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  • Darshana Ananth

All You Need To Know About Minimalism

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

Minimalism has been the talk of the town for quite some time, shining light on the benefits of living a simple yet fulfilling life. The idea did seem a bit intriguing in the beginning after taking a look at the lifestyle of people who lived as minimalists. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, the concept of minimalism is quite to the point.

Minimalism is a lifestyle where you live with only the things that add value to your life.

The concept first originated in Japan in the field of music and visual arts. They called it minimal art because of the use of just colors, lines, and planes that made up the whole piece. Later, minimalism made its way into western culture as a way of life. It emphasizes on intentional living and mindfulness.

Oftentimes, we are overwhelmed with the number of things and clutter that builds up in our lives. Some items, we don’t even use but it is there just in case we need them later. The clutter can cloud our decisions from living to the fullest. Minimalism conceptualizes owning only the things that add meaning or value. Hence, ‘Less is better’.

“Minimalism is not about having less. It’s about making room for more of what matters.”

Minimalism is not a one-size-fits-all, so it is customizable to your liking to reap maximum benefits. Also, it is not just about getting rid of material things but making space for the important stuff in life. It is all about choosing quality over quantity.

Minimalist Lifestyle

To become a minimalist, you must own less than 80 things, become a vegan, live in a tiny space, and go zero waste for the environment. Would you be able to do it? Okay, I’m kidding. People often get the wrong idea of minimalism because of how it is portrayed on the internet by some people who call themselves minimalists. You can own many things and still be a minimalist.

To take a look into what a minimalist’s lifestyle looks like, let’s dive into a hypothetical situation. Let’s imagine that you have just one more day to live. What are the thoughts that come to your mind? Are you going to spend time with your material possessions, thinking about all the things that you didn’t get a chance to buy or will you spend your last few hours with the people you love? It’s obvious. Though the above situation seems a bit extreme, you get the drill.

“Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.” – Leo Babauta

Minimalism isn’t about owning very few things or depriving yourself of the stuff that you wish you had. It is about making mindful decisions about the things that can add value to your life. I’m sure you’ve heard of Marie Kondo from her book ‘The Life-changing Art of Tidying Up’. She says that anything in your life which doesn’t spark joy in you has to go. You can take inspiration from Joshua and Ryan from ‘The Minimalists’ who idealize the concept of minimalism as well.

Decluttering Methods

Just take a pause and look around your room. I’m sure you can spot a lot of items around you. For a moment, think of the times that you used each item last and how many times it was an absolute necessity to you. It doesn’t take long for you to realize that so much clutter has been building up over the years. Although we don’t use a lot of items regularly, we keep them just in case we might need them in the future. And how many of your items have duplicates? Because you never know when you might run out of something.

“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” – Barbara Hemphill

Start Small

When you feel like you are over-burdened by the amount of stuff in your life, you can start decluttering one day at a time. You can start with your closet and follow the Marie Kondo technique where you ask yourself if the item sparks joy in you. If not, donate it. You can move into other knick-knacks that you haven’t used for a while and clear them out. The trick is to question the purpose of every item in your life. The most difficult part is letting go of your sentimental items like gifts or items holding childhood memories. It is okay to have them if they mean something to you. Minimalism is about decluttering the unnecessary which is holding you back from seeing the more important stuff in life.

“Just because something made you happy in the past doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever.” – Melva Green

90/90 Rule

This technique solves the problem if you’re still not sure of the items that you want to get rid of. “Have you used the item in the past 90 days? Will you need that item in the next 90 days?” Just ask yourself this simple question and the answer will present itself right in front of you. This will bring out the items you had completely forgotten about because you rarely used them.

“You don’t need more space, you need less stuff.”

30 Day Declutter Challenge

The 30-day Decluttering is one of the most effective yet challenging methods. Here, you get rid of one item on Day 1, two items on Day 2, so on and so forth. By doing so, you declutter a whooping 496 items at the end of the challenge! To make sure that you follow through with this challenge, get yourself an accountability partner with whom you try this challenge together and help each other in the process.

“The less you own, the less owns you.”

Prioritize your life

Minimalism doesn’t just apply to material possessions in life, it is about spending your time and energy on the right things that actually matter. It is about doing the essential and the most important things that give you a sense of fulfillment. Before you jump into an activity, take a moment to question yourself, if you spend your precious time on this, is it gonna matter in the long haul. If the answer is no, don’t waste another minute on it.

“Less stuff, more meaning.”

Minimalism Myths

There are a lot of questions regarding the ideal lifestyle of a minimalist and how minimalism should look like. People misinterpret the meaning of living with less to living a life of lack, which is not true at all. Everyone thinks differently and what’s right for one person, may not be for another. There’s no right or wrong way in minimalism. The broader picture is to live intentionally with what we have and make the best out of it. Let’s bust some of the common minimalist myths.

  1. A minimalist owns very few things.

  2. A minimalist is not allowed to buy new things.

  3. Minimalism is about living with the absolute minimum, a tiny house, and recyclable things.

  4. A minimalist should be zero-waste or vegan.

“The best things in life aren’t things.”

On a personal note, I think minimalism is a great way to take out the unnecessary and focus on what actually matters. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s worth applying this concept to a few areas of your life. If you decide on decluttering your belongings, please donate them instead of tossing them in the bin. Someone will appreciate it. It’s never too late to start. Know that very little is needed to make a happy life.

Take care.

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