If you’ve spent any time on my website at all, chances are you have seen me refer to myself as a minimalist in one form or another. I often say I am a minimalist in training or that I am a practicing minimalist, both of which are true. I wanted to dive a little deeper into minimalism and explain exactly what it means to me and why I am so vocal about it.
So what is minimalism?
Well our old friends over at Merriam-Webster define Minimalism as follows:
“a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity”
While they may be right, I prefer to think of minimalism as a way of being. Internally and externally. You could say that it is a lifestyle, which it is, but that doesn’t quite sum it up. You could also say that it’s a fad, because I’ve heard that quite a bit from friends and family, and that may also be true even if that’s not the case for me. And it isn’t. For some reason describing minimalism as a way of being really hits all of the nails on all of the heads for me.
You see, I practice minimalism in all aspects of my life. From my physical spaces to my inner thoughts to my relationships with other people. One of the ‘tenants’ of my version of minimalism (and everybody has their own) is that I have less quantity and more quality. So for me that doesn’t just mean less stuff for higher priced stuff. It means less clutter of all kinds and more quality experiences and relationships.
I use minimalism as a guide for living my life because I really appreciate all that it has done for me. I get to focus more on the things and the people that I enjoy without being managed by ‘stuff’ or toxic clutter, both physical and emotional. When I am trying to decide the best option to take, I think of the way that I want to live my life. Simply. And that solitary idea that I have for my life generally helps me make sound decisions that are right for me. And that, to me, is a form of minimalism. It’s mental and it’s emotional, but it’s minimalism.
The same is true for relationships with others. For me, it is more important to have a few very close personal friends who are of great ‘quality’ than to have a ton of acquaintances that I just know casually and who probably wouldn’t be there for me if the going got tough. Inevitably, we all have some of those people in our lives, but I try to focus my energy on the high quality relationships that I have as opposed to the fair weather ones.
And we cannot have a discussion about minimalism without talking about the wonderful things that it has done for the physical spaces that I occupy. Gone are the days of being burdened by having to clean and upkeep an insane amount of stuff. And also gone are the days where I spend so much of my time digging for that one thing because it’s buried under hoards of other stuff. I have just what I need now. The key word being need. I found out through a lot of trial and error that I’m not someone who needs a lot of physical things to be happy. In fact, I am much happier when my space isn’t cluttered and I can focus on things that are important to me.
Minimalism has given me a lot, okay? And I hope that this rambling post will somehow educate if not intrigue you to give it a shot yourself. It doesn’t have to be all at once or anything crazy like that. Just try to simplify one aspect of your life through minimalism. See what it gives you in return. You may absolutely love what comes from it.