If you think that minimalism is that weird thing when you get rid of all your stuff and aren’t allowed to buy more, then you’re both in good company and also only half-right: it’s a common misconception that in order to have a minimalist lifestyle you can’t, for example, have more than a certain number of shoes or a car. But you actually can!
Minimalism is a way to embrace and prioritize what’s meaningful and important to you and to rid yourself of unnecessary stress and distractions. Sounds pretty darn good, right? Want to know how it’s done? Great, keep reading!
Minimalism is concerned with your state of mind rather than the state your wardrobe and house are in (although we’ll get to that later). It highlights the fact that a big part of many people’s lives revolves around materialistic things, about being able to afford the nicest car and the most luxurious bag, and that your focus should lie on what actually means something to you instead.
Humans are hardwired to always want more and to not stay satisfied for long, which was a fantastic trait to have when we needed to hunt and gather to survive but in these modern, comfortable times, all it does is making us restless.
Now, always seeking new experiences and satisfaction isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself, but this is where it gets really interesting: the society we live in is through media and advertising telling us what we want and that we need to buy, buy and then buy some more in order to be happy, to fit in and to be content, fulfilled human beings.
We all know that money can’t buy happiness, so why are we buying into a life of endless consumption? After all, in medieval times animals could stand trial for crimes such as munching on plants, so it’s definitely fair to say that society, just like everyone else, can get things quite wrong.
Once the jig is up and it’s pointed out to you, it seems pretty obvious that a new car won’t be the thing that’ll bring you peace of mind but when you’re in the midst of it, it’s hard to see the whole picture and think outside that oh so famous box. Luckily we’ve done that for you, so let’s have a look at how this minimalist lifestyle works!
So, if this habitual consumerism isn’t the way to happiness and content, then what is? Well, that’s up to you! Have a think about what’s really important to you, what you need and what you want from life. Then, think about what’s not important, and start getting rid of it!
This is the part that might get you all worried: what stuff do you need to get rid of? That depends on what you have, of course, but a good way to think about it is to ask yourself two questions, the first of which is: do I really need this? and chances are that you don’t. If so, then bye-bye unnecessary possession! Just make sure that you donate or recycle the things that you decide not to keep, instead of letting it end up on a landfill.
So, the second question! This is both more fun and also a bit harder to answer: does this bring you joy? The tricky part here is that most of your items will have brought you joy at some point and might do that again, so you need to be a bit stern with yourself – perhaps come up with a number of things you allow yourself to keep, or base your decision on how often you actually use the thing in question.
And remember, if you really do love and value something then it’s worth keeping, no matter how big it is!
Why stop at your belongings when you can apply this mindset to your living situation as well! If you have fewer possessions, you need less space, and with less space comes less stress and more time for relaxation and what’s really important to you. Be as creative as you like; have a look at tiny cottages, try to get your hands on a lovely camper van or do some research about how to maximize your space in a small apartment – or anything else that suits you!
We’ve finally arrived at the million dollar question: what’s the point then, what do you get out of being a minimalist? Well, lots of things! Firstly, you don’t have the pressure to be successful, to fit in and to make all the money. You won’t be spending all your time and energy chasing the wrong things but can focus on what might actually make you a calmer, happier person. Oh, and it’s pretty good for the environment.
With not a lot of stuff and without all the bills and responsibilities that come with a large home, you won’t have to work as much and will have all the time in the world to spend on yourself, on your family and friends and on building more meaningful relationships with the people in your life. Because when it comes down to it, spending time and making memories with loved ones is the most precious thing of all.
A wise man once said that rich people never have any spare time because there’s always something to sort out, whether it’s one of the cars or a late night conference call. He has a point, and by all means, make all the money you want but promise to make sure to spend most of your time on what’s really important to you! Good luck, and please let us know if you want to know more about minimalism!