I think there are different thought processes that are counterproductive to minimalism, and I have battled with all of these over the years and have overcome them one by one. These are great to become cognizant of, as they can make progress toward simplicity a very slow one.
1. The best deal.
We should be aiming for quality. Quality in life and items. Therefore, it is counterproductive to try to save as much by buying more than we need, a brand we wouldn’t ordinarily, and by spending precious time scouting coupons, sales, or driving to extra stops to get the best deal. Quality over scattered to-dos and intricate plans. Free your mind.
Productivity is such a common theme for us. We want to do it all; we want to have it all. Instead, we should try to eliminate all errands and to-dos and useless goals especially. What can we buy online? What can we eliminate from our plate that does not add to our life at all in terms of goals? Is everything worth achieving? What insecurities do we have that are leading us down the path of impractical fashion or the mom who can do it all? Can we ask for help or pay for help? For instance, a service outside of the house can scan all our photos for us. Can we eliminate a to-do or even just a step or ingredient?
Variety especially in food can be a great downfall. So much of food is not healthy. Soup is one of my favorite splurges, but there is almost nothing healthy in a soup for me. Most bases consist of dairy or bone broth. All bone broths have naturally occurring MSG. So this is an okay indulgence for me, but why does the perfect meal in our mind have a side salad or soup maybe? What in us makes us want to complicate a meal? Also, having crackers instead of bread at lunch helps to manage serving size because I can stop when I’m full. A sandwich is a set size. Think about all the variety in the kitchen in terms of baking, flavoring, and sides that we could streamline. Less we buy, less we have to shop for and put away. What a great life that would be! We would be healthier, save money, and have more time.
4. Trying to get all your money back.
The sunk cost fallacy is when we hang on to something because of what we’ve already invested, even though it doesn’t add to our life whatsoever. Past prices paid should not be considerations for future action. How something operates now is what matters.
In addition, we try to get all of our money back as much as possible, which means possessions can take a long time to sell, or things that we should have donated are collecting in a pile as a reminder of all our poor purchases. Consider your time and energy: Selling has a cost. Cut losses as soon as you can manage. You will never regret it. A great life is on the other side of peace and autonomy.
5. Organizing instead of eliminating.
Buying specialty organizers or decor pieces are often a mistake, but it’s not simply the organizer itself. Most of what we organize we eventually will get around to eliminating on our journey toward simplification and freedom. Why not jump a few steps ahead and eliminate now, before shopping for the organizers? Take the loss on the extra batteries and Q-tips you may have collected, if you can’t get through them in 6 months. Organize what is reasonable only.
6. Treating symptoms instead of attending to the root.
Decluttering is a symptom of something bigger. Maybe we were distracted, maybe insecure or afraid, maybe unhappy and impulsive — maybe all of it. If we do not question our motives and how we arrived where we are, we run the risk of collecting and decluttering continuously. Be ruthless the first time around and learn about yourself as much as possible, through helpful tools like the Myers-Briggs, Enneagrams, and instinctual stacking, then you will know your weaknesses and your strengths. You will become a whole person and will never go back to where you were again.