Living a minimalist life isn't a new concept. It's been around since the beginning of time, probably economic necessity lead to minimalism for some but for others is a deliberate choice. It's a focus on being mindful with the possession you have in your life. These days you can think of it in broad terms as a focus on "collecting memories not things". But what exactly does minimalism as a lifestyle mean?
Being a minimalist seems to be ‘in vogue’ with the barrage of bloggers and authors writing minimalist challenges and hacks. For example, Courtney Carver came up with Project 333 to simplify her life (specifically her closet) and it went viral. The notion is wear 33 pieces (including accessories) in 3 months. She was able to successfully pair these items so no one at her job was able to notice. Carver obviously took time to choose these items and plan how they would be worn. This is evidence of being mindful & deliberately execution of a minimalist lifestyle. Picking the items based on the need (her job) and what would make her feel good
There is no hard and fast prescription of minimalism, Carver makes her minimalism work by pairing down her closet which helps her live her life as a minimalist. Her rules, her way. I love this! Take note, minimalism encompasses possessions that make YOUR life feel complete/right not something that someone dictates to you as required/not allowed. It’s a very personal practice.
Live simply so that others may simply live. ~ Elizabeth Ann Seton
In the Netflix documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things follows the duo of Joshua Fields Milburn & Ryan Nicodemus, who at this point have written 3 books on the subject capture what minimalism is in their book tour. The journey to minimalism was born out of a rock bottom of personal lives - crumbling family relationships. So the men re-evaluated their hyper-focus on careers that had become all consuming and furthered a culture of artificial culture of consumption.
The benefits of minimalism are too numerous to capture in a short blog post so I’ll give some of the highlights.
Living in a smaller space - a tiny house in my case - allows you to take up a smaller footprint. In addition, it provides more affordable housing for more people. This reduced carbon footprint (a great benefit for the environment, yeah!) means I'm taking up less room on the earth than if I were to have a 500 square foot apartment where I'd only use half or less than half of the physical space. My tiny house for example has exactly the number of rooms/square footage I need for one person. I do not have space I don't use, I have: a bedroom that has a desk where I do my writing, a bathroom, a kitchen/storage area and then a living room space which doubles as a workout area/spare room.
Being a minimalist should leave you with less personal debt since you have fewer possessions. My tiny house is paid off because I planned out exactly what I needed and used materials and labor that were (donated in some cases) and within my budget. I didn’t need to leverage a line of credit that I would never be able to pay back like many mortgages. Not just with my tiny house but with fewer possessions, I am able to live within my means and even create a savings! I am not focused the consumerism (shopping) simply to acquire additional items - rather I focus on collecting memories not items. I work very hard to not get wrapped up in the popular culture of consumption for the sake of consumption. My possessions have a specific purpose not just to take up space.
Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication. ~ Leonardo daVinci
One of the biggest intangible benefits of being a minimalist is the freedom it provides. Without having credit card debt and a mortgage hanging over me, I am able to live my life with a sense of direction to spend my time how I want. Working when I want to so I can live not living to work. It's a very freeing notion to incorporate my work (BeMoreBadass) into my minimalist lifestyle.
As more people embrace the notion of minimalism it will allow us as a society to offer more affordable housing to more people (reduced homelessness and reduced debt). This could make a huge positive impact the U.S. economy.
The simplest things care often the truest. ~ Richard Bach
Less debt should also lead to a reduction of stress induced physical and mental ailments. This would have an exponential impact on how people feel about themselves and how they interact with others. When you take minimalism and compound the impact across a significant number of people it has the possibility for gigantic life-changing benefits.
Is a minimalist lifestyle right for you, only you can answer that. It's a lifestyle of deliberateness in how you allocate your resources and a focus on living your life not a focus on acquiring "stuff". I would encourage you to check out the resources and see if incorporating minimalism into one aspect of your life like Carver did could work for you.
Reach out and let me know what aspect of your life you are trying to embrace minimalism and how it goes for you. I'd love to share the journey with you. Also, if you have any questions about how I make minimalism work as I live in the world (I'm not isolated) I'd love to share more about that too.
Bottom line, many of the things you have around you are just things and probably don't directly add to fulfillment of a quality life for you. Throw out the stuff and be deliberate in the things you have in your life.
Carver. C. (2016). Project 333: Simple is the new black.