Minimalism is a term often characterized by extreme simplicity and spareness. What exactly does this mean? Is it getting rid of all of your material possessions? Is it living in a tiny home? Is it owning less than 100 things? Not necessarily.
I'd like to consider myself more of a practical minimalist. Rather than boxing myself into a defined set of rules, I tend to think about minimalism in a broader sense. Fundamentally, minimalism is about removing all distractions, clutter, and non-important commitments in our lives so we can focus our attention on the things that truly matter.
Practical Minimalism is the notion of understanding the elements of minimalism that can be usefully applied to reduce stress, develop physical/mental clarity, and fundamentally to makes our lives better. Practical minimalism is about choosing the parts of our life that are over capacity and removing the waste until we have time to fit in our true priorities.
MINIMALISM IS... INTENTIONAL.
Minimalism is the intentional removal of anything that doesn't add value to our lives so we can make room for what does. It is a lifestyle that forces us to think before making decisions.
MINIMALISM IS... SUBJECTIVE.
Minimalism is by no means a one-size-fits-all lifestyle. It’s not about giving up everything you own; it’s about having lagom – or exactly the right amount – which varies from one person to the next. When people embrace minimalism, their actions emerge from their uniqueness, so nobody does it the same way.
MINIMALISM IS... A MINDSET.
Minimalism is not just about getting rid of physical stuff. In addition to clearing your home, minimalism allows you to clear your mind, fostering self-discovery and an integrated approach to life. This psychological shift yields lasting happiness and satisfactions, compared to emotionally driven purchase decisions that yield a false, temporary sense of happiness.
MINIMALISM IS... COUNTERCULTURAL.
Since the late 1940s, American culture has increasingly focused on the consumerist lifestyle. Every day, we’re exposed to thousands of advertisements telling us that a trip to the mall will cure all of our problems. But as we continue to consume more, we actually find less enjoyment and happiness.
Minimalism turns this consumerist ideology on its head. Instead of becoming just another hamster caught in the wheel of consumerism, minimalists choose to live with less, and rather than buying things just to buy things, they do it with intention.
MINIMALISM IS... A PROCESS.
Minimalism is not something that will happen overnight. It's a process that requires us to challenge ourselves, and really think about the decisions we make. Minimalism is about learning to change habits, and embrace a new mindset. It's about learning to say no.
MINIMALISM IS... FREEDOM.
Minimalism is not constraining. It is quite the opposite, actually. Minimalism frees us from the excessive burdens that contemporary society encourages us to bear – debt, exhaustion, depression, anxiety... The list goes on and on. Many of these burdens arise as a result of our consumeristic tendencies, which are fueled by capitalistic propaganda, and can be avoided if we choose to live differently.
MINIMALISM IS... SUSTAINABLE.
Minimalism fosters a more harmonious relationships with the Earth. We're reaching a tipping point where we're beginning to suffer the consequences of a fast-paced, infinite, capitalistic culture. If we begin to consume less, we have the opportunity to increase resources available for future generations.
STEPS TO GET STARTED
- Go on a shopping fast.
- Make a list of what matters most to you, and why you want to become a minimalist.
- Get rid of stuff. Start with your closet... Then proceed with the rest of your house.
- Find time to really slow down (read a book, go for a walk, meditate).
- Learn to let go.
- Discard duplicates.