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It’s not too hard to end up in a situation in life where it feels as though the things you own, own you, and where your opportunities for adventure are massively restricted by the sheer number of everyday obligations and routines you have to commit to.
The worst-case scenario for many of us, is that we wake up one day, only to find that our lives have passed us by, and all that we’ve done during our short space of time on this planet has been to run around putting out fires, and doing our best to pay the bills.
One of the leading answers to this quandary, and one of the most popular lifestyle strategies for avoiding this desperate situation, is to practice minimalistic living, and to attempt to structure our lives along more intentional lines.
Not sure where to start with those things? Well, here are a few suggestions to get you on your way.
Give Your Home & Belongings A Good Once-Over, In Line With The Konmari Method
The Japanese cleaning guru, Marie Kondo, has got a lot of people’s attention recently with her Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”
In the show, she demonstrates her specific method of decluttering and tidying up, known as the “Konmari Method.”
The fundamental point of this method, is to go through all of your belongings, category by category (clothes, books, miscellaneous, sentimental items, et cetera,) and to apply a simple systematic approach, when deciding what to keep, and what to get rid of.
That approach is to hold each item in your hands, and ask yourself a simple question – “does the spark joy?”
According to the Marie Kondo method, anything that doesn’t cause you to feel a spark of joy when you hold it, needs to get thrown out.
In practical terms, it might be best to temper this method a bit, and to take a couple of other things into consideration, too. For example, you probably shouldn’t throw out any necessary medication of yours, on the grounds it doesn’t “spark joy.”
In any case, probably the fundamental point of minimalist living, that everyone is familiar with, is to begin by getting rid of excessive physical belongings.
The Konmari methodology can really help you to go through your belongings, and decide which ones should have a place in your life going forward, and which ones might best be donated to the local charity shop, given away to friends, or binned.
This method is best done quickly, in one shot. Don’t do a little bit of it today, and a bit more few months from now, and so on.
Instead begin the process as soon as you can, and keep doing it every day, until it’s done.
When you’ve limited your belongings primarily to those that “spark joy,” you’ll likely have a much tidier house, and will have much more reason to cherish your belongings, and apply good minimalist purchasing habits going forward.
I know I talk about the KonMari method a lot on my blog but it really was the best thing I ever did for our home. After trying numerous decluttering methods it was the only one that enabled me to finally get our home in order.
If you feel that the KonMari method could work for you then don’t forget to grab my free KonMari method checklist to help you with the process.
Experiment With Cutting Some Of Your Regular Expenses Out Of Your Life For 30 Days, & Trying Cheap Or Free Alternatives
There are all sorts of things that we end up spending money on, on a regular basis, without really thinking about it. Subscriptions to online streaming services, memberships to gyms that we don’t make use of, and all that kind of stuff.
Often, we end up spending a significant amount of money on these half-forgotten subscriptions – and generate a lot of stress and frustration for ourselves in connection with them — without even really realising it.
Typically, we keep these expenses in our lives out of sheer inertia, and the mistaken belief that we actually need them, even if we don’t appear to be benefiting from them in the everyday.
To see whether or not these ongoing expenses, subscriptions, and so on, actually play an important role in your life or not, experiment with cutting them out for a period of 30 days or so, to start with.
In many cases, you’ll find that you don’t actually end up needing, or even missing, these things at all, and that their “necessity” was more a matter of your own imagination than anything else.
The same 30-day “cleanse” can and should be attempted for all sorts of digital products, services, and sources of distraction, in general.
There are few things that have the power to prevent you from living an intentional life, as the endless rabbit hole of social media, which may well steal hours from your day without giving anything meaningful back in return.
Find Ways Of Saving Money On Your Regular Shopping
All of us have certain everyday expenses that can’t be avoided. Things like buying groceries, getting food for the dog (or cat,) and paying the water bill.
Instead of just accepting these expenses as they currently stand, though, you should always be on the lookout for ways to save money across these different dimensions of your life, and should look for services like NetVoucherCodes.co.uk in order to ensure that you don’t miss a good deal when it’s within easy reach.
It takes a bit of work, and time, to shop smart, and save on your everyday expenses. But, thanks to the Internet, it’s easier now than it’s ever been before – and the rewards can be more money to spend on meaningful experiences, like vacations with your loved ones.
Pick Up At Least One Creative Hobby That You Can Invest Your Time & Energy In
Everyone is a “consumer” to one degree or another. Unless you’re so incredibly productive and skilled that you can literally create everything in your own life first hand, that’s just the necessary state of affairs.
All the same, it’s not necessary to only be a consumer – or to be too much of an impulsive consumer.
Pick up at least one creative hobby that you can invest your time and energy in, and which you can take pride in, too. There’s something brilliant about creating things on your own, and seeing your hard work pay off before your eyes. And this can be an amazing thing to do, if you’re interested in living more intentionally.
You ‘hobby’ doesn’t need to be anything extreme. I’m not suggesting that you suddenly take up cave diving. It can be anything that makes you happy whether that be putting aside 15 minutes to read a chapter of a book, taking the dog for a 20 minute walk or doing some adult colouring. Whatever it is that makes you feel good try to put some time aside to do it at least once a week.
For me I love kayaking, reading, walking the dog and litter picking with the kiddies. What about you what hobby would you like to make more time for?
About Gina Caro
Gina is a content creator and award-winning blogger. Her aim is to help you live a more sustainable & simple life. Her blog covers zero waste, minimalism, wellbeing & thrift. She currently lives in Cornwall with her partner, two kids and Charles the dog.