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My Journey With Minimalism and becoming debt free

I think minimalism can mean something different to everyone. There’s no set number of items within each category that you *should* have. To me, it’s about finding out what makes you happy, or as Maria Kondo would say “what sparks joy”. Some of the questions I ask myself when I’m decluttering is “do I love this?” “do I regularly use this?” “does this represent who I currently am, or does it represent someone I used to be?” “is this item taking valuable space and attention away from what I do use and love?”, just to name a few.

I’ve never had trouble getting rid of things. To be honest, I overdo decluttering at times and over the years I’ve gotten rid of a few things I wish I still had (mostly little things from memory boxes and such). I just don’t like holding onto a ton of things. I’ve also moved so much and I think that has a lot to do with it.

It’s now been a year since my last post and my journey has definitely continued to develop. My relationship with minimalism and simplifying my life feels so personal. It’s been a mental journey as much as a physical one. To be completely transparent, I still buy so much stuff. I have the money, I pay all of my cards off every month, but I still feel so much guilt. And you know what? Everything that I buy gives me that quick shot of dopamine for about 3 seconds and then it’s no longer exciting and my mind is off to the next thing that I need. I’m really proud of myself for making $1,000 debt payments every month when my minimum payment is $230 (student loans) but can you imagine if I also put the money I’m spending on online shopping and unnecessary purchases towards my debt as well? Not only would it be paid off even quicker, but I’d be able to get back to my 401k contributions and building a positive net worth.

One thing that stuck with me from a podcast that I listed to awhile back was a woman in her 80’s taking about advice she would give to her younger self. Her biggest piece of advice was to stop buying all of the clothes, make up, skin care, and all of the things you think you need, and to instead start saving early. I know what you’re thinking, “duh”, but the way she said it really hit home for me. She said we only have so many years at our maximum earning potential, and that we need to make sure that when we’re older and we’re not able to work like we used to, we need to make sure we’re prepared for that and that we have a comfortable life. It really scares me how many people aren’t worried about saving for retirement. Living off of social security checks shouldn’t be the game plan. If I can make the sacrifices now, I know that it will pay off in the future – and that’s my motivation.

When it comes to minimalism, that’s something different. So many things bring me back to minimalism. It’s less about stuff, and more about my mental health. I don’t want STUFF and THINGS to rule my life. I want more experiences and I want more gratitude for what I already have. I think so much of my life has been comparing myself to others, trying to keep up with others, being influenced, buying things thinking that they’d make me happier – but none of that has done anything for me (although I certainly needed to go through it to understand it). Life isn’t about these things and happiness will never be a destination you can reach this way. I lost a good friend this year and it was really hard. It made me think about all of the things that have gotten in the way over the years. It also made me think about what’s important to me. I want to make sure that I’m not letting time slip by and I want to live my life in a way that’s meaningful to me. I want to live with purpose and intentionality, and I want to appreciate the little things and each and every moment, never taking anything for granted.

I’m taking time this and next month to really think about what I value. Being home more often has afforded me the time to really consider these things and physically go through my possessions one by one. However, I think that mental decluttering is just as important. I’ve been doing a ton of inner-work and asking myself a lot of deep questions to understand what kind of life I want to live moving forward – it’s really been a fun process and beautiful journey. More to come, but I think this is enough for now. Thanks for reading 🙂

Where are your thoughts on these things? Let me know.

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