Minimalism isn’t just an interior design, but a lifestyle in itself. By minimising and simplifying everything in your life, you find yourself with more space for the important things such as health, hobbies and relationships. Therefore, a thorough decluttering could hugely benefit your mental health, filtering through your mind and disposing of the unnecessary worries that are currently contaminating your healthy, minimalistic mind.
Minimalism for beginners
In simply by christine’s video Minimalism for beginners, she defines minimalism as ‘a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives’, a question that will arguably have differing answers for every individual, bringing about various degrees of minimalism. She provides ten tips on minimalist living which seem to not only fight against consumerism, but also save you loads of money in the process – minimalism could be the key to wealth as well as a clean mind!
And it helps our planet!
Living minimally also reduces waste and therefore contributes to a cleaner world, not just a cleaner mind. For instance, not owning a car means that you’re not contributing to the world’s emissions as you’re instead car sharing, using public transport or walking. Generally buying less ‘stuff’ that we don’t actually need reduces the amount of packaging we have to throw away. If we take a minute to reflect on how lazy our society has become, constantly creating new appliances such as dishwashers to make our lives ‘easier’ and single-function items like toasters to speed up our hectic lives, we start to realise how many of these things we can live without, and therefore how much less water, electricity etc we could use.
We are born into a society where it’s the norm to use material things to validate ourselves in life, in fact luxury items are normalised to the extent that we begