How Minimalism Helped Simplify My INFJ Life

IntrovertDear.com INFJ minimalism

Hello again,

I’d like to kick off 2017 by discussing my personal journey of minimalism with you. I want to preface this article by addressing the concept, and sometimes misconception, of what it means to be a minimalist. I know that the aesthetic of minimalism is going around on social media. However, true minimalisim is a mindset that goes a lot deeper than an aesthetic for photos. Minimalism is whatever you want it to be for you. It is a deeply personal thing. You do not have to live according to someone else’s definition or opinion of minimal living. I also want to address the fact that my personal experiences come from a place of privilege. I grew up not really wanting for anything; I was provided for. And now that I’m an adult on my own, I am often able to afford the things that I want.

All that being said, minimalism is teaching me what drives our wants and needs. I want to share my experiences with this journey thus far and hopefully share some insight I’ve gained along the way. Perhaps minimalism can help you, too, simplify your life as an INFJ personality type.


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I have always been a bit ruthless when it comes to getting rid of things I no longer want or need. My INFJ nature leaves a lot of room for sentimentality, but it also makes me prefer order and efficiency. I go through my wardrobe regularly to get rid of the things that no longer fit or make me happy when I wear them. I began delving into minimalism within the last six months or so. My living accommodations are quite small, but they are more than enough. I was tired of not being able to find a place for the things I own, so I got rid of a lot of things that didn’t need a place anymore. In the last few months, I have donated about half of my books, a large amount of kitchen items, and so many clothes. I have also gotten rid of several bathroom items, including towels since I had too many, and I even donated about half of my movies. I threw away all of the remaining DVD cases and organized my movies into a portable case so that there is less to store.

If you have been wanting to clear out your space for a while, but don’t know where to start, I suggest picking something that isn’t too sentimental for you. Once you begin purging items from your home, you’ll probably find yourself continuing until you are finally free from excess and love the things you own. One of my favorite things about getting rid of items that don’t make me happy is replacing an item with one that I truly love. The way I see it, there’s no sense in having multiples of an item that you never use/don’t actually like if they can be replaced with one item that you truly love and want to use.

Getting rid of all of this stuff is only part of the story.

Yes, minimalism requires us to have less stuff blocking our space. As an INFJ, I become incredibly overwhelmed by clutter. I am constantly reorganizing and redecorating my space to make everything as efficient and beautiful as possible. A lot of thought goes into my living space. However, minimalism is a mindset for more conscientious consumption. It helps me to make fewer impulse purchases. When I do go out shopping, I look at an item and ask myself if it will make me happy every time I use it. If the answer is no, I don’t buy it.

Of course, there are some things we absolutely must buy. For example, we all have to buy dish soap. I don’t think that dish soap can really make a person super happy every time they use it, but minimalism allows me to be a smart consumer and buy a product that is from a responsible company. Instead of buying tons of cleaning products with yucky chemicals, I began researching how to make my own cleaning products using safe and sustainable items, such as vinegar and castile soap. I have always been adamant about buying cruelty free products. My journey with minimalism reinforces that notion and gives me the space to think before buying. As an INFJ, it’s important to me to live a life that aligns with my conscience.

Minimalism has allowed me to have more physical space, but it also allows me more mental space. I am learning to get my spending under control. I am figuring out ways to spend my free time that don’t require a lot of money. It has been liberating to take things a little slower and enjoy this quieter existence.

Like all things, minimalism is a process, and I am enjoying learning more about it. There is a Ted Talk and a documentary on Netflix by two men who call themselves The Minimalists. I highly recommend checking them out if you want a place to start. There is also an endless stream on YouTube of people going through their own journeys with advice and tips to share.

When it comes down to it, minimalism has allowed me to take a giant step back and analyze the way we spend money as a society. It’s given me a lot of perspective as to what actually matters in life. It’s helping me get my own finances in order, which gives my INFJ future-oriented brain some peace. Most importantly, practicing minimalism is helping me to appreciate what I already have.

So, INFJs, maybe this is a good time to reevaluate your living space and items you own. Help put your mind at ease by having less stuff surrounding you. Remember, this is your journey and you are in control of what you allow into your life. I wish you the best of luck!

If you have any questions about resources for minimalism, please comment below.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. —William Morris

Until next time,

 

 

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  • Martin

    I’ve managed it digitally, to a large extent. Clean desktop, reasonably tidy room. However, it’s really damn hard to do anything with old games, consoles, computer parts. A bunch of old stuff that isn’t likely to have any importance to my future, yet I would probably feel bad for weeks if I sold/trashed it. Many attempts has been made, and it has, to be fair, gotten better. Nowhere near satisfied though. I might have some hoarder tendencies in my genes.

    The absolute majority of it could get destroyed in a fire, and I’d be relieved.

    • Rachelle de la Rosa

      Interesting, when you said digitally I assumed you organize your files and applications haha.

  • Heidi

    I very much identify with this article. What strikes a hard core with me is sentimentalism though. I had my four kids in 5 years, 2 months. That was so hard and fun when they were little. It’s still fun and hard but now I’m shifting into the last stage before they are gone. One after another, I’ll be childless in 8 years. And more than anything, I struggle with sentimentalism, or nostalgia as I more often refer to it. Everything triggers a memory. Or I see something new a child drew and I can’t get rid of it because I already feel the nostalgia for it that I will feel in 5 years. The whispered memories taunt my soul, leaving me vulnerable and occasionally helpless. As an infj, I am very future oriented. But I find myself constantly in this spiraling trap of longing. I’m not sure where to ask this question, so I hope you amazing people who wrote for this website will see these and talk about this. How does/should an infj cope with debilitating nostalgia?

  • A friend did that William Morris quote for me in calligraphy, I had it framed and it hangs in my house.

  • Terrific article! Will definitely check out the documentary on Netflix!

  • africana

    Thank you for this, you just described my life for the past few months, I have been at peace with my self ever since and thanking God for what I have and not bothered about the ones to come.
    Minimalisim makes you love and appreciate life, you begin to love yourself the more and the love is extended to the people in your life. It was beyond accurate. I concur.

  • It pleases me greatly that you’ve made a connection between minimalism and being INFJ! I discovered Minimalism last year and it has really improved my life. It has helped me to eliminate choices in my life that often leave me paranoid with sensory overload, especially while I work in a shopping centre!

  • mamajo51

    I just, I mean JUST last night wrote a post about my own journey to the INFJ Less is More principle. I have so many of the same reasons–physical and brain space, etc. It also solved my resentment toward uber-rich people about “how much is enough.” And took me even further into WHY I would choose so much of too much, and what divesting of the distraction of stuff has done for me spiritually, emotionally. Nice piece, thank you!

  • Angela

    Hello, I feel really identify with the article. I have always said in my house to please get rid of things we don’t use or things that are ugly because I do that with my own things and I prefer empty clean spaces that watching lots of stuff around me every day. That would cause me a lot of stress actually. However for my parents and brother it is hard to apply, they like to keep many things in boxes or whatever and I really can’t stand that. Thanks for the article, I’ll continue searching about minimalism because I see it has a lot to do with me?

  • Rin

    I am currently reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, which talked about the same concept in this article. I think everyone should check it out as well.

  • This article was great Amelia! So glad to see a new generation trying to downsize after the previous generations have been upsiziing everthing from drinks to houses. The internet has been a real blessing to me. I have had this tendency to fight clutter my entire life. Even as a kid after Christmas I would be so overwhelmed by all the new toys and where to put them. I would spend weeks sorting through my toybox and shelves determining what stayed and what woud have to go. I thought I was a freak. But it was compulsive. I joined the Navy after college and actually found it refreshing that I had so little space and needed to keep what I owned to a minimum while I lived in bachelors quarters.
    Even now as a homeowner, I spend countless hours trying to pare down and make things more efficient. I too have gotten rid of most of my DVD and CD cases and moved the discs into storage binders to make space. That was a huge undertaking and makes me feel much more in control of the chaos. Again I am thankful for the internet since now all my music is now uploaded and available at the press of a button on my phone. I am also scanning so many old papers and photos to reduce clutter. Like one of the other people who replied I think I might have some hoarding genes in my family. But my INFJ nature is at war with those urges. So with me minimalism is an ideal but I constantly strive towards it.

  • Martin

    And two days later started the process of either selling, or throwing/giving away the things I have no use for. So much harder than it has any reason to be, but will likely feel really good when the process is completed.

    Thank you for the article. Seems to be the push I needed to really do what I’ve tried to do for somewhere around 5-6 years. Will get rid of nearly everything, rather than about 5%, which has been the result on earlier attempts.

  • katie emblen

    Thank you for the recommendation to watch the documentary. I just watched it and it really struck a cord with me. I have read a few books over the years about minimalism but I have never been able to follow through completely and my house is a cluttered mess. It bothers me but I get so overwhelmed to get started! I have recently been doing some soul searching and have found that I am most definetly an INFJ and I love your blog. It has helped me realize that I am not alone and I do fit in but in a different way than most. I think hearing your story about how minimalism has helped you will give me a little push to really get rid of stuff that doesn’t have a place in my life anymore. Thank you!!

  • Steven Freear

    15 years ago we sold up and went from a 3 bed, 2 garage house to being able to fit all our worldly goods in a 6ftx6ftx6ft container. We found it a very cathartic experience.
    After a year of travelling we had realised how little we needed and have never wanted our possessions or house to own us again.
    From there we had 12 years of running backpacker hostels and moving house several times. Between moves we did accumulate a few more things but each time we moved we seemed to get rid of more than we accumulated.
    Since 2014 we have been living on a canal boat that is 58ft long but just 6ft wide. When we moved aboard, we transported everything in 2 car loads.
    Now we live quite happily without a TV, all my music is digital and the majority of my reading matter is either on a Kindle or comes from the library. We realised recently that we hadn’t purchased any clothes for well over a year. Despite this I still threw some more clothes away recently.
    Saying all this I don’t consider myself to be minimalist, We simply have all that we need and live comfortably within our means. We have never been more content.

  • theletters

    Thank you for sharing your journey with minimalism! I actually just watched The Minimalists documentary a few days ago so this was perfect timing. I’ve been traveling for about 3 months and living out of a suitcase, and it’s really shown me how little we actually need to be happy. Sometimes you just mindlessly buy things to satisfy yourself that day, but it isn’t really genuine. It also takes me forever to make decisions on what to buy, so the less I am looking for the better 🙂 As an INFJ too, I can definitely see the positives to minimalism, however someone defines it, and I’m excited to clean out when I get back home! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  • Nessie

    I’ve always loved minimalism..in everything, especially decoration. I always look for new ways to empty my space more and more until only the basics will remain. I’ve always dreamed of having a future mininal yet cosy little house that would be made to fit my own personality and needs. The thought of having a minimal, open and cosy space all according to my own taste is like dreaming of my little heaven on earth. I truly believe minimalism is the ”thing” for me and I think it’s also ideal or at least very helpful for most introverts and INFJs.

  • Rachelle de la Rosa

    My parents were both quite hoarders, since they were ESFJ and ITSP, they were both very hard on me for my inability to function in a house that was so cluttered. I very often misplaced objects and would get in trouble for it. I think this was because I would be so overwhelmed by my surroundings (overwhelming my inferior Se) that I would revert to using Ni and forget what I was doing! Now that I live on my own, my house is quite minimalized, especially in comparison to the house I grew up in. It is very rare for me to lose anything anymore.

  • Heidi

    I have pared down my living space also. Although it’s difficult with a small child and the endless color crayons, games, and puzzles – I have pared out what I can. Spare coffee cups, old clothing, etc. have been packed up over the last month and I can’t even explain the peace I feel and the space in my lungs I have to take a full breath. It feels liberating. I’m also saving money because I consider if I *really* love the item (almost never) and so feel appreciation for the beauty of the item in the store and am content leaving it there. There is real joy in simplicity.

  • IBikeNYC

    So much of this rings bells with me, but I’d never considered it as a function of my (particular) introversion. Thank you for the insight!

    Also love your suggestion to, let me quote you:

    “If you have been wanting to clear out your space for a while, but don’t know where to start, I suggest picking something that isn’t too sentimental for you.” Perfect!

  • Lauren Teresa Smith

    I’ve been working on minimalism or just a simpler lifestyle for awhile. Odd aspect for me is that by the time I achieve a minimal goal, I go shopping and buy more stuff. I don’t know what to do with the time after achieving something deep. And most of my stuff I’ve got and have collected, I tend to just give it away to others. It is likely that there is very little we truly need in this life to survive. Aside from all that, I too am finding ways to make necessities myself; it’s healthier, safer, and satisfying. My goal is to DIY body & hand cleanser (soap is considered a cosmetic), hair wash (simple & effective- finding ideas thru Pinterest), cutting my own hair (found on YouTube, Pinterest, & bought barber set online- cheaper & freeing), drinking water (thru my water bottle), and making simple meals (including fruits, veggies, & some meats), started hand-washing my own clothes (takes time, but saves money & energy= worth it), and spending more time outside exploring nature to focus more on each present moment. I invested in a quality bike as a substitute for transportation and it continues to help me relieve stress and recharge my battery independently.