I’ve always been a minimalist, I can recall rejecting having things around me from an early age, never bought into the hype about how amazing girly shopping trips are, and always had a sneaky feeling that less was in fact more.
For some people, lots of change in childhood, (for example) makes them want to gather stuff around them, create a safe zone, and hunker down in one spot. For others, it would drive them stir crazy and they want to do the opposite. For me, my life as a child seemed to be one big spontaneous whirl. My mum hated routines, felt hemmed in by them and rebelled against them at every opportunity. This could have made me crave routine and stability as an adult…but it didn’t – it ruined me, in the most glorious way imaginable (thanks mum).
It gave me freedom, from financial burdens, removed people that really shouldn’t have been in my life, culled my cyber space, and reduced the maintenance of physical possessions. I honed my life down into its purest form – virtually no outgoings, and concentrated the money I earned on experiences rather than accumulating more stuff.
Here’s the deal. The universe is conspiring 24/7 for you to have what you want…but, the kicker? It needs what I call “wriggle room” – room to manoeuvre. When you get over zealous with goals and planning you leave it no “wriggle room” (and you limit yourself to what YOU can conceive at that point in time!) When you keep clutter in all areas of your life – Physical, emotional, people, places and cyber space, you leave no room for the new to arrive.
I need to make this clear that what we are about to embark upon is not Feng Shui (that is something different). This is much more practical. A process of elimination until we are at a point of where everything that is no longer of value, or is important to you has been removed – leaving everything that matters to you.
However, energy in the form of ‘chi’ does exist, and it is in the removal of objects/people/things that create stagnation that the chi can roam free. Once a space physical, emotional or cyber is free of clutter, the energy level visibly and tangibly lifts.
It is estimated that the average person only uses around 80% of their total belongings. I believe for many people it is much more than this.
Bring about a simpler form of your life. It’s about being honest with yourself, about what you value, and letting go of anything that no longer serves you. It’s about shrugging off other people’s perceptions, which are often the driving instinct behind many decisions.
Less does not equal more. Less equals everything! Try living with less. Make space. You never know what might be waiting to fill that space.
Task: Things to consider
In considering this question, bear in mind that your sole objective is to keep your space as free as possible, for you (and the universe) to use to your advantage and benefit.
Here’s your task for today: Sit down and allow real time to complete this task. Considering this question will help you establish what ‘stuff’, people, things, you actually need to keep in your life, and how you can manage all aspects of your space.
What does your heart want out of life… and why?
Write down what your alternate reality might look like on whatever scale you want to work on. I first started this process myself when I was writing the ‘Manufacture your perfect day’ book, and I started with a day. Then progressed to a week, then a month, then eventually it got more general into sub-headings like: lifestyle, intentions, values, philosophies. You can buy into a small piece of alternate reality – or like I’m known for – take it to the N’th degree.
My current reality has carved through the everyday bullshit of life like a hot knife in butter. Made me indifferent on a grandiose scale to things and people that don’t concern me. Made me seek peace over conflict wherever possible. Made me drop like a hot brick people who seek to, or support in anyway the exploitation of sentient beings. Made me shun businesses, institutions, and brands who monopolise and chew up people, or world resources for no other reason than profit.
What started off for me as a simple yearning to do aqua classes, have a decent coffee and read the Herald got way beyond anything that I could have imagined back then. Because here’s the Holy Grail of what I’ve learned along the way – the less you have, the more you have, and whatever that ‘more’ means to you, becomes infectious. Whatever started this yearning in you is never the end… it’s merely the catalyst.
Do it. Write down your alternate reality. Then look yourself in the eye in the mirror and ask yourself why it’s not possible.
Whatever you are considering – think about the ‘space” it will take up in a certain area of your life. Does it have to involve buying more stuff? Do you have to announce it in cyber land? Does it have to cost more paper? Can you re-use it, re-purpose it? Recycle or upcycle?
Emotional space – You stunt your souls’ growth if you deny what you want in life and out of life. It changes you as a person, there are often physical and emotional repercussions of being dishonest about what you want or denying it. Emotional space includes people, and your own body and well-being. Toxic people undermine your ideas, aim to keep you in a box, and reinforce any negative opinions you may be withholding about yourself.
Physical space – It’s over rated! Remember the 80/20 rule? If you’re honest, much of the stuff you keep around you is unnecessary or unneeded. Why do you buy in the first place? Why do you keep it? Emotions and sentiment play a large part in some things we keep due to family ties and guilt about something someone bought us.
