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November 01, 2021 7 min read
Although it started as an abstract art movement in the 1960s, minimalism has since evolved to be a catch-all term that describes anything from an aesthetic to a philosophy to a lifestyle.
Although thousands across the world describe themselves as minimalists, there aren’t exactly criteria for others to follow. For this reason, everyone has their own version of minimalist living.
But at the core of it all is a deep desire to own fewer possessions. In addition, going for quality and longevity is encouraged. So, whatever your version of minimalism is, the end goal is to be happy with less.
To help you create a minimalist life, here is our take on minimalism, how to get started, and the five items that can make your journey much easier.
So, what exactly is minimalism? Simply put, it’s a way to simplify our lives by getting rid of the excess. Whether you have too many material things, too many activities happening on a regular basis, too many distractions, the point of a minimalist mindset is to get rid of the non-essential to shift your focus on what’s truly important.
For you, minimalism could mean getting rid of the clutter in your home, paring down your to-do list, deleting old social media accounts, or creating a capsule wardrobe. So, whether you want to adopt a Steve Jobs daily uniform, become a traveling nomad living out of one suitcase, or live in a tiny home, there are tons of options for you to simplify your life.
There’s a reason why minimalist trends have swept the world by storm. It has tangible benefits that can make your life better in various ways.
Here are our favorite benefits of minimalism and bringing simple living into your own life:
It’s easy for our material possessions to spiral out of control. Having unneeded clutter in your home, office, or car can hamper your productivity and make it hard to focus. Minimalism gives you a reason to get rid of your clutter and to keep it out.
Once you make a vow to own fewer material possessions, then there’ll be no more mindless shopping or impulse purchases. Everything you buy will serve a purpose in your life.
Since we really don’t need that many items or duplicates, this will equate to you consuming much less. This will also reduce waste and trash output.
This goes hand-in-hand with the consumption equation. The more you restrict your buying, the less money you will spend overall. This can mean paying off more debt and growing your savings account. With simplicity comes fewer expenses.
On the other hand, you can choose not to put your money away but to instead spend it on things and resources that are more meaningful to you. Travel, concerts, charity? Count us in.
The psychological effects of having too much stuff are real. Whether it makes you feel overwhelmed, takes up too much time, or calls for frequent cleaning routines, there’s definitely stress associated with having too much in your space.
Those who clean out their spaces feel an immense amount of stress relief. Getting rid of physical clutter can lead to liberation from mental clutter.
Your furniture, car, and clothes are all things that need to be cleaned every once in a while. So, it follows that the fewer of them you have, the less time you’ll have to spend cleaning. That leaves you more time to do the things you actually enjoy (unless, of course, you enjoy cleaning!).
Imagine being able to buy a plane ticket for the next day and having everything you need to take on your trip. That’s one of the main promises of minimalism: investing in high-quality items that can be used in any situation.
If you’re conscious of having the least amount of belongings, then you’ll want them to be as nice as possible. In a minimalist home, the result is usually a small collection of belongings that look, feel, and perform well.
If you’re convinced of the benefits of minimalism, then the next step is to figure out how to get there.
Of course, we won’t recommend the extreme route of getting rid of all your stuff and replacing them with a small number of high-quality essentials. Instead, we’ll recommend finding the version of minimalism that works for you and taking gradual steps in that direction.
Here are some steps you can take towards adopting the minimalist lifestyle:
Because there’s really no agreed-upon definition of minimalism, you can have a little freedom with defining what it means for you. Think about the things you value and center your idea of minimalism around it.
Are you in it for the clean, simple, and monochromatic aesthetic? Are you trying to live with less clutter to make your smaller space seem bigger? These are valid reasons to follow a minimalist lifestyle and can serve as your inspiration and guiding perspective.
Now that you’ve defined your minimalist lifestyle, make a concrete plan for how you will achieve it.
For example, if you want to adopt the minimalist aesthetic, then make a list of the things you will have to get rid of and the things you’ll need to buy. Likewise, if you want to just live with less, then define (in numbers) how many articles of furniture, outfits, and accessories this will be.
The most important step in starting your minimalist journey is decluttering. Considering how much stuff we own, this task might take several days. But the pay-off will be huge.
So, when you have the time, declutter everything from your closet to your desk drawers to your wallet. Get rid of absolutely everything that you consider to be clutter. Next, set aside those things that you know aren’t necessary but for some reason are hesitating to get rid of.
We all have those things that we keep “just in case”—an imaginary situation that never comes. While these items tend to be in good condition, they add unnecessary bulk to your life.
So, whether it’s a heavy parka that you haven’t worn since you moved to Florida five years ago, exercise equipment that’s collecting dust in your garage, or various decorations that you feel guilty getting rid of, now’s the time to make a serious decision.
This principle also applies to things that you use but have run the course of their time. Not to get too Marie Kondo on you, but if it doesn’t spark joy, then there’s no reason for it to take up space in your life.
Once you get rid of everything that you don’t want, then it’s time to replace those things with something that will be a pleasure to own.
Make sure that the replacements you go for are versatile, high-quality, and something you’ll want to own for years to come. If you invest time and money in picking your new things, they’ll totally make up for the smaller amount of things you own in general.
Of course, we get that it’s not realistic to replace every one of your belongings that’s lost its spark.
So, if we had to pick, we’d prioritize these five must-have items for any minimalist:
If digital minimalism is one of your goals, then perhaps invest in a good laptop. The right one can be your work computer, your TV, or your gaming console—allowing you to pare down on all the dozens of gadgets we tend to own.
Make sure to keep a laptop case on hand for when to travel, either on international flights or to your local coffee shop and back.
If there’s one place that tends to accumulate clutter without us realizing it, it’s definitely the mighty wallet. Whether it’s dozens of credit cards, paper receipts, or just random pieces of paper, a wallet can physically (and figuratively) weigh you down.
Grab in a high-quality minimalist wallet to prevent this from happening in the first place.
There is no limit to the number of bags that an individual can own. Luckily, when it comes to how many bags we actually need, we’d comfortably tell you the number is one.
A high-quality backpack will be versatile enough for all kinds of occasions and look stylish in every context. Look for the color option that will work best with your current belongings.
If you want to shrink your wardrobe, start with a good pair of shoes. By investing in a sturdy pair, you’ll be able to wear them in a variety of places and occasions. Basing your closet around one pair of shoes will create clarity and cohesion.
Eliminate the scores of flimsy pens and cheap notebooks you own by replacing them with one high-quality set. A luxury pen will make the ultimate statement about your style while always being practical. As far as the notebook goes, there’s nothing better than opening up a hard-bound leather one to plan out your schedule or do some creative writing.
There’s a reason minimalism is so popular today. It can reduce stress, help you save money, make you feel free, and help you focus on what’s truly important in life. While everyone’s version of minimalism is different, we’re sure that whichever way you choose to take it will bring you all of these benefits and then some.
Can the Rule of Three Solve All My Dressing Problems? | The New York Times
The Unbearable Heaviness of Clutter | The New York Times