Nowadays, the terms “minimalist” and “minimalism” get thrown around a lot. Do you know what it is? Why are so many people doing it? Is it something that you should try? How do you get into it?
What is minimalism?
Minimalism is a philosophy that promotes “living with less.” It is a type of lifestyle that focuses on living life to the fullest without all the worldly possessions. It upholds the importance of simple living and believes that you can be happy and content in life if you get rid of excess stuff.
To be a minimalist, you should remove unnecessary elements in your life, allowing the things that matter the most to stand out. You should not hold on to stuff that you do not need or use, and you should stop wanting to do everything and too much. Minimalism is all about having simple things and living stress-free.
Why should you become a minimalist?
There are many excellent reasons why you should seriously consider jumping on the minimalism bandwagon. Below are some good examples:
You get rid of clutter in your life
Do you have a ton of clothes in your closet that you have not worn in years? Are there boxes and boxes of old toys, gadgets, and other things stored in your basement that are just gathering dust? Are your old and broken television, couches, blenders, and other appliances and furniture still occupying some precious space in your tiny studio home?
To start your journey to minimalism, you have to be prepared to throw out many of your possessions. If you have not used them in a while, you have to ask yourself certain questions, such as:
- “Why haven’t I used these in years?”
- “Do these still fit me?”
- “Do these still work?”
- “Will I need them in the future?”
- “Do they add value to my life?”
Once you have carefully pondered your answers, you should be able to determine which ones should stay and which ones should go.
You form stronger bonds with people
How would you feel if a friend you have not seen since high school graduation invites you for coffee but spends half the time liking posts on Instagram? Would it upset you if she interrupts you multiple times while you are talking because she just has to take calls? Is it not infuriating to receive complete silence after asking her questions about her work and life because she is texting?
In this age of internet and smartphones, it has become normal for some people to look at their phones every few minutes while having dinner with friends or hanging out with their families. Rather than spend their time exchanging stories, laughing at old memories, and catching up, they are quiet, heads bowed down, and eyes stuck on their small phone screens.
If you want to live a minimalistic lifestyle, you have to be ready to spend less time with your smartphone and reduce your reliance on technology. You have to better appreciate your social interactions, and be 100% present every time. By listening and paying attention to other people, you can develop strong and deep bonds that no material thing can ever match up to.
You can manage your finances better
Does a huge chunk of your income go to your mortgage? Did you recently buy a car and have to set aside hundreds of dollars of your salary for the monthly payments? Does your upgraded phone plan leave you with nothing else to put into your emergency savings account?
Having your own house, a brand new car, or a high-data mobile phone plan can make life a lot easier and more convenient. However, they can be a burden too, especially if you are not earning enough to be able to afford them. Because of your limited financial capacity, you have to sacrifice some other things that you might not yet realize are much more crucial to a happy life.
If you want to become a minimalist, you should understand that you will have to make smarter financial decisions. You have to prioritize things that you really need, such as food, health insurance, and emergency fund, and treat luxuries and others as things not worth going broke for. By doing these, you can reduce stress and worry caused by money, and you can take pleasure in your day-to-day life more.
You can enjoy more experiences
Do you want to see the world, immerse in different cultures, and meet new people? Are you envious of those that are able to take a week or two off from work and go on road trips or chill at the beach? Is family bonding time important to you now that your children are older?
Minimalism aims to enrich people’s lives by encouraging spending time, money, and effort on experiences rather than material things. It values quality over quantity. What good is a million-dollar mansion if you find yourself going home to a cold and empty house everyday, away from the people you love? Is having a high-paying job that requires you to work 14+ hours a day including weekends, depriving you of having any semblance of social life, really worth it?
While living comfortably and in luxury is not bad, it might prevent you from enjoying experiences that can enrich your life, strengthen your relationships, and make you a better person. It almost always comes with a trade-off, and can negatively impact not only you but also the people around you.
Is minimalism for everyone?
Going minimalist is not for everyone. So many people think they can do it or have started doing it, only to give up after getting a few days of firsthand experience. It is up to you whether or not you can make this big of a change in your life and have the ability to commit to it long-term. It involves plenty of small and big life modifications that can be very difficult to adjust to, especially in the beginning. To not overwhelm yourself, start small and gradual.