Minimalism as a lifestyle choice hails from the minimalism of the art world – which loosely translated, means order, simplicity, harmony and truth. As a lifestyle, minimalism is about living with those same ideals of simplicity and order – which means living with less clutter, less of a collecting mindset, and essentially seeking experiences over possessions.
For me minimalism and living simply is best summed up when you see people towing a ridiculously huge caravan two hours up the highway for a couple of nights stay at a beach caravan park when they already live across the road from the beach. Minimalism is about stripping back your lifestyle, away from the idea that excessive equals successful – and living more connected and gratefully.
So often it is easy to get caught up in the idea that more equals better when in fact connection and authenticity leads to a more meaningful experience. Minimalism is about stepping away from the bright flashing neon of resorts and accepting that true inner peace and satisfaction is something that you get closer to by doing the patient inner work.
When you become aware of just how much “stuff” you have accumulated – it just follows that quite quickly you can assess how much of it you don’t really need. It’s the stage of childhood development – collecting and categorising – that many of us fail to outgrow and evolve beyond. More is not more. Being able to discern what is required and what serves you is really powerful and saves years of your life wasted on maintenance and upkeep of your clutter collection.
“You can’t pay someone to do your push ups for you” – it’s a personal journey we all must undertake – at some point prior to death we let go of ALL our possessions. You can begin right now by looking around the room you are in and noting three items you have not used, or that no longer bring you joy. It’s pretty straightforward from this point. You have to let the item go – recycle it, trash it, or sell it. But keeping it is no longer serving you other than clogging up your space.
Meaning over More
Minimalism essentially rejects the artifice and triviality of materialist consumption and instead offers an invitation to pause, reflect and truly seek out what gives your life meaning. And even those items gifted to you from some great uncle doesn’t mean it has to stay forever in your possession. It doesn’t take long to appreciate that more stuff does not equal more happiness.
Assess, Edit, Release
Leo Babauta has made minmalism his life – you can read his 105 page manifesto The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life
The Simpler Way is a 48 page Practical Action Plan for Living More on Less by Samuel Alexander et al.