Cyber space – Cull, cull, cull. A fairly good rule to manage your cyber space around is this – If you would give up your time, get in your car or walk to see that person in real life/real time then they should be on your personal pages of social media. If they are someone that is useful to you, or connected to your business, they should be on your business pages only and not have access to the personal you. ?
Let’s have a go at cyber space.
Pick one! Pick one major form of social media and stick to it for a while, delete/cancel all others. It’s a distraction from real life, time consuming, and rude in many instances to the people you are interacting with.
Cull all people/contacts that you feel are toxic to you or no use to you in a business sense either in the real world or in cyber space (this could be part of your ‘cull’ or a simple act of no longer meeting with someone you don’t like). If it’s a person at work, you may have a bigger decision to make, (and need the course on Living and working in your element).
Unsubscribe from all spam/promotions/social on your email. It’s time consuming but so worth it when you don’t have to delete them on a daily basis.
De-clutter your email system. Delete all old emails and free up space. Go systematically through your contacts and delete where necessary.
Make as many pieces of paper go away as possible. Ring people who send you real mail (such as phone bills etc) and tell them to stop, send it to your email instead or in a text.
Make yourself a little bit un-findable. Removing instant access to yourself 24/7 is freeing in itself. You are under no obligation to keep your phone on high alert every second of the day. There is something to be said for NOT being found!
Let’s look at the 5 easy steps to space clearing and becoming more minimalistic. The first thing I want you to do is think about all of the areas of your life – work, home, car, office, hand bag, circle of friends; what’s on your laptop/iPad. Be honest with yourself about what each area looks like, and feels like.
What we are aiming to do in the tasks you will work through is create movement, and then ultimately create space. Once we start to actually sort each area of our life, those pesky emotions rear their head again, talking to us about loyalty, helping us drag up feelings of guilt and responsibility, and encouraging us to worry about what other people will think.
Will it be difficult? Yes, for some of you. Will you feel better afterwards if you face your fears and work through these tasks? Absolutely. There is no doubt in my mind.
Space clearing creates a ripple that is self-propelling once started. What begins as something small and seemingly insignificant, ends up being a life changing philosophy that you live by – it makes your life more meaningful on a daily basis, provides something many of us are yearning for – freedom, and gives us something that money cannot buy – time.
For the average person that works through this they will find a minimum of 12 hours of time back on average every week – a minimum! For many of you, it will be the difference between living in your element… and merely existing. Think I’m over exaggerating? Let’s begin.
Look around you. Just look, be objective, look with a critical eye at every single area of your physical, emotional, and cyber space. Just look, and take your time to think about it and wander in your minds’ eye..
Create movement. Eliminate anything you know shouldn’t be there INSTANTLY (as in there and then) Get rid of dead/ broken things/plants. Put back things in the wrong place to the right place. Bif them out, send them somewhere else. Job done!
Create space. Look around again, now you’ve assessed, and create physical space, especially in corners and hallways. This avoids stagnant energy spots. It could be as simple as clearing out your car/handbag of old receipts or as large as moving everything away from the corners in each room.
Start to sort. Not just move things from space to space. SORT! Be ruthless and honest. When did you last use it? Will you? Can it be moved from a main living area into somewhere you can’t see it? Can it be gifted, sold, dumped? Is it even yours? If it’s not – give it back, or make them retrieve it.
Re-home, re-evaluate, relove? The nitty gritty – you are hanging onto things for all sorts of reasons. Take stock of everything that passes through your hands or before your eyes, or as you touch it, or as you spend time with a person. Ask yourself why it/they need to live with you/ be a part of life for you? If you can’t find a reasonable reason, then it/they has/have to go, somewhere – reevaluate (move on, dump, sell, charity etc), re-love (could you revitalise it so you could use it again). Note: if it’s a particular person that you are not sure about keeping you may need my course on attraction and exceptional relationships.
The 21 day programme
This is it. You’re in it for the long haul now.
Why 21 days? Because it takes 21 days to form a habit, and I want you to succeed at this, because I know how great you will feel afterwards.
You actually need very little to live your everyday life. We choose to complicate things by living with an attitude of ‘what if’ – “What if I need that another time? We store things we ‘might’ need and then realise a few years later when we see it again that you’ve never needed it thus far.
