When most people think of the word “minimalism,” they think of stark white walls, cold metal furniture, and people who live without any possessions. While this may be true for some minimalists, it is not always the case. Minimalism is the philosophy of living with less. This could mean owning fewer possessions, having a simplified lifestyle, or both. Ultimately, it’s about owning only what adds value to your life and then letting go of the rest.
In our modern world, especially in modern suburbia, the trend is far from minimalism. But that means we have less energy and resources to focus on the things that really matter. What would happen if we sloughed off the unnecessary in favor of direction and focus? Could we regain true love? Inner peace? Minimalists seem to think so. And when you tally up the bill, it’s easy to see why.
Low-key hoarders have a hard time with this one because the mentality for saving things you don’t need is usually associated with thrift. The reality of the situation, however, is that holding onto things you don’t need actually costs you more: you need more space, more storage bins, more maintenance. And then you have to stay organized enough to remember you have the item to begin with once you need it. And let’s face it: most people just aren’t, which means spending money on the things you need when that day finally arrives.
Minimalism saves you money. When you own fewer things, you have less to keep up with and less to replace when something breaks. Managing more things means spending more money to repair, clean, organize, and store.
In a close second to saving money, minimalism saves another precious resource: time. The less you have, the less time you spend taking care of it and thinking about it. This is especially true for material possessions, but can also apply to things like social obligations and commitments.
When you live a minimalist lifestyle, you have more time to focus on the things that are truly important to you. You can spend your time doing things you love instead of worrying about all the stuff you have to take care of. You might be amazed at how much time your stuff is sucking out of your everyday routine: time to clean, time to organize, time to plan, time to find, time to rotate. Imagine the liberation of less stuff.
We live in a world that is constantly trying to sell us something. Whether it’s the newest phone, the latest fashion trend, or the latest kitchen gadget, we are bombarded with advertising telling us that we need more stuff: stuff will solve our problems. (Spoiler: it sure doesn’t.)
But minimalism tells us that stuff is the problem. Because when we ease up on the stuff, our minds are finally free to solve real problems. Having less things opens the door to creative thinking, mindfulness, and peace. It’s like kicking out a really needy tenant from our mind. Finally, we can focus on the important things because we’re not answering the immediate needs of the tenant in front of us.
Maybe this goes without saying, but when you have less clutter, you also have less messes. Suddenly, cleaning a room is a breeze because there are fewer things to move around. (Or trip over.) A decluttered space is also a calmer space, which can help reduce stress levels. It can be difficult to relax in a space that is full of things, especially when those things are out of place. Which means you have to invest more time and stress managing the things to keep them in place. If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is!
Moving for minimalism means less things to manage, less clutter in your space, and fewer things out of place. Suddenly, your living room is always clean when guests come over because there isn’t junk around to begin with. And the items that are around are significant to you and have a designated space.
Minimalism in Action
Ultimately, the choice to live a minimalist lifestyle is a personal one. But if you’re on the fence about whether or not it’s right for you, there’s no harm in giving it a try. You might be surprised at how good it feels to declutter your life and rid yourself of unnecessary possessions. A good resource for those wanting to give it a try is Marie Kondo’s trending book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Start small. Start with your sock drawer and see how it feels. Grab a garbage bag and only hang onto the items that are regularly useful. Throw out anything with holes. Toss out underwear two sizes too small. Ditch things that are itchy or lumpy or fall down in your shoes. Liberate your mind from making decisions when you get dressed. Only leave behind options you love. And see how it feels.