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Mental Shift: How to Move Past the Honeymoon Phase of Minimalism

Let's face it. The idea of being a minimalist oftentimes dies quickly once the actual act of being one is put into practice. It's easy to sit back and watch documentaries like Minimalism or read books like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and feel a sense of overwhelming motivation to throw everything away and keep our closets and rooms and lives simple until a few months roll by and... we lose the motivation. It's just a lot easier to talk about it than to do it.

Oftentimes, the motivation isn't strong enough to withstand the pressures to buy new things. It's especially difficult to say "betah not" when faced with the excitement of new seasons, sales and styles. Those home decor isles at Target are some of the worst culprits. It's so hard to say no to that mid-century mirror but it can be done. Promise.

So what to do? How do you get past the honeymoon phase of being a minimalist and make it a life-long pursuit? Here are three tips that I've put into practice over the past year. Now, I only buy something if I REALLY want it - meaning I know I'm going to wear it out or use it out until I can't anymore.

  1. Try to keep your emotions in check when your favorite store has a sale. Ask yourself, if I buy this new swimsuit because it's a smoking deal -- will I actually wear it more than once or twice? If your answer is yes, and it seems to be made to last then consider it an investment piece. If your not going to wear it out, leave it on the rack! Chances are you're going to forget about it by the time you get home if you were purchasing on a whim.
  2. Another way to withstand retail pressures is to leave the store. Look around, try things on and then leave without buying them if you're luke-warm. If you REALLY want it then you'll go back and buy. If you didn't love it, then odds are you'll keep walking. Walking away from the so-called deal because you know it will only take up space in your closet. Truly, I believe this could be one of the most freeing things you try this year. The more you do it, the more you'll keep doing it and by the time you know it, leaving stores without buying a thing will become a habit. The only way you'll end up buying something is if it's too amazing to pass up and then that thing will become one of your favorite pieces. This works for jewelry, clothing, home decor, you-name-it. Don't go into a retail store with the same attitude anymore!
  3. When it comes to shopping online, things get a little trickier. It's hard to say no when it's available with the touch of a button. Literally, one touch or swipe once you put in your checkout credentials once. They make it TOO easy on us. So here's what you can do. Leverage step one from above. If you think you'll get use out of the product (be honest with yourself) then consider it an investment. If you find yourself ordering things because you love the feeling of receiving packages at your desk at work then you're buying stuff for the wrong reason.

I've been practicing these three tips for the past year and I've had a much easier time finding things that I love and that I wear out - completely.

Leave a comment below and let me know how you're seeking out minimalism as a life-long pursuit. I'd love to hear what's working well for you!

RELATED POST: Minimal Mindset: Living Within Our Means

Mindful Living Is

To me, mindful living is something that has a fundamental meaning but manifests itself in various ways during different times in a month or a year. Lately, mindful living for me has been:

  • Thinking about my day before I get up in the morning
  • Eating more grains
  • Appreciating the sunshine
  • Cherishing moments with my husband and my dog, Roo
  • Indoor gardening

Minimal Mindset: Living Within Our Means

Part of being a minimalist, or in my case, starting to live like one is becoming aware of comparison. I know a handful of people (and have been guilty of it myself) who compare their small houses to their neighbors' big ones. Their old, yet paid off car, to someone's new leased one. Having lived in LA I've observed people who love, love to drive fancy cars. Have you seen where many of them live? The house doesn't align with the car parked in front of it.

I had the pleasure of meeting Tony Hsieh a few years ago. In case you don't know he's the one who started that little brand called Zappos. After meeting him I was completely shocked and really surprised to see how humble and unassuming he is. According to reports, Hsieh is worth almost $1 billion. He lives in a normal, yet nice apartment and wears the same t-shirts as you and I. If Tony, one of the most successful businessmen and pioneers of company culture ever, can live under his means then I've got something to shoot for because it's working out for him. He's got a bigger picture in mind. He keeps what's most important as his focus and disregards what would be relatively frivolous for anyone at his level.

We may not all be business masterminds but I think we can apply his minimal approach to our own lives. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating we all drive junky cars and eat ramen. Talk to my husband about this and he'll tell you how I really want a Volvo XC 90 as our future family car. What I am saying is let's not compare our "lack" of stuff to someone else's abundance and maybe we can aim to live slightly below our means instead of spending money we don't have on stuff we don't need to impress people we don't know or shouldn't care about impressing in the first place.

The Beginning

I've created this space to document my journey as I look for ways to kick the endless pursuit of consumerism to the curb and make a path out of less instead of more. The way I see it, we've got nice stuff in front of us all the time- fine dining, clothes, fancy houses and the compelling notion that we need it all. That's made up pressure, people. We actually don't.

I'm on a journey to share what I find while living a more minimal life. I've always found joy in the essentials but now it's time I try for something more- or rather less- for myself and my family.