Minimalism as a concept and movement is becoming incredibly popular. You just need to look at Google trends to see the boost in people searching and talking about the concept over the last five years.
And I for one am not surprised.
People are realising that living minimally doesn't have to be an extreme lifestyle change. You don't need to rid yourself of all personal belongings and live nomadically to be a 'minimalist'.
Minimalism at its core is about ridding your life of the clutter, the noise, and the distractions to make space for the things that really matter. It's also about living greener, respecting the environment and reducing your overall impact by buying less waste.
Here are five ways I think my life has improved, and your life could improve, if you gave minimalism a try this season.
You'll have more time to do the things that matter
In this day and age, being busy has become a little bit of a status symbol. Something we all like to declare we are, to show how full and successful our lives are.
However in reality, we need to put an end to the praise and glorification of being busy.
We need to do it for our health, for the strength of our relationships, and for our own happiness.
If you have less clutter around the home, you will spend less time cleaning. No more organising and maintaining collections, closets and cupboards.
If you become mindful of what you spend your time on by keeping a journal for a week, you can learn to remove the things that are taking up your time but not enriching your life.
Yes we need to work, sleep and eat. But aside from that, the time is yours. The biggest misconception we all have is that we don't have a choice in how busy we are. We do. So spend your time doing the things that you'll look back on and be happy you experienced.
You'll be less stressed
Minimalism isn't just about having less material items. It's about focusing on the things which bring happiness and allow you to live a more meaningful life. Ask yourself, are you happy? If you are not, what is it making you stressed and worried?
More often than not when I ask the answer is either work or money. We live in a culture where often success is measured materially. A big house, shiny new car. So of course, we work long hours to buy these tokens of 'success'. We trade our happiness, well-being, and often our limited time to work hard and buy more 'things'.
An expensive wedding is no more a union than a beautiful low-key gathering. Just like how the size of your house doesn't correlate to how much it feels like a home.
Drop the stress of wanting more, and avoid the sources that tell you that luxury material possessions correlate with your success. I am looking at you, glossy magazines, always telling us why need that latest career leap.
When you can be content with what you have, you'll feel a lot less stressed.
You'll be able to focus on your priorities
One of the first exercises I completed when I began to live more minimally was to list my five top priorities in life. These can include anything from family, travelling, cooking, and exercising... anything that really makes you happy.
By writing down your top priorities you feel instantly more focused and grounded about the things which truly matter to you.
If you discover that family is your number one, but you only spend 5% of your free time on activities with loved ones, you may decide to take a good look at how you're spending your leisure hours.
You will be more successful
As soon as I started to focus on the things I loved, I had more energy to give them my 110%.
By aligning my priorities and really addressing what I chose to spend my time on, I found I was embracing hobbies and work opportunities that I had previously not had the time for.
Rather than spending time mindlessly shopping on a Saturday, buying more clutter I really didn't need I sat and wrote, read countless books or organised my next travelling adventure.
If you choose to invest your time into the things you value and love, you will see your aspirations become a lot easier to achieve.
You will be healthier and happier
I am first to admit that in the past I didn't have a great diet, wasted a lot of food, and didn't really invest much time into my health and wellbeing because I was too 'busy'.
Health is one of my top priorities and so I knew something needed to change. I started doing yoga, eating cleaner and reducing my waste by shopping local and avoiding all supermarket aisles bar the first three.
Plus, happiness came with realigning my priorities, spending my time right, and taking back free time to just relax and read a book.
By no longer caring about owning the next big thing, filling my house with expensive gadgets or keeping up with the Jones's', I reduced my stress.
I am not saying this is a right approach for everyone, but I think that we could all value and benefit from enjoying what we have, and breaking the mind set of always wanting the next best thing.
As the summer draws to a close, and we begin to enter the cosy season that is Autumn, I think it is a great time to personally reflect on the year so far and look for opportunities to end the year right. Embracing a few aspects of minimalism might be a great way for you to do this.