White walls, carefully-placed plants and a flat lay of a neatly-kept desk. These are the usual images that come to mind when your hear the word minimalism. A concept that is rooted in finding personal freedom has become an aesthetic and buzz word in 2018. While it’s undeniable that these designs are aesthetically-pleasing, the simplistic decor is only a small portion of what living a minimal lifestyle truly is.
If you’re an aspiring minimalist or intrigued with the concept of ‘less is more’ read on as we unpack the 21st century phenomenon of being a minimalist both inside and out.
5.) Minimal Living 101
Minimalism is no new concept. The elements of the present day trend of minimalism has its roots in cultural concepts from around the world. Books like Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing have brought minimalism to the mainstream American audience. The Swedish word Lagom, which translates to “just enough”, is also a popular concept that has infiltrated millennials Pinterest boards and Instagram feeds. These ideas and concepts of decluttering and rejecting consumerism are the at the root of what is now known as minimalism.
So what is minimalism? The key to minimalism is not only about sleek design and capsule closets, it’sabout finding out what minimalism means to you. Do you want to downsize? Do you want to place less importance on material objects? Minimalism can help you achieve your personal goals of finding personal freedom.
Before you start your journey to becoming a minimalist it’s important to be clear on who you are, what your values are and what your personal and professional goals are. Once you’ve got those things clear, then you’re one step closer enjoying the benefits of minimal living.
4.) Declutter Your Mind: Minimalism as a Mindset
It all starts with your mindset. For the most part, we’ve all grown up in a consumerist society that encourages the acquisition of things, new things, and more things. We are groomed to want the latest ‘this’ and the best ‘that’. Minimalism questions and rejects these harmful ideals that have been engrained in us. Instead, minimalism teaches us to be mindful of what we purchase and what we own. Everything that we surround ourselves with should serve a purpose, and it should be something that is functional and has a positive impact. If it isn’t then it may be time to rethink or repurpose it.
In the same way, this mindset can also be applied to your personal life. Distancing ourselves from toxic people, jobs and habits is also a key part of decluttering your mind. This process should involve a lot of introspective work as well and is not always as simple as quitting a job or cutting off a bad friend.
Once your mind is set on being surrounded by the things and people that you love, the practical steps towards minimalism will become clearer.
3.) Declutter Your Life: Less IsMore
Once you know what minimalism is for you, you can begin to take the steps towards decluttering your life. Whether it is making new space in your home, your wardrobe or downsizing where you live, decluttering is an essential part of becoming a minimalist. But before you run to throw away everything, it is important to take the steps towards mindfully deciding what it is that you need in your life and what things no longer serve you.
There are many different ways to begin the process and it is different for everyone. Jenn Salsich of lifestyle blog Simply on Eden believes minimalism isn’t a set number of things.
“Minimalism is about surrounding yourself with the things you want or need and getting rid of the things that you don’t.”
If you want to begin decluttering your personal space, a good place to start is to pull out everything that you love or need and want to be surrounded by. If its your closet, then take out every item and decide if it is something that you love or that serves you, if it isn’t then make steps towards sustainably getting rid of it.
While decluttering your space is a physical practice, you’re simultaneously decluttering your mental space and the other areas of your life will follow naturally.
“In the end, you will live a life and in a life that has no unnecessary strings attached and is full of joy.”
2.) Sustainable Minimalism
The benefits of the ‘less is more’ lifestyle runs deeper than working on ourselves, it also has a positive impact on our environment and our communities. Sustainability is an important facet that goes hand in hand with living a minimalist lifestyle.
Stephanie Seferian of The Sustainable Minimalists Podcast talks about the importance of minimizing excess in all areas of life.
“…After doing the hard work of examining our purchasing habits, minimizing our environmental footprints is often a natural consequence.”
To completely revolutionize the way we view consumerism, it’s important to think of the origins of the things we buy and how it affects the planet.
Buy Less Stuff
The first step toward sustainable minimalism is to buy less stuff. It’s about recognizing what you truly need versus what you simply want, then adjusting your purchasing habits accordingly. New things are often wrapped in excessive plastic, cardboard and Styrofoam to keep them pristine; there’s a carbon footprint associated with the process of manufacturing new things, too. Instead of buying new, consider borrowing where appropriate, or purchasing a previously loved item instead.
A lot of people become obsessed with “decluttering” and get into an endless cycle of decluttering and buying over and over again. When decluttering your home, take the extra time to donate, sell, repurpose, recycle or up-cycle your unwanted goods instead of sending them into the garbage can (landfill). Being conscious about what you buy and where your things go is not only beneficial for your bank account, but also the environment. For more ways on how to donate and recycle household items check out Sefarian’s post on how to responsibly get rid of the excess.
1.) Where To Find More Information on Minimalism
Thanks to the internet trend, minimalism is everywhere and there are tons of resources out there to help you take the steps in the right direction. Here are few books, podcasts and blogs that have plenty of #minimalist information and inspiration.
- Cladwell – A company that helps people create capsule wardrobes.
- The Minimalists– Website, blog and podcast examining the true objectives of minimalism.
- Mama Minimalist– Sustainable minimalism for families.
- Mindful– A nonprofit focusing on mindfulness as a tool for a healthier life.
- Goodbye, Things Fumio Sasaki [amazon_link asins=’0393609030′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’top50c30-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ad384cae-583c-11e8-a6bb-41eb2f12f202′]
- The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide Francine Jay [amazon_link asins=’1452155186′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’top50c30-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d1a3b96e-583c-11e8-843e-d98b75b5389b’]
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Marie Kondo [amazon_link asins=’1607747308′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’top50c30-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f0060b77-583c-11e8-b5b0-91d3f886b645′]
- Lagom, The Balanced Art of Swedish Living Linnea Dunne [amazon_link asins=’0762463759′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’top50c30-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’fbe1797e-583c-11e8-a406-a5e75fc673f8′]
Do you consider yourself a minimalist? Comment below with what led you minimalism and some tips to become one!