There’s a new movement out there called minimalism. Although it is not a new concept, it has been recently made famous by The Minimalists.
Unfortunately, many people have the wrong idea of what minimalism actually is and dismiss it quickly without giving it a second thought. It’s important to understand what it really means and how it can make your life better.
So what is minimalism?
Minimalism is not about having rules and restrictions to guide your life. It’s about removing everything that doesn’t add value to your life. This doesn’t refer only to physical items, it can be about anything. Minimalism makes you think hard about how you spend your money but also your time and energy.
Essentially, if something distracts you from what you find important in life, then you should probably remove it from your life. Unless you do this, you won’t be able to live a purposeful life.
Of course, minimalism isn’t the secret answer to everything. It will not solve all of your problems at once but it can help you get your life back. Don’t let society steal your purpose.
It’s having less stuff
While minimalism isn’t just about physical materials, it is a big part of it. Having an apartment or a house filled with stuff you don’t need or want is not good for you which is why it’s important to take the time to declutter. Be decisive and make tough decisions. From my experience, the more you declutter, the better you become at it. Don’t let your stuff steal away your freedom.
You will see on blogs and YouTybe the so-called extreme minimalists. These individuals usually own less than 100 things. That doesn’t mean you should take that extreme approach too. Most people don’t. But it’s up to you.
It’s about slowing down
Every day we try to rush through the day. We always want to be doing something. How often do you just sit and do nothing? That includes no phone or TV. Simply sit and enjoy where you are. I doubt many do that in the modern world. Maybe it’s time you try that once in a while.
Try to slow down. We are living in the age of speed. Fast food, fast fashion, and fast delivery. We always want to get things as fast as possible. No one has patience anymore. Wanting and expecting to get whatever we want at that instant is not good for us because it is teaching us bad habits. Minimalism can help you unlearn this and snap out of the habit of always wanting fast results.
Some ways you could slow down is by going outside to nature or spending some quality time with friends and family. They are simple things but can have a huge effect on you.
Related: Simple living in a Modern World
It’s spending less
After you declutter, you also need to stay decluttered. The easiest way to achieve this is to buy less. I am not saying you can’t buy anything, but don’t spend your money on things that will not make your life any better or if they will waste your time.
You earned that money with your time and you’re going to waste it on things that will waste more of your life? It doesn’t make much sense if you ask me. So think before you buy.
It’s consuming less
From food to information, we are constantly consuming. You see people with bagfuls of clothes walking out of stores, or people carrying entire boxes of food. As a society, we love obtaining more. This does not only apply to things.
We also love information. Our brains have to process so much that we see on the news and social media because we just love being updated. How many times a day do you check your phone? My guess is a lot.
Another example is advertisements. We are literally surrounded by adverts. On the internet, on apps, on videos, on buildings, and more. It’s almost like you can’t do something without someone trying to promote something to you. While you can’t completely avoid them, you can do your best to limit your exposure to them and ignore what they say.
It’s creating more
Instead of spending your life scrolling through social media, watching Netflix, and surfing the internet, do something more productive. Don’t sleepwalk through life, always waiting for the next day. Do something that matters. Be creative and do what is important to you. You love art? Start drawing more. Or perhaps you are into filmmaking? Start making videos. Whatever it is you like to do, do it. You never know where it might take you in the future. Embrace your creativity through a minimalistic lifestyle.
It’s doing what matters
Minimalism is about having more time to do what you really want to do. Why waste precious time doing activities and spending money on unimportant things. Take control of your life and do what you want for once. Aim for your ideal life. You might not get there, but you might get close. One thing is for certain, you will be nowhere near it if you don’t start changing yourself.
It’s moving away from a modern, hectic life
Let’s face it, modern life is hectic, stressful, and rather unfulfilling (I’m talking about most people here). Moreover, this is not how humans were meant to live. We have lost the true meaning of life. All we care about is acquiring more and looking rich. You will never be fulfilled with this lifestyle because you will always want more. Minimalism provides you with a solution to this.
Some take it a step further and choose to be part of the tiny house movement in order to escape consumerism. These houses are usually mobile and allow more freedom.
There’s no doubt that a minimalist lifestyle can make you happier if done right. As I said before, it’s not a magic solution to everything but it has many benefits.
It can help you in many aspects of your life:
- You become freer
- Find more time
- Discover your real purpose
- Remove useless clutter
- More financially free
- Become healthier
- Grow as a person
- Reduce stress
- Creates a more meaningful life
I thought it would be helpful to share with you some of the misconceptions surrounding minimalism because it’s important to know what minimalism is and what it isn’t.
So let’s clear some things up:
01. I need to get rid of all of my stuff
One of the first steps someone takes at the start of their minimalist journey is decluttering their house. However, this doesn’t mean throwing away everything you have. It means throwing away (donating and selling preferably) what you don’t use, don’t want, or simply doesn’t add any value to your life.
02. Living like this is hard
The whole point of minimalism is that it should make your life simpler and easier for you. It’s not about rigid restrictions which you have to follow every day, depriving you of having fun.
03. I have to throw away all my collections (including all of my books)
No. You can keep whatever you like. If you have a collection which you absolutely love, why would you throw them away? On the other hand, if they were sitting there collecting dust and stress you out every time you look at them, maybe it would be best to get rid of them
04. I have to move into a small, white apartment
When you type in ‘minimalism’ in the search bar, you get pictures of houses with a couple of pieces of furniture and everything is white or perhaps grey. While you could live in a place like this, it’s not what makes you a minimalist. Your house can look any way you want it to be. It can be any color and you can have anything you want in it as long as it brings value to your life.
05. I can’t buy new things
You can still buy stuff. Being a minimalist doesn’t mean you can’t buy anything for the rest of your life. But you should only buy things that are important. There’s no point buying cheap, new clothes every month which you will throw away after using them once. It’s not good for you or the environment.
06. I can’t be sentimental
Throwing away your photos or something else with sentimental value isn’t a requirement. I don’t know where people get this illusion from. Remember, minimalism isn’t about throwing away the things that you deeply value. It’s exactly the opposite.
Is minimalism right for me?
I can’t answer this for you. You need to decide for yourself. However, even if you don’t want to become a complete minimalist, decluttering your life and house a bit won’t do any harm.
There are different ways to live a minimalistic life. It depends on you and your circumstances. Someone with a family will have a different approach compared to someone living on their own. Everyone has their own way. And you will create your own when you start getting into this lifestyle.
Some people want to become extreme minimalists and others just want to declutter their lives a bit to quiet down the chaos in their heads. Personally, minimalism is something that every single person could benefit from.
No one should live a life based on solely material objects to a point where the only way they can be happy is to buy more. Take control. This is your life. Don’t let adverts, companies, and society make you unhappy. Stop believing more will make you happier.
At least you could give it a go. You have nothing to lose. You will learn as you go on and eventually will find your own definition of minimalism and what it means to you.