By: Ally Lozano, CEO and Founder
For years my mind was filled with chaos. That chaos spilled over to every single area of my life. My clothes were all over the floor in my closet. My kitchen counter was filled with mail that I was "going to get to." My car was a disaster and I had to clear things out of the way so that I could let a passenger in. I couldn't go into a store without buying something, yet I would feel bad to buy things and "use them up." My home became a storage space for candles that I never used, art that I never hung up, pieces to crafts that I never finished, and enough towels, sheets, shampoos, and conditioners to stock a small hotel.
In addition to all of the stuff that I was accumulating, I was overcommitted in every area of my life. I was serving on at least three boards and underperforming on all of them. I was over-volunteering and draining my energy with too many activities. I would commit to plans with friends. I had almost no time to decompress.
My forms of relaxation involved binge-watching TV (and high-stress shows like the Real Housewives, which are also extremely draining) and going to happy hours and/or drinking wine.
All of this, coupled with the stress of being an attorney, completely depleted me. I finally crashed and burned. I decided to leave to Mexico to take a pause from my life and everything I knew. I had run myself into the ground. That's when I found and embraced minimalism.
Minimalism has helped clear the chaos from my life. I went from feeling burnt out and exhausted all of the time to feeling full of energy, vibration, and life. Choosing to live more minimally has been one of the greatest decisions of my life, and I want to share with you some tips on how you can make some small changes to yield big results.
Here are some actions you can take immediately:
1. Cut Down on Clothes
Grab a bag (garbage bag or other big bag). Go into your closet. Grab every single piece of clothing that does not fit you. DO NOT HESITATE! If your mind says, "Grab it," then grab it. Put it in the bag.
Then, look through your closet again and grab every single thing that you don't love. If there's a piece of clothing that you don't feel great it, don't love how you look in, etc, then grab it. Put it in the bag.
If you have drawers/ dresser do the same.
Then take that bag down to your car so you can take it to donate.
(repeat in your kids' rooms)
2. Cut Down on Toys
Grab another bag. Go to your kids' rooms. Grab every toy that they have not touched in the last month. (Try to be ruthless about this with no excuses. It feels harsh, but it is likely that they will not notice.) Put them in the bag. Take that bag down to your car so you can donate it.
3. Cut Down on Kitchen Items
Grab a box or somewhere to be able to put breakables. Open your cabinet to where you have coffee mugs. If you have more than 6 with only two adults in the house, pick your top 5 favorites and get rid of the rest.
If you have more than 12 glasses for water, get rid of all but 12. (We are a family of 7 and we have only 10 glasses)
Repeat this for big plates, small plates, bowls, and silverware. (Bonus: You will so many less dishes! When you have less dishes, you just wash the ones you have instead of letting them pile up)
Get rid of anything that you have more than two of, such as spatulas, whisks, ladels, etc.
4. Cut Down on Commitments
What commitment is exhausting you? There is likely something that pops into your head immediately. Whatever that is, find a way to cut back and/or stop immediately. (i.e. driving 4 hours to go to a volunteer event that you feel like you "should" do)
Is there something that you are doing on a regular basis that is draining you? Or something that is not bringing you joy? Consider your children in this too! Our children are often over-scheduled as well! Stop doing anything that does not fill you up and recharge you.
HONOR YOUR "YES," which needs to be reserved only for things you want to do. If someone invites you to do something and you don't want to, stop "feeling bad" and being wishy washy. Politely decline the invitation and move on.
5. Cut Down on Papers/ Mail
Make a promise to deal with mail immediately when you get it. Recycle all junk mail right when you walk in the door to your house. If there is a bill that needs to get paid, either pay it right away or designate a drawer where all bills and action item papers go and then take action within 24-48 hours. Go paperless whenever possible.
Go through at least one drawer/ box of papers and be ruthless. Let go of anything that is not immediately relevant. If you think you may need it later, scan it. Otherwise, recycle it. If you want to save something make sure it is only the most sentimental of items.
6. Take Time to Breathe
Turn off the TV. Put down the glass of wine. Set your phone to charge in another room. Sit down in silence and breathe. Look out the window. Grab a book you've been wanting to read. Start writing the story you wanted to write. Do the craft you wanted to do. Honor everything you accomplished that day or week. Journal.
So, how does it feel? It's amazing how much weight we carry in our minds and bodies by having so much "stuff." My biggest tip is to act quickly as you go. I used to spend hours "organizing" my closet and my clothes. Now I can clean out a closet in 20 minutes or less. Set a timer if it helps push you to go faster. Make it a game to see how much you can get rid of.
Any tips on minimalism? Leave them below!
About your Ally in Life, Business and Law:
Alexandra "Ally" Lozano is a national award-winning attorney and the founder of AMIGA Lawyers and Alexandra Lozano Immigration Law.. After becoming a mother, and in a matter of 3 months, Ally transformed her practice from earning in pesos to earning 6-figures and she is passionate about teaching attorneys how they can do the same. Ally empowers lawyers to be the CEOs of their law firms with her weekly blog, webinars, and conferences where she teaches step-by-step how to do the work they love while running a profitable legal business. Ally lives outside of Seattle with her husband and their 5 children.