Questioning Yourself/stuff: The First Steps in Minimalism

Minimalism can be daunting at first. The idea of getting rid of all your accumulated “wealth” is scary to most people. It can also seem very wasteful. After all, you spent years getting all this stuff. Working for the money to buy it, spending time and effort trying to find ways to take care of it. Letting go of your possessions can be very hard to do. But the important thing to realize is that first step in minimalism isn’t getting rid of your stuff. It’s developing the right attitude towards material things.

Material possessions are tools. They are things that help you live your life. They are not the goal, or purpose in life. Possessions can help you stay alive, add value and variety to life, and give you enjoyment. But when those possessions begin to get in the way of the really important stuff in life, they start to become anchors that weigh you down.

What are the things that are most important to you? Your family? Friends? Your faith? Contributing to your community? Whatever it is that drives you in life, is your stuff helping or hindering you? How much more time and money would you have to pursue the things you are passionate about if you didn’t to work to buy things all the time? How much more time would you have to spend with God, or your loved ones? To make more meaningful relationships with your friends?

These are questions that you should ask yourself before you begin a foray into minimalism. And once you have your answers, you can begin to evaluate your possessions objectively.

-Does this item contribute to my life in a meaningful way, or is it just for entertainment or momentary pleasure?

-Do I really need this item?

-Does the sentimentality of keeping an item outweigh the stress and clutter it brings?

-Could someone else benefit from this more than I?

-How can I spend my money more responsibly?

I posed a lot of questions in this brief entry. They are questions with difficult answers to find sometimes. But they are necessary questions. Questioning yourself and then your stuff are the first steps. It is only after finding the answers and getting a right attitude towards your new minimalist lifestyle that you can be truly successful at it.

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