What is Minimalism?

“Minimalism is living with what you need and what you love. That’s it.”

I am often asked ‘what is minimalism?’. Minimalism is a current buzz word, and the common understanding is that minimalism means living with very little – in life, clothes, homes that are almost stark in their simplicity and lack of adornment.

Minimalism however is not necessarily living with less, it is about discovering what is important, and discarding the rest. This applies not only to our homes, but also our lives.

 

Minimalism gives you freedom

The benefits of minimalist living in your home is quite obvious:

*  Less stuff means less to clean, tidy and manage

*  Less clutter makes spaces feel larger and airier

*  Buying less saves money that can be used for family experiences

*  Less to look after frees up time to use in other ways    

Finding your Freedom

Minimalism is also a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear and worry. Freedom from overwhelm and guilt. Freedom from depression and the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. It’s very likely that these are the things that are causing overwhelm and depression. Minimalism is about real freedom.

That doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions. Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff –  we tend to give too much meaning to our ‘things’, often forsaking our health, relationships, passions, personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves. Want to own a car or a house? Great, have them! Want to raise a family and have a career? If these things are important to you, then that’s wonderful. Minimalism simply allows you to make these decisions more consciously, more deliberately.

Misconceptions about Minimalism

When you think of Minimalism, do you  think of getting rid of stuff, not buying anything new, and living in a small white room, in a small house, with next to no furniture or pictures on the wall?

This could be true, but in most cases it’s not.

It’s important to understand that the reduction of physical possessions is often a result of Minimalism, not Minimalism itself. Just giving away a bunch of things doesn’t make you a Minimalist, any more than buying a statue of Buddha makes you a Buddhist or doing yoga makes you healthy. The question comes back again to ‘what is minimalism?’. It’s one aspect of the whole, for sure, but you needn’t partake if that’s not where your priorities happen to be. There are always other options.

And that’s what’s important to establish here –  priorities.

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.