to sleep on (a yoga mat, a blanket, etc.) and something where I can put my clothes and belongings. That’s it.
I love space – space for doing yoga, space for hanging out, space for my friends. Lots of space for my stuff? No, thank you.
4. Less stuff, less stress
I am someone who tends to get stressed out rather easily and I’ve come to understand that the fewer items I have, the better I feel.
Knowing that everything has its place and knowing where everything is gives me a tremendous sense of peace.
Prior to my big purge in 2014 my material possessions were cluttering up my life and the things I was holding on to (think books) were a burden.
Freeing myself of what I didn’t need gave me my sanity back.
5. New things aren’t as satisfying
I used to browse sites like ASOS for new clothing on an almost daily basis. Yes, daily. I was always browsing their “New In” section to see if they had gotten anything pretty, anything I’d like. I would put things on my wishlist and whenever they were running a sale I’d place an order.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t spending a whole bunch of money on clothing. I was saving a lot of money at the time to move out. However, I was spending a considerable amount of money on clothing, money that would have been better spend on travel.
I still enjoy buying a new (or used) t-shirt or a new (or used) pair of leggings, however, I do so because I actually need it. Meaning my previous top or bottom may no longer be wearable nor repairable.
I also buy used whatever I can, from clothing to electronics and always get a kick out of it whenever I find something I was looking for at a bargain price.
6. Change can be embraced with ease
As a kid I remember struggling with change. Whether it was a change in my environment or a change in some of my relationships, it took me a while to adjust.
Now that I really only own what I value I find it a lot easier to deal with the ups and downs of life.
I ‘ve got so much more mental space and clarity that I can deal with whatever life throw’s at me and I’ve grown to love change.
While I still sometimes find myself struggling with change, it’s gotten so much easier.
7. Greater awareness + confidence
Letting go of everything I didn’t need gave me a chance to dive deeper. It gave me an opportunity to truly explore.
I got in touch with likes and dislikes, my wants and needs and everything in-between.
Since becoming a minimalist I’ve gone vegan and started my ashtanga yoga home practice.
Getting rid of everything that wasn’t serving me in my life gave me a huge confidence boost. Furthermore, a whole lot of clarity.
8. Small moments are everything
Small moments of joy is what I live for.
Cooking with friends and family, drinking tea after a long and cold day and a smile from a stranger. Long hugs, the smell of freshly baked cookies and passionate kisses. It’s those tiny little moments that all our life’s are made up of that I truly cherish.
Minimalism has helped me to truly appreciate every single day and I am forever grateful because of that.
9. Relationships are precious
Minimalism allows me to be more present. It gives me the opportunity to focus on what I truly cherish: my friends and family.
Decluttering and letting go of all that excess helped me with freeing up time, energy and mental space.
I am so much more appreciative of everyone around me.
10. Adventure calls my name louder than stuff
I always loved traveling and yet I was spending a considerate amount of time on buying clothing. Clothing that I didn’t really need.
Today, I am solely focused on experiences. I am researching countries I would like to visit and meals I’d like to cook.
My focus has completely shifted and I feel so much better.
This was my post about what I have learned after 4 years as a Minimalist.
More minimalism content:
- What I’ve learned from living out of a suitcase
- The best minimalist sneaker
- What I packed for one year of travel
- How I afford to travel and move (& how you can too)
- Minimalism is a privilege
- My minimalist travel wardrobe
Updated: November 2018