It this day and age, “stuff” is all around us and constantly being shoved at us. Whether it’s an ad on the internet while we’re scrolling or a commercial on TV, it’s never-ending. It feels strange to learn how to live well with less stuff because that’s not what’s the norm.
However, when you put aside the overwhelming importance that is put on tangible items, there’s a freedom you gain. Experiences and interactions start to gain more importance and you’re opened up to a whole new world that isn’t cumbersome. You end up saving more money, letting go of stereotypes, and you stop worrying about the next best thing and having to have it. The freedom, alone, is why I will always suggest that minimalism is given a chance.
What is Minimalism?
When I talk about minimalism, I don’t mean the art form. Although, the same basic concept stands behind both the art form and the lifestyle. In the art form, a simplistic nature is used to represent an object. For example, instead of a painting being full of flair and extra components, an object is shown without non-essential concepts. In other words, if the added color, lines, etc. aren’t needed to paint the object to show its true identity, then those are left out. This is the same basic idea used for the minimalist lifestyle.
The entire focus of minimalist living is to let go of the things you don’t truly need to live life. Basically, breaking down the idea that only “stuff” can make us happy. Minimalism is the art of learning how to live well with less stuff. In other words, you know those 60 pairs of shoes you have sitting in your closet? You know, the shoes where at least 50 of them just sit there from year to year? Just get rid of them. No one person really needs 60 pairs of shoes just sitting there unless you buy into the concept that TV shows and magazines tell you, that women hoard shoes because it makes them happy. It’s not the pair of shoes that make you happy, it’s the act of buying the shoes and the fact that you feel like you’re fitting into some societal mold if you do.
Minimalism is all about simple living and breaking free from this and understanding that it’s the experience that means more than the actual item. When you go shopping, you usually go with another person. Even if you don’t, just shopping around is a way for you to relax. The actual item itself that you purchase is rarely the thing that brings the most joy, it usually comes down to the experience you had getting that item.
Of course, minimalism has quite a few more key points to it and can mean something a little different to each person. Overall, minimalism is living small, with only necessary items. Minimalism is living with intention. This means you intentionally choose to break away from the overwhelming cultural norms pushed on you by our current society.
In turn, this breaks you away from the pressure to be like someone else or live up to a certain image. You can be you and not worry about fitting into a cookie cutter mold. Minimalism is choosing to live a more simplistic life. With more stuff comes more complications such as having to have a high enough paying job to pay for more stuff, a bigger house, and a fancier car. Minimalism takes like to its more basic roots and allows all those pressures to fall away.
How to be a Minimalist: Tips for Living a Minimalist Life
In Marie Kondō’s popular minimalist book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she teaches us how to become a minimalist by deciding if the items in our lives “spark joy.” You can learn more about this process here. This will help you get started on your path to a minimalist home and a minimalist lifestyle.
Becoming minimalist can be life-changing, but it doesn’t have to be hard. If we’re used to living a lavish lifestyle or, if we’re that person with the 60 pairs of shoes, it could be difficult to reduce our life to live minimally. However, if you’re wanting to take the leap of living minimally and to learn how to live well with less stuff, here are a few tips to help you get started.
Just Start with You
Don’t worry about other people around you and trying to get them to do this with you. Although it’s nice to have a sidekick when we make big choices like this, just focus on you. Find yourself and the reason you want to flesh out your life and break it down to be more simplistic. Once you’ve found that reason, sculpt it into your life and start living more minimally. Living like a minimalist has to begin with YOU!
Minimalism for Kids
If you’re going minimalist, you’ll need your family to do the same, and that includes the kids. They may not be happy about sorting through all of their toys, clothes, and books, but in the end, they’ll realize how good it feels to have more space in their rooms to actually USE what they do have.
What Do You Appreciate Most?
One of the easiest ways to see what you can reduce from your life, both tangible and intangible, is to see what brings you happiness. Walk around your house, what is there that just sits there and really goes unnoticed? Get rid of whatever you come across that’s pointless. Does that fancy clock on your wall bring you joy or get used much since you have a cell phone? No? Give it away or sell it. Reduce your belongings and relationships in your life to those that bring you joy and get rid of everything else that doesn’t serve a purpose. This will take a while, give yourself time to work through it all, and remember, it may feel crazy.
You may have a moment or two where you feel like a junkie and want to relapse. Sure, it’s hard at first because the minimalist mindset isn’t one that many people are used to. It seems ridiculous to most and after enough people say that to us, we start to doubt ourselves. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reducing your life to have less stress, worry, and pressure.
If you have negative people in your life that don’t understand your desires, it may be time to cut them out. Now, let me be clear, sometimes there are people in our lives that care for us and mean no harm by inquiring about some crazy changes we might be making. Help them understand what you’re doing, they may just jump in with you.
Being minimalist truly isn’t a crazy concept but, once you start making the major changes, people may worry and that’s ok, that just means they care. However, if they are negative nonstop, even after you explain, give them the boot, you don’t need that.
Are you a minimalist? We’d love to hear about your journey!