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April 9, 2018
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Healthy Habits – Living Intentionally

Living Intentionally: 3 Easy Steps to Minimalism for the Military Veteran

By: Dixie Bishop

Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps to eliminate excess clutter and consumerism, while focusing on what’s truly important and what gives our lives meaning. The internet is full of people living in tiny houses or downsizing to 100 items. Those philosophies can be extreme and don’t apply to most minimalist. Living this lifestyle isn’t really that complicated. The concept is simply to gain more, with less. Its replacing material possession with experiences while simplifying your life. As military veterans, we are already trained to do this. When we deployed, we packed the essentials. One bag with uniforms and gear, and another with personal items. We knew not to pack five bags, because we would be hauling around those bags during our 24 hours of travel. We packed what we needed, and what was important to us. Minimalism uses the same concept in our everyday life. It’s intended to help you delete the unnecessary metaphorical baggage that you’re hauling. Today, I’m sharing three easy steps to help you remove clutter and teach you ways to start living intentionally.

Step one: Take inventory and make goals.

Write down what’s important to you and create objectives. This may be anything from spending more time with family, saving for vacation, fantasy football, or binge-watching Netflix. You don’t have to give up what you love to be a minimalist. Next you should create a list of things you want to remove from your life. This could be anything from detaching from emotional baggage, stress, eliminating debt, to removing the clutter in your garage or closets.

Step two: Downsizing.

Decreasing excess such as material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions, noise, and stress. We are at the peek of garage sale season. Take advantage by removing things you never use or that don’t bring value to your life. This can be small kitchen appliances, knickknacks, furniture, old bedding, or getting rid of that storage unit that’s holding things you don’t use but is costing you money.

It’s sometimes easiest to start with your closets. So many of us have clothes we never wear. If it hasn’t been worn in the past year, it’s okay to let it go. Purging your closet can be both satisfying and profitable. If you’re not into hosting garage sales, you can try sites like Craigslist or Facebook marketplace, or donate barely used items to a local charity. Your unwanted items may become someone else’s treasure. Keep in mind that this process takes time. You might need to go through multiple phrases of downsizing before really getting to the place you want to be.

Step three: Increasing what’s important.

Time, space, relaxation, and experiences. Create memories with your loved ones. Join a veteran group or activity and make new friends. Take time for yourself, your well-being, and do what you love!

There are many benefits to living intentionally, which include having a more sustainable life, less stuff to clean, a more visually appealing home, less debt, learning to love what you have, less stress, more freedom, and more room to create. Remember, it’s a process and will take time, but starting today and taking baby steps might possibly change your life forever.

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