A Journey to Minimalism

I’ve always been a big believer in “less is more” but I didn’t realise that it would become a movement, a label, a way-of-life that many people are adopting in order to free themselves, create more space in their lives and with their time.

Welcome to the trend that is Minimalism.

And I’m not talking about the paintings and sculptures of the 1950s.  There are variety of definitions across the web, which fundamentally all point to the same thing.

According to The Minimalist’s, “Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom.”

Becoming Minimalist says, minimalism means “I am intentionally trying to live with only the things I really need.

Loving Simple Living has created a list of what they believe a Minimalist is: An intentional person – A driven and focused person – Unattached materially – Quality loving – Priority Centered – Society Questioning.

Colin Wright says “What Minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff – the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities – that don’t bring value to your life.”

The solution to a real problem

We live in a time of incredible excess where material items are more affordable today than in any other time before in history.  And as a result, we (as a society) own more STUFF than ever before.

Many new cars are the same price as they were 20 years ago.  Toys are ridiculously cheap which makes many parents think that they should just buy more of them for their kids.  Technology and gadgets are ridiculously cheap – TVs, computers, music devices – the prices have all come down.  I remember saving for my first pair of jeans 20 years ago, which were $80 – crazy, and now you can buy clothes for a fraction of that price.

With globalisation and the new affordability of things has meant that the advertising and marketing pressure has gone up – magazines, movies, tv shows, peer pressure, to:

  • Have the latest car with the latest technology
  • Wear “this season’s” fashions
  • Carry the most current mobile and tech devices
  • Live in a spacious, modern or renovated apartment or house, in the best or up-and-coming area.

It’s easy to see, with the availability of cheap credit (thanks banks!) just how we can all fall for it, and believe that all this “stuff” will make us happy.  And we are falling for it – just look at the rise in garage’s being used for storage rather than cars, and the massive rise of the storage solution business!

But now, there is a community of like-minded peeps rising up, saying no to meaningless materialism, and only saying yes to what they value and what is important to them.

Knowing yourself and what’s important

As the above definitions show, minimalism means different things for different people.  But it does mean rejecting the blanket life template of just buying things, and crafting a world to meet your needs.

I have been on this journey to a minimalistic lifestyle for many years, before I even knew what to call it.  I have been moving to smaller and smaller apartments, and I gave away nearly all my books and dvds.  I stopped buying jewellery and instead of buying the latest car, I opt for an oldie-but-a-goodie (up to 10 years old) with less bells and whistles.

However, at the moment, I am living from a 7kg suitcase, which is the biggest test of minimalism that I have ever tried.

I thought it would be hard, but actually it makes getting ready for the day extremely easy.  Having less clothes absolutely eliminates the paradox of choice.

Also, it makes me consider every little purchase I make, and I really ponder if I truly need something.  I definitely feel freer.

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Also published on Medium.

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