by: LaTonya Simon
Barbara Owens began her journey on becoming a minimalist four years ago.
It all started with the Louisiana flooding in 2016. Anxious and overwhelmed with repairing and moving, Owens began thinking of ways she could make things simpler for herself and her family.
Overcoming the painful reality of all they lost was the biggest challenge, but shortly after they began to donate items to different organizations in order to make more space for new stuff. In a short time, Owens was finally able to park her car in the garage.
Minimalism is different for everyone. Owens credits the clearing of clutter from her home with her newly found interest in organizing. “Clearing the clutter from my home, allowed me to clear some of the clutter in my mind,“ she said. Owens says her home began to feel cleaner and the air inside felt cooler. She realized the value of having less clutter, and she wanted more of it.
Owens’s slow start at becoming a minimalist became more aggressive when she started selling stuff on ebay and through Facebook Marketplace. She also donated many items to different charities and organizations. She filled old purses with feminine hygiene products and gave them to homeless women. She instructed members of her family to donate gently worn items to their friends or donated them to less fortunate individuals in the community. Owens stated, “The gratification of helping someone in need felt better than the “stuff ”ever made us feel.”
“Becoming a minimalist is gratifying, but not easy,” Owens said.
Attaching ourselves to things is a consumer mindset, and it can be a hindrance if we are not careful. Consumption of things provides a temporary false sense of satisfaction and excitement in people.
“Freeing up different avenues in your life can lead to more rewarding experiences with family, friends and most importantly yourself,” said Owens.
Contrary to popular belief, becoming a minimalist isn’t just about getting rid of things. A minimalist lifestyle is about rearranging your thoughts on stuff, learning how to create habits that simplify your life, and better manage your time. Clearing the clutter from your brain, deliberately finding ways to alleviate stress are also functions of minimizing. According to an article published in Psychology Today, “Having mental peace helps to alleviate distractions,” which allows the brain to focus on more productive things, which in turn makes the individual happier.
The benefits of becoming a minimalist can have a positive effect on many areas in an individuals’ life. The minimalist lifestyle has helped Owens with her finances, by helping to eliminate debt. When discussing her accomplishments since becoming a minimalist, she said, “I am now able to pay a little more towards my auto loan, which will help me pay that off faster,” Owens says.
According to Owens, she was able to develop a budget, and finally able to save a little money every month. “We eat out less because I have more time to prepare more healthy and filling meals,” she added. She explained how she saves money on food also because she knows what is in the pantry and refrigerator. Owens also added her family spends more time together find ways to enjoy each other without spending a lot of money. Owens commented, “My family is happier now, by simply having less.”
Victoria Alexander, a student at Southeastern University started on her journey of minimalism after watching the Netflix serious “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”
Alexander explained, “ I was in a rut, and my life felt cluttered.”
Alexander said, “She became obsessed with minimalism, the first day I stayed up until three o’clock in the morning.”
To keep clutter away, Alexander said “She clears up unnecessary clutter all the time now, I love it, Maybe a little too much”