When you think about minimalism, do you picture people just getting rid of stuff, selling their cars, and living in a really small and empty place with cheap furniture and no decoration?
Well, this image doesn’t represent all minimalists’ lifestyles. At all.
We are fully aware that society, as we know it, embraces consumerism in an unhealthy way. But consumption, at its core, is not a bad thing.
The act of consuming goods only turns into a bad thing when people lose control of what they are buying and why they are doing it. You probably know someone who buries their problems going on a shopping spree or someone who must have the car of the year or the new iPhone just for status, right?
There is no problem whatsoever having the latest car or the most up-to-date cellphone. The central question is: is it making your life more meaningful?
In this article, you’ll understand why minimalism is all about focusing on what is important.
What Is Minimalism?
Still considered a fad by many people, minimalism is a lifestyle based on choosing simplicity (or making intelligent choices) over accumulating goods just for the sake of it.
Being surrounded only by things that we actually use and enjoy has a different impact on our lives. However, to be a minimalist doesn’t mean you have to trade your Rolls Royce for a cheaper vehicle or that you have to live in squalor, no.
For instance, if owning a car, buying the last iPhone, or having a big house is important to you, it’s ok! If your vinyl records collection makes you happy, please keep it.
Minimalism simply opens the way so you can make decisions more consciously, more deliberately.
Likewise, if you want to live with fewer material possessions or travel as a digital nomad throughout the world, minimalism is a tool that should be considered.
How To Live a Minimalist Lifestyle?
The first rule to living a minimalist lifestyle is: there are no rules.
It gets easier when we understand that the point is to get rid of life’s excess to concentrate only on what is important. Its essence goes beyond material things: mindset and habits are also part of the game.
Reducing material possessions is one aspect of the whole and it comes as a result of a minimalist lifestyle.
The focus relies on improving our lives and discarding all the excess that doesn’t bring value to us, and this excess also embraces:
Decluttering your home, for example, could be the first step toward making your own space more pleasant to live in. As a result, removing things you don’t need or that you haven’t used for more than a year tends to transform your everyday life. There are so many direct and indirect benefits:
- a decluttered home is easier to clean and tidy;
- you spend less time organizing or searching for your stuff;
- it saves time and money;
- it boosts productivity and creativity;
- a decluttered space helps you to relax and even sleep better.
You can take baby steps to see how a minimalist approach works for you.
Much Less Equals Much More?
Millennials and Generation Z are already turning to a new way of living.
Future generations will probably live a lifestyle strongly based on the sharing economy. Somewhat it’s what we are already experiencing today with Uber, BlaBlaCar, Airbnb, and coworking spaces, but amplified.
The main idea that will naturally be on the mind of future young adults will be something like: “Why buy X, Z, or Y if I can rent, borrow, or share them?”
No extra rooms needed to store stuff, no maintenance costs, no garage needed when renting an apartment to live in… The perks go on and on, and they’re different for each individual.
According to a study published by Statista Research Department, there were more than 20,000 coworking spaces around the world in 2019, with the APAC (Asia-Pacific) being the world’s largest coworking region.
It reflects the changes our society is going through, despite COVID-19 reshaping social, political, and economic scenarios worldwide, and one of these changes is remote work, which is somehow intertwined with minimalism.
The number of people who work remotely across the globe tends to increase in the next decades, as more and more of us are getting tired, and often sick, of our current there-is-always-so-much-to-do-and-life-is-passing-me-by lifestyle.
The concept of minimalism is also considered a direct reaction to irrational consumerism and the wastage of resources. In general, we could say that it aims at:
- sustainability (buy less, impact less);
- a richer life with more experiences.
See? Much less equals much more when we think about fulfillment instead of excessive consumerism.
New to minimalism? So, where do we start?
If you are interested in this subject, you can start by following a few tips:
- Don’t buy it, borrow it.
- Make conscious decisions.
- Consume focusing on quality, not quantity.
- Fix something instead of throwing it away (are you familiar with the wabi-sabi concept?).
- Barter for goods and services.
But remember: the point is to create a balanced approach.
If you need an object to use only once, it’s better to borrow it from someone instead of buying it, right? In this case, you could give something back to the person you borrowed the object from.
For example, if your neighbor lent you a cake pan, it would be a good idea to return this item with some pieces of cake in it to thank him or her.
As mentioned earlier, minimalism is not about a bunch of strict rules that should be applied to our lives. Instead, it’s a shift in our mindsets that allows us to understand two powerful things: blind consumerism is not healthy and intelligent and useful choices can bring us comfort and meaning.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to understanding what we really need.
To some of us, it’s all about filling our lives with good people, fond memories, and a perpetual sense of awe.