Minimalism: 5 Things That Changed In My Life After Living In A Van And Continuing To Practice MinimalismRead Now
Minimalism: Five Things That Changed In My Life After Living In A Van And Continuing To Practice Minimalism
Minimalism… What’s that? Minimalism is essentially the practice of getting rid of all the things you do not actually need in order to live your daily life. The goal of minimalism is to de-clutter the “things” in your life to de-clutter “your life.” Why do we care? How does this apply to art? How does this apply to health? That is what we are about to cover today so let’s dive right into five things that will change in your life if you begin to practice minimalism.
1: Organization Became Easier
You know when you get a whole mess of stuff lying around everywhere? Maybe after a move you’ve got so many boxes you just don’t know what to do with them all? Did someone say storage unit? Yea, that had me written all over it. And to be honest, I was attached to all my stuff. When you own a practice and make a living as an artist, you pretty much just want to find a use for everything, so you save it for that time that usually never actually comes. My organization could be okay, but I honestly got so overwhelmed with all my stuff I actually would procrastinate from cleaning it. It was just so much easier to close the door, avoid my studio or my office and find something else that didn’t distract me. When I started to get rid of things it became easier. Like, a lot easier. How did I do it? Well, me, my wife, and my son moved out of our three bedroom house which also had a stuffed garage and allowed ourselves one small storage unit because we wanted to hit the road in our van. So we did. We climbed into our converted van, traveled for the summer and came back to a stacked storage unit. We challenged ourselves even further.
2: More Mindfulness About What I Actually Need
After living in 76 square feet with two adults, one child and two dogs for about three months, we knew there was so much more we didn’t need. Therefore, after our travels, we ended up getting a 450 square foot apartment. We went to Ikea, got foldable furniture that we could hang on the wall when we didn’t need it, some storage hooks we could hang on the door and we got a storage cubby. On top of that, we brought in our bed that we had in the van. And now that is literally all we have to organize in a day because we figured out that was all we needed. Our storage cubby held our possessions, hot plate, pots and pans and some snacks. We challenged ourselves to be intentional about each article of clothing, each possession we held on to and the rest just went into our office if we didn’t need it every single day.
3. I Reduced My Footprint
After living in the van we became very conscious about how much water we used, how much electricity we needed and planned out our food accordingly for when we would not be near a grocery store. We did the math and actually discovered we saved literally thousands of gallons of water as a family and our van being off grid, allowed us to hardly utilize electricity. We brought those same principles back into our apartment and now we have continued to have a significantly lower carbon footprint, thus helping the environment simply be understanding what we needed and what was unnecessary.
4. I Became More Intentional
Not only did I notice I personally became more intentional of my carbon footprint, I became more intentional with my schedule. I recognized just how much time I used to waste watching TV, hanging out on social media, or filling my day with constant distractions. I even became more intentional about the relationship with my family as a result, practicing simplicity of living rather than constantly needing to consume content or external things to be entertained. We got back to just talking, enjoying one another simply with our company, and most of all, I recognized the things that I needed most in my life emotionally and spiritually.
5. I Gained Clarity
Clarity has been one of the absolute best parts about practicing minimalism. I used to point the finger, blame other things in my life for distracting me and that is not a healthy or productive way to live. When I removed my distractions, I gained clarity in all aspects of my life, including what it was that I truly wanted in my life moving forward. Practicing minimalism removes the distractions and forces us all to focus within. This concept is something from Traditional Chinese Medicine Psychology that speaks about the Destiny versus the Ego. Essentially the more focused we can be within ourselves, the easier it will be for us to follow our destined path, to find the thing we are most meant to do in this world. When our lives are filled with distractions and focus on what is outside of ourselves, the ego sets in and we actually veer off our path. This is actually the path to disease from a TCM standpoint. A simpler design, not only benefits our organization and makes life easier, it can literally boost your health. So think about it, how can you practice more minimalism in your life.
Curious to learn more about how to make your space work for you and your health? Click below to grab your copy of my book: “How To Design For A Healthy Mind & Body”