Minimalism is more than just decluttering. Its a spiritual practice

Becoming minimalist often happens out of a place of overwhelm and discontentment. It did for me. Utterly bereft of any rest and order with a cluttered home and calendar, I resigned to declutter. What I didn’t realize was that; it wouldn’t be an overnight fix, and it would become an important spiritual practice in my life.

For me, a spiritual practice is anything that supports the call to love the earth and humanity. This is a lovely broad umbrella for which many things fit under.

Walking my dog and seeing her smile, is a spiritual practice. Noticing the changing colours of the leaves in autumn is a spiritual practice. And paring back my home to just what’s necessary is a spiritual practice. 

Living with less clutter supports me to love my family and my community more. How? Because love is an action and having less to maintain and clean in my home means I have more time to love and serve those around me.

Clutter steals time

When we had more things in our home (mostly more toy clutter), it was extremely hard to clean the house. Every time I wanted to vacuum the floor it seemed I had to move a mountain of stuff before I could just run the vacuum through. 

And because we had too much stuff (multiples of the same item, things we didn’t use), and not enough storage space, things just got shuffled, and piles got higher. Sort of like a never ending game of jenga. And I’m sure you know how jenga usually ends.

So the shuffling, piling, sorting and cleaning all took at least twice as long as it needed to because it was never done thoroughly, or logically.

Time at home seemed to be spent maintaining this mess instead of spending quality time as a family.

{Read more: Stuff – your biggest time thief (and how to steal back your time)}

A contemplative decluttering practice

Minimalism hasn’t always been a spiritual practice for me. It’s been cultivated over the years as I realized it wasn’t a ‘one and done’ kind of deal.

But what grew out of that realisation was how beautiful and cathartic the regular practice of decluttering was. 

Clutter overloads of senses, increases anxiety and makes us feel stressed. If you feel stressed but can’t pinpoint why, look at your environment. It could just be the visual overwhelm causing your stress hormones to spike, rather than something potentially more sinister. 

Regularly clearing out the extras in our home in a slow and mindful way is soothing and calming. 

How to cultivate a spiritual practice of decluttering

If you don’t yet have a regular practice of decluttering but want to start, now is the perfect time.

Here are four tips for making decluttering a regular spiritual practice.

Set aside a regular time

I’m not always ‘in the mood’ for decluttering. But when I do it regularly, and experience the benefits of it, it helps to encourage me to just dive in regardless of my mood.

My rhythm is a quarterly one, in line with the seasons. Your home may need a monthly practice at the start or even less than quarterly. Maybe you tackle little spaces more regularly and things like the garage or basement just once a year. 

Minimalism is personal, find the rhythm that works best for you and your family.  

Make a plan

It always helps to have a plan rather than just putting aside 2 hours to declutter. 

Prioritise the areas that need doing and make plans for what to do with the items once they are out. I procrastinated for months – okay, let’s be honest, years – with some old electronic items because I didn’t want them landfilled.

Once I’d figured out where to take them so they could be best recycled I had no reason to procrastinate anymore!

Plan to get boxes or bags to collect the bits you are decluttering beforehand. Make it so that there are no excuses when the time arrives.

Make it special

Decluttering doesn’t need to be another household chore. Make it a special time. The process can be as satisfying as the outcome. Put your favorite music or podcast on. Light your favorite candle. Prepare a pot of tea for sustenance. 

My ritual is to have the house to myself for at least a couple of hours. I like to listen to my favorite true crime podcast and I treat myself to an extra cup of coffee.

Noticing the difference

This last tip is probably the most important one. It’s the intentional, contemplative practice of noticing the difference after the decluttering. 

Notice how your drawers are easier to open and shut without being crammed full. Perhaps it’s even easier to get dressed with less options?

Notice how the tidying before visitors isn’t such an onerous task when there’s less to pick up.

And perhaps best of all, notice how much more clarity you have. How less stressed and overwhelmed you feel.

{Read more: Noticing the Beautiful in Everyday Life (this is how I practice mindfulness)}

I regularly embrace minimalism as a spiritual practice to support the life I want to live. I want to live life, not just tidy and maintain a bunch of stuff.

Then I use the free time I have to chase my kids and my dreams. And in this way, minimalism becomes one of my most important spiritual practices. 

If you are just starting out on this journey to minimalism and a simpler life you might want to join our community. Sign up below for the free newsletter and join thousands of other like-minded people who are seeking the simple, slow and lovely.

The post Minimalism is more than just decluttering. Its a spiritual practice appeared first on Simple Slow & Lovely.

Minimalism is more than just decluttering. Its a spiritual practice