Detachment is your biggest ally during this process. If you are struggling to let go and fill the bags/boxes, keep bringing yourself back to asking the actual object, “Why do you live with me?” It sounds silly, but it works.
This 21 day programme is meant to be inconvenient – that’s part of the process, the elephant in the corner is dragged right into the middle of your main walkway, where you can’t escape it. You have to confront it every day. You have to evaluate everything that you come into contact with every day, touch, use, (or not use). We all have things that are just ‘there’ and time goes by, we just get used to them being there without questioning why!
Are you ready? Let’s begin. The next 21 days are going to be enlightening
In your hallway or main walkway out of the house/your space, leave 3 large bags or boxes. They each have a label. 1 says charity. 1 says up-cycling to friends. 1 says for sale. If it’s too big to fit in a bag/box, then do it right away (get charity store or a friend to pick it up, put on a buy and sell site). Each day for 21 days clean or clear something – a drawer, a shelf? Clear it, put things in the 3 bags/boxes as you go, and clean each area thoroughly as you go.
Systematically clean/clear individual components of a room, and then clear the whole space in a room, as much as you can. Remove unnecessary furniture, ornaments, plants, making sure corners are free, leaving room for the chi to roam. Simultaneously over these 21 days cull/clear cyber space too. Simultaneously cull/clear people from your life that do not serve you.
After the 21 days?
Ok, let’s get real! Where do you see yourself in 3 months, 6 months, a year, if you do nothing? What will it take for you to be honest with yourself about how you utilise your space? Why not now?
Because that’s the thing… the day before your life changes forever, feels like any other day!
Emotional space is usually where it all begins. The heart wants what the heart wants, and you can tell yourself as long as you’re willing to listen that you need to take the safe, secure route, the sensible option or the one that’s ‘best for everybody’… but you have to believe it.
You stunt your souls’ growth if you deny what you really want in life. You change as a person as resentment kicks insidiously into your daily actions. And there are always physical repercussions as your body tries to keep up with conflicting information from your mouth and your sub-conscious.
Physical space… is over-rated. Of course that’s an opinion of a transient intentionally homeless person. I have to believe that – it has been the most freeing experience of my life.
Cyber space – do you really have to announce everything you do in Facebook land? Cull, cull, cull and re-organise them peeps into another category if they aren’t real live people in your daily world. Re-direct them to a business page, or if you’ve found yourself wondering (even once) why they are on your page delete, delete. Having a small, personal and real Facebook friends list keeps strong bonds between people you want in your life. If it’s too big and mostly nonsense it’s just taking time out of your time on this earth.
A new final frontier for many is the Postal space. I’ve realised that this is one of the most obvious (and ridiculous) societal norms.
Look around again after the 21 days. With more space available to you, now look at the most effective use of the space (across all areas of your life) from a smaller handbag to a complete re-design of a room, to a more efficient way to work. Be objective, honest, and ruthless. Again ask yourself why it’s there? Hint: Just because it’s always been is not a reason. Look at the flow it creates in that area of your life and think about how, where, when, why you use it – whatever or whoever ‘it’ may be.
Apply the process above to all areas of your life. Look around again and try to create movement. People that you don’t want as friends – cull further. Things you don’t want in your inbox – unsubscribe/delete. Cut down on social media as much as you can, and re-integrate real people as much as possible.
This bit is IMPORTANT. Don’t fill the space!! Why can’t it just be space? Energising, revitalising, renewing. Give the universe enough “wriggle room” and powerful stuff happens.
Clean each space as you clear it thoroughly. Virus clean your computer. Get scrubbing those shelves and cupboards. Deep clean wherever you can. You can’t attract new while bogged down by, unwanted, old, dirty, or un-needed.
And finally – don’t get complacent! One simple trick before you buy ANYTHING – ask yourself where it will go? Why you need it? What are you prepared to get rid of to make space for it? If you can’t answer these 3 simple questions – put your wallet away!
Life after space clearing
I wish you well. I know that if you have followed the tasks that your life has changed already. It’s inevitable. My journey towards minimalism has brought me the most glorious sense of peace and freedom. The biggest side effect I find is the ability to switch off that irritating part of your genetic make-up that causes you to do things merely because you think you should, someone told you to, or peer/societal pressure deems it more normal to do so. What will you do with all that space? What will you do with the extra time? What will you do with the people who are left that are really important to you?
Give it your all.
© 2017 Elemental Potential Ltd
Published by Elemental Potential Ltd | First Edition
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