Having a minimalistic life has many benefits and there is much to be said for ending our reliance on creature comforts, modern conveniences, excess and material possessions. If you are the kind of person who has three cars, loads of expensive ornaments, a massive house, lots of lavish holidays and the latest all singing computer, then you might well find that while it brings you short term happiness, it actually results in more work for you and more stress in the long run and that it leaves you with little time to spend with your thoughts or your family.
A minimalistic life is a life free of clutter, and a lightweight life that will allow you to more easily adapt to change, to up and move, or to sustain yourself when the going gets tough. And if you can make yourself content with a good book, and a less cluttered home, then you’ll likely be content no matter what happens rather than relying on outside matters.
Whether you want to go ‘full minimal’ or just cut down a little on your excess, here we will look at some tips for living the quiet life.
Read More Books
Reading more books is a great way to help you get more from your quiet evenings as it lets you ‘escape’ to another world. This is an entirely engaging way to spend an evening that doesn’t require any noise or clutter to enjoy. Taking up quiet hobbies such as gardening, drawing or building model cars can also help you to find more pleasure in quiet time alone.
Watch Less TV
The TV is really the antithesis of a minimalist life. In itself it is a very no-crucial luxury that we don’t need, but it also tends to show us images of other people living lavish lives and getting into complex social situations. Remove the television entirely from your life and it becomes a lot easier to be content with a quieter and easier existence. At the same time though you don’t have to go that far if you don’t want to – simply limiting your evenings to an hour of TV rather than five can go a long way to making the positive changes.
Have a Cleanout
If you have tonnes of boxes on wardrobes that you haven’t looked in in the last six months full of old gadgets and ornaments, then it’s time to throw them out. It might feel ruthless and it might be hard to come to terms with, but the reality is that if you haven’t used it in all that time, then you probably aren’t going to ever. At the same time there are probably many more items that you could get rid of around your home – for example if you have a lot of ornaments around your home then you could probably stand to get rid of a lot of them and it would actually improve the decorating rather than detract from it as it would mean the items on display were your pick of the crop and they would get more focus as a result. Then getting rid of things like unnecessary crockery will give you more space in your cupboards and prevent your washing up from building up over time. Have a huge clear out and don’t be afraid to be ruthless (worst case scenario – you can buy it back) and the chances are that you will feel incredibly liberated as a result.
One in One Out
Once you’ve bitten the bullet and thrown out all the things you don’t need, the next challenge is to keep things that way. One technique to help you accomplish this is to come up with a rule of ‘one in one out’ so that every time you spend money and buy a new item, you are going to get rid of something old that you own in order to make more space for it. This will save you money, keep your home less cluttered, and also make you think twice before acting on impulse. Another tip is to make a rule that you need to go away and think about any purchase before you go ahead, as this way you will often find that it was an emotional gut reaction and you don’t really need it.
Make Useful Systems
By this I mean systems to help you with your washing up, to help you with your tidying and to ensure you get your work done on time. Sometimes life feels too much because we have piles of washing up to do and because the carpet is covered in dust. By creating a strict routine that will keep your home clean and quiet you can feel more relaxed mentally (because you’re not surrounded by dirt and clutter) and you can get more time to relax and read.
Limit Your Outings
If your social calendar is currently a whirlwind of social events, classes and business meetings, then it’s time to start cutting down. You can do this by making the rule that you can only go out two or three times a week which will make you pick and choose your activities more carefully (this also requires you learn to say no). At the same time you also need to look at whether you can keep all of your current social ties – as although it might sound unkind, sometimes your contacts book just needs to be streamlined so that you can get a little more you time.
We are very used to getting constant stimulation at the moment we are all on the verge of sensory overload from our phones, computers, televisions, music and more. Meditation is focussed on spending some time in quiet solitude to reflect on your own thoughts, and this can help you get back to basics and to learn to switch off.