As newlyweds, my husband and I lived in a tiny studio apartment. We didn’t always want it that way but we stayed there for a lot longer than we thought we would. I remember, about 4 years into our 10 years there a lot of our friends were buying houses.
I’m going to be honest with you. I was jealous. I felt a sinking feeling of despair mixed with hunger. I later called that feeling “wanty”. I didn’t need more but I was wanting more.
At that time, moving would have meant going from financial flexibility to financial strain so I knew that moving wasn’t an option. I had to work on having an attitude of gratitude so that I could find contentment and joy in my simple life again.
How can you have an attitude of gratitude and how will that help you live a minimalist lifestyle? If you are so grateful why are you throwing stuff away? How can you appreciate what you have and stop wanting more? Let me share with you what I have learned about cultivating contentment and a deep appreciation for the things, experiences, and people in your life.
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Have An Attitude of Gratitude For Your Home
Take a minute and just appreciate how fortunate you are that you have a home. If you live in America you have a home that is probably bigger than what more than half the world lives in.
You are fortunate to have a home, no matter how small or old it is. Be thankful for everything your home provides.
Looking at your home with an attitude of gratitude is the key to making a house a home. That appreciation for your home is key because it motivates you to care for it. No matter what we live in, it can become a beautiful home to us if we take care of it. I speak from experience having lived in my little old studio apartment for almost ten years.
Any space can become a home you love, a home to make memories in, and a home for love to live in. You just have to start cultivating contentment for the home you have and give it a little love in return. Then you can enjoy simple living and love your home.
Be Thankful For What You Have!
Look at the things in your home. Everything you have, you had the resources to obtain or the friend to provide for you. Everything in your home reflects the efforts that you have made to make your life better!
These things in your home are servants to you. Every day they are just waiting to serve their purpose to you. Because of this, you should want to appreciate and care for them. When you take care of your things they last longer and serve you to their full potential.
One great way to have an attitude of gratitude and start cultivating contentment is to fill out a gratitude journal each day!
Be Thankful for Everything Your Letting Go Of
After reading the last section, you probably have personified your items. That may make you feel like you can never get rid of them. That’s just the opposite of the truth though!
You don’t show appreciation to your items by letting them hide in the basement, closet, attic, or garage. When you are surrounded by things that are in your way and weighing you down you just don’t feel appreciative of them at all!
You show appreciation by realizing that the money you spent on those items is money that is gone now. That money was recouped by the service that the item provided to you. Now as you let that item go, you realize that you have benefited from it and that is your repayment for its cost.
Because you have an attitude of gratitude for that item’s potential to help others, you can pass it on. That’s why Marie Kondo tells us to thank our items as we let them go.
Developing an attitude of gratitude will help you donate stuff and use your abundance to fill someone else’s lack.
Have an Attitude of Gratitude for Open Space & Possibility!
I have to say I often feel a high from letting go of things that are no longer useful to me! I look at that space that it leaves empty and it feels like a world of fresh possibilities and room to breathe has opened up!
Does that mean you have to automatically fill any empty space that appears? By no means. If you found that you do not use an item it is ok to get rid of it and not fill the space. Wait awhile before you try to replace it. You might never want to.
If you do decide you need to get something to replace the item you got rid of you have the great opportunity of being a more careful consumer and buying something that works better!
Just remember that open space is not a bad thing. It’s clean, it’s airy, and it leaves room for your creative life to grow within your four walls. Have an attitude of gratitude for the lightness and space letting go gives you!
Appreciate Experiences Over Things
Your attitude of gratitude should extend beyond the things you own. Every day, you should feel grateful for the things you can do and experience. This is a very important part of the minimalist lifestyle. In fact, it may be the most important part of the minimalist lifestyle and mentality. When you learn to collect experiences over things you will feel much more fulfilled in your life.
So how can you collect experiences instead of things? What does it mean in everyday life?
It means that instead of going shopping on a Saturday afternoon, you take a walk at the river or a hike in the hills. Instead of buying something pretty when you feel like you need a treat, you instead treat yourself to a coffee with a friend or a self-care Sunday.
It could be as simple as finally sitting down with a good book and a cup of tea, or painting your nails and getting some sunshine.
The challenge to the experiences over things mentality is that so many things we want to DO require that we HAVE something in order to participate. If that is the case ask yourself if this activity will be your new passion. Unless you really feel that those activities are things you will participate in on a regular basis, consider borrowing or renting what you need to get the experience without sinking a lot of money and storage space into it.
Have an Attitude of Gratitude for Time
Time is our most precious asset. You cannot get time back once it is gone. Unfortunately, so much of our time is taken up with obtaining, maintaining, and even getting rid of stuff.
For you to enjoy the best part of the minimalist lifestyle you have to remember that every time you want to buy something. Remember that every single thing we own will not only take your time to enjoy and use. It will also take your time to store, take care of, and eventually get rid of. Sometimes getting rid of things you no longer care for takes the most time of all! What a shame to spend so much time on something you don’t even care about anymore.
So every time you want to buy something ask yourself if this item is gonna pay off enough to invest your time into it. Remember you could be having a garage sale or you could be taking a hike with your family with that time! When you have an attitude of gratitude for time you will be less inclined to waste it on junk.
Treat Your Money With an Attitude of Gratitude
We live in a society that throws money away. Yes, we buy junk like it’s going out of style and we don’t think twice about most purchases under $20.
I’m not saying we need to be stingy. I believe that there is such a thing as being frugal to a fault. You want to enjoy your life so if there is something that will bring you joy or solve a problem for you then by all means invest in it!
Remember, however, you don’t get money without spending time. It required your time at work to get that money.
Often times when I am making a purchase I equate the cost to how many hours of cleaning houses it will take to earn that money. Picturing myself cleaning toilets helps me avoid a lot of impulse shopping!
Remember when you buy something it becomes a sunk cost. You will most likely not get that same amount of money back from it when the time comes to let it go.
Look around at all the things in your home. Everything in your house used to be money. When your shopping, ask yourself if this item is more useful as an item, or as money in your pocket. That is how you show an attitude of gratitude and appreciate your money like a minimalist!
Appreciate People Most of All!
The only thing that really matters, in the end, is the people we love and who love us in return. Try to never let things, making money to buy them, maintaining them, getting your money’s worth, and getting rid of them, stop you from spending time with the people you love.
Focus on people, not stuff!
If you center your life around people and not things, your life will be vibrant and full of joy! You will have wonderful memories and most importantly, love. Never forget to have an attitude of gratitude for people most of all!
Having an Attitude of Gratitude Leads to a Simple Life
Now can you see how having an attitude of gratitude and cultivating contentment for what you have is the key to joy in your simple life?
An attitude of gratitude might be the single most important thing to foster as you simplify your life. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude turned my studio apartment into my dream home. When I learned to be thankful for everything I stopped feeling like I had nothing.
How will appreciation help you to be happy and content? How can you learn to have an attitude of gratitude and stop feeling “wanty”?
Be Thankful for Everything and Start Living Simply Today!
There is really no reason not to start enjoying simple living! Now is the time to try the minimalist lifestyle! Learn why minimalism is good for your mental health and relationships, how it can transform your finances, so you can start having more energy and time for the things that matter!
But what if simplifying your life sounds like an overwhelming task?
If you want to simplify your life but the big bad word MINIMALISM scares you let me help! I wrote Doable Simplicity (Minimalism For Normal People) to help you get the inspiration you need to simplify your life and then take solid steps that make simple living doable for you!