What is minimalism?
Minimalism can be defined as a practice aimed at minimizing distractions that distance you from what is important. Minimalists believe that by removing the clutter in your personal and professional life, you will have more time and energy for what really matters to you. By looking at their material items, their immediate environments, their relationships, and their professions and sifting out what is unnecessary, draining or unaligned with their personal goals, minimalists aim to only possess what best reflects their individual priorities. It is a lifestyle in which simple elements are used to bring on maximum happiness, productivity and success in all aspects of life.
The General Strategy.
There are no hard and fast rules, but what is important to remember is that at its core, minimalism is about knowing what you want or need in your life and what you don’t! The sophisticated (and expensive-looking) aesthetic that springs to mind doesn’t need you to cost you money – in fact, your version of minimalism doesn’t need to look like that at all – minimalism shouldn’t be just another standard that you feel pressured to live up to!
As long as you identify and remove clutter from your home and eliminate distractions from your life – you are on the right track. If you have no idea where to start, try to make a list of the things you feel add value to your life and the things that don’t. This can range from “that ugly purple shirt my mom gave me for Christmas” to “that friendship that is oh, so tiring”. Some people find that it helps to start small – decide what you want to keep instead of what you want to throw out and then get rid of what doesn’t make the cut!
Or, you could set an easy daily goal – get rid of one thing, then two, then three and before you know it you will have strengthened your decision-making muscle and will be more connected to WHY and WHAT you are making space for. Now you’re probably thinking, “If I become a minimalist, does that mean I can never buy new things?”. Well, the answer is, of course, you can! Though it is advisable to lessen the influx of new things in the beginning stages, what really matters is that all purchases and decisions are intentional.
If you are buying something with the sustainable intention of it adding to your productive space – then go for it! This applies to decisions about work, relationships and other less concrete things that take up space in your mind.
The 21st Century rush.
In modern society, a common sentiment is “so much to do, so little time”. We live in constant progression – our consumerism always increasing and our ambition always growing. There will always be something bigger or better and something else you have to do in order to get ahead of the curve. Modern culture has become based on materialism – an endless cycle of possession, progress, and the pursuit of more. More money, more friends, more hours spent grinding and more instantly gratifying distractions.
Most people’s lifestyles are dependent on a specific image that is morphed and warped depending on the latest fads, fashions or professional demands. Minimalism is a gentle reminder, that more isn’t always better and that having a lot also makes it difficult to enjoy a lot.
Why should I consider minimalism?
If you feel overwhelmed at home, strung out at work and generally dissatisfied even though you have everything you are told that you need, maybe minimalism is the thing for you. Apart from de-cluttering and making your physical space more liveable, minimalism also encourages and creates space to take bigger risks, spend more time with the people you care about and gives you the opportunity to focus on what you want. In the pursuit of happiness, letting go of what isn’t right for you is essential and by stripping away the superfluous you can become open to radical change that could change your life for the better – like moving to that new city, quitting your day job to follow your passion, or ending that toxic relationship!
As you untangle the web of things and cut your physical and emotional restraints, you’ll find yourself more relaxed than ever and with all the time in the world to figure everything out, without the maintenance and organization of all your clutter. These minimalist principles allow you to guide your life in the direction you want and to enjoy more while consuming less.