I have noticed threads on Facebook recently inquiring how long it will take to simplify lives or achieve minimalism. As you might expect, the answers are all over the place.
Minimalism or striving for a simpler life is really a personal goal. No two people are going to have the same endgame in mind, and no two people will have the same pathway for getting there. And that is totally fine!
But the Facebook conversations got me thinking, because I have been on this simplification road on and off for over 20 years now! You might interpret that as she’s just a slow learner or maybe she’s a procrastinator. But the truth is far more interesting and informative.
Life gets in the way.
Life throws curveballs
Back in 1996 I read my first book about simplifying and my whole worldview changed. Just out of graduate school and starting my first job, I had no money, and my apartment was sparsely furnished in that “college-hand-me-down” style we all know and love. I had so few belongings, it was easy to declutter my home as a first step.
The pressures of a job, studying for educational designations and licenses in my field, and trying to learn all the ins and outs of adulting required all my time. I was already beginning to see the wisdom in keeping things simple.
In the more than two decades since, I got married, started a business, adopted numerous dogs, had a baby and moved to a new house (twice), among other things. Each of those life changes brought new challenges to my lifestyle. Whether it was acquisition of new belongings or adjustments to schedules, all these new life events caused change.
While change can bring you closer to your minimalism goals, that is not always the case. I have found that in the heat of the moment, it is all too easy to forget my simplicity goals and just get ‘er done. Have you had that experience? It’s only later that you realize if you had done a few things differently, you could have stayed on track with your goal of making your life more streamlined, not more complicated!
Life throws us curveballs with unexpected new circumstances, but sometimes we choose the new circumstances. We get married or divorced, decide to have children, change careers, or move to new towns. Or maybe we make far smaller changes to our lives, like adopting new habits or hobbies that require new equipment or gear. Regardless of the reasons, changes in our lives can bring more clutter into our homes and schedules.
Decluttering is seldom a “one and done”
Because of life’s many curves and changes, numerous comprehensive decluttering projects can happen over the course of years. I can appreciate the allure of tackling the entire house and getting it completely tidy, once and for all. While some determined folks may accomplish that Herculean task, it’s likely that after a few years, you’ll need to undertake a second round of decluttering.
The truth is that having a simple life and achieving your minimalist goals requires ongoing maintenance. So, for the person inquiring online about how long this will take, the answer is tricky. Your initial decluttering of your home might take weeks, months, or even years. Just don’t forget your schedule, your busy mind, and other possible areas in need of decluttering!
Simplification doesn’t happen instantaneously. Give yourself the grace and time YOU need to get YOUR life where you want it to be. Along the way, you should also realize the ongoing need for some maintenance on the areas of your life you have already simplified. Whatever you do, don’t fret over the process seeming endless. Accept that this is the way life is.
Even a simple, minimalist life.
What has been your experience with simplifying your life or achieving your minimalist goals? Where are you on the journey? Share below! Or if you want to start a discussion with some like-minded friends, join the free SimpleMoney Community on Facebook to share your ideas!
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