Embracing Minimalism Begins With Changing Your Focus

Decluttering each area of the house is important, but if you have decided to embrace minimalism, it takes more than just dropping bags of donations off at the local charity.

Embracing minimalism begins when you change your focus, your thought process, and what you view as a priority in your life.

Decluttering can temporarily alleviate stress, but changing your focus and lifestyle is what will carry you through to living a simplified and more meaningful life.

People should, however, be much more concerned with the why—the purpose behind decluttering—than the what. While the what is easy, the why is far more obscure because the nature of the why is highly individual. Ultimately, it has to do with the benefits you’ll experience once you’re on the other side of decluttering. ~The Minimalists

It’s important to spend time in self-reflection. Ask yourself:

  • How do I really want to spend my time?
  • What do I feel is so important it should be my first priority?
  • What things are preventing me from focusing on what’s important to me?
  • What would my ideal day look like from waking up to going to bed?
  • What things fill me with negativity?

Minimalism is a journey. It’s not a place you arrive, it’s not a magic pill that makes your life instantaneously wonderful.

It’s easy to believe that there is a point where we become “official minimalists” and suddenly have freedom, time, and energy for all the wonderful things life has to offer. This is undeniably false. I have significant evidence that minimalism is not a finish line you reach, but a framework with which you view the world. It’s a way to actively edit life in a way that allows us to give our best and live our best. Minimalism is truly a journey that lasts a lifetime as our needs and desires will change throughout. ~Break The Twitch

When you are reflecting on your personal life goals, ask yourself:

  • Why is this my goal?
  • Is this goal for status, or how others will view it?
  • Is this something I really need/want/love, or something I feel is expected by others?
  • Am I depending on this goal to fulfill me? (if so, is that realistic?)

There are no pat answers for any of these questions. You have to think through them, realize your motives and decide for yourself if you are satisfied with them. If not, then seek what will satisfy you.

Embracing minimalism means getting real with yourself.

It’s easy to go through life and do what’s expected. To do the things you need to do each day, veg a little at the end of it “because you deserve it” and then repeat the same thing again tomorrow.
It’s considered normal to live for the weekends, party it up and then go back to the daily grind on Monday.
And because that is so expected, it can feel uncomfortable to start asking yourself “why?”
When you start changing your focus and stripping away the things in your life that don’t add value and don’t move you in the direction you wish to go, you will face thoughts and feelings that you would rather not deal with.
But that is a very significant part of the beauty of minimalism. When you start letting go of physical clutter and unwanted obligations from your calendar, you will also have to learn to let go of mental and emotional clutter.

Finding the real you may not only be uncomfortable for you, but it may also be uncomfortable for those around you.

When people see a change in someone close to them, they are faced with the decision to acknowledge it in themselves or to limit contact with you so they don’t have to think about it.
It’s sad but true. Watching others change their beliefs and lifestyle brings up the question “Am I satisfied with my own life?”
People may limit their relationship with you, just to avoid thinking about that. Many of us choose unhappiness over uncertainty. We may not be happy with life, but we’re used to it and change isn’t pleasant, so it’s easier to just stay put.
Don’t allow others response to make you feel guilty. But, at the same time, don’t push them to change either. They may be inspired to seek change or they may call you crazy. Either way, continue to love them regardless of where they are.
Were there any unexpected changes in the way you think as you have been on this journey through minimalism? Leave a comment below and share your experience.

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey after I'd been doing a yearly decluttering challenge for 4 years and started to see a change in my home. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, please join our FREE Facebook Group: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group


  1. KIM Bowen on 07/10/2017 at 2:40 pm

    I loved this article. It made me realize the reason I want to declutter. It is where I can stay focused on my priorities. If I just hang on the stuff in my life that works toward my goals or helps me live out my priorities then everything else can go!!

  2. Loubna on 11/02/2017 at 10:36 am

    I have been interested in minimalism for the past few months just because I liked how decluttered spaces looked. But now it’s becoming an urgent need that’s on my mind all the time. I am drowning in a see of stuff and I don’t have time to do anything anymore. I loved this article as I realize now that it’s way more than the occasionnal decluttering. I had to discover what I wanted to do with my life, what I want and what I do not want in my life : activities, relationships and the way people treat me. Because it’s only once you know where you want to go that you can know how to get there. This is the best investment I am offering myself : a chance to a happier and more fulfilled existence. Thank you for that 🙂

  3. Sheila on 12/31/2017 at 12:37 pm

    I have just embarked on a major decluttering and threw out things most people would be shocked about – decades of poetry and two novels I wrote. Stuff sitting around for years that never get looked at. Writing is such a personal thing and it doesn’t mean the same for others. I feel like a clean slate now! I allowed the writing to define me. I didn’t realize that until it was gone. No regrets whatsoever. This girl is liberated!

  4. Kathy on 02/21/2018 at 11:53 pm

    I can’t imagine how much money I will save not buying things I really need. Also the storage shed is going. More money may seem secondary but travel is a goal and wasting money won’t get me there.

  5. Greta on 02/26/2018 at 3:44 am

    I’m pregnant with my first child and maybe it’s the nesting energy, but I feel the need to declutter to prepare for the birth of my son. It’s strange. At a time when everyone — family, friends, commercials, social media, etc — is telling me that I NEED a bunch of stuff for my baby, I feel that’s it’s much more important to teach him from day one that his happiness need not lie in material things. I don’t consider myself a minimalist yet, but I am slowly working toward becoming one. This blog has been unspeakably helpful. Thank you!

    • Karen on 03/29/2018 at 4:16 am

      Greta, I think it is great that you want to declutter even before the baby. Do it! Lots of people will give you baby clothes, bedding, diapers, etc. However, most of the baby stuff today will make it easier for you to meet his needs. On the other hand, I didn’t even have 1/2 of what they have available today and we managed. Babies have been around a LONG time and without the fancy strollers, beds, diaper changing tables, dressers, etc. Babies supposedly need a lot but most of it only gets used a few months. You could also borrow from a friend who has had a baby and doesn’t need all of that stuff. Thrift stores also have baby clothes. I think after that first year you need as much and that is when your family can begin teaching your baby and each other how to declutter to have more money, more time and more activities that bring joy to all of you. Enjoy that little sweet bundle when he arrives.

    • Rachel on 05/12/2020 at 5:05 am

      Remarkably you don’t need hardly anything for a small baby! A stroller, a Moses basket, a few onesies ( go for bonds wondersuits – Amazing), swaddle / blanket and maybe a knitted hat / booties/ Full stop!!! All of which you can get second hand in beautiful condition 😘😘

  6. Samantha Arendse on 01/24/2019 at 2:05 pm

    I sold so many things because I needed the money and it was things that had sentimental value however now after the fact I actually feel a weight off my shoulders because I have less stuff to maintain. I’ve realized that spending time with loved ones is far more precious than owning possessions.

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