It’s Not Minimalism, It’s Intentional Living

When I changed my lifestyle I didn't become a minimalist but I did learn to focus on intentional living

For a few years Brandon and I spoke about our lifestyle as minimalist but this past year has shown me that isn’t really true. Minimalism, while fabulous, defines a way of life that is actually far more sparse and uncluttered than ours. I’ve come to redefine ours as intentional living.

It’s not about purchasing only the essentials, it’s about making very deliberate and conscious decisions with our lives. We have downsized from a very cluttered life to a very simple life but we do still allow ourselves indulgent purchase. We do still buy things just for the sake of buying things but we still hold those things to a specific set of requirements. Before any purchase we ask ourselves three things:

  • Does it serve a purpose?
  • Does it have a place?
  • Does it bring me joy?

If the answer to at least two of those things is, “Yes” then we purchase it. It’s not minimalism. It’s not hoarding. It’s intentional living that ensures that we are surrounded by things that we either use or adore. Sure, I may have too much stationery, Brandon may have too many movies, and the dogs may have too many toys, but we are happy. 

We clean out our home, making donations or throwing things away, every 6 months. We keep our home clean and organized. Everything has a space. But, it’s intentional, not minimal. I love seeing this growing trend of minimalism that I see in so many of my family and friends but I wonder if they too are moving more toward intentional living than true minimalism. I read so much about the benefits of minimalism, but intentional living has benefits too. I’ve seen a lot of improvement in our lives since we started being more deliberate in our decisions.

How intentional living has changed my life

I’m no longer defined by my possessions

I made a lot of changes to how I viewed possessions once I started making myself truly think through each purchase. I stopped buying every new fashion trend. I stopped buying every blanket scarf, every new hat, and every pair of black boots. I started viewing things as compliments to my life rather than as things that defined my life. I realized I didn’t need as much as I thought I did in order to  be happy. I purchase things when I feel I need them and occasionally I purchase things just because it’s attractive, but as a whole, my perception has changed.

I’ve also learned to focus on classic and traditional styles in both my wardrobe and my home. I’ve stopped concentrating on Pantone’s color of the year, what patterns are “in”, and what is trending on Pinterest. I’ve focused down on classic and traditional stylings and I worry less about keeping up with trends.

I save more money

Having changed my relationship with possessions I find that I no longer spend as much on emotional impulse purchases. I feel no need to have special Christmas dishes, holiday blankets, or new decor for every season of the year. 

I have less money invested into things, I spend less money on maintenance and upkeep, and I have more money in the bank.

I have more time

Now that I’m more intentional about my purchases I have far more hours in my day to spend doing the things I want to do. I no longer invest hours into shopping for things I don’t need, keeping up or maintaining those items, or cleaning my home of so much stuff. 

I find that I can easily wash all of my laundry in a day, plan all of meals and keep my refrigerator clean, and avoid feelings of overwhelm just because I don’t own as much stuff as I once did.

You don’t have to completely let go of everything you love in order to embrace a simpler and less cluttered life. You just have to learn to be more conscious of your lifestyle choices and more deliberate with your spending and possessions.

Ashley LaMar
Ashley bounces between Atlanta, GA + Charleston, WV with her husband and two small dogs for life and work. If she’s not writing or blogging, she can usually be found cooking, reading, or watching baseball. Follow her on Twitter @ashleyfromfbl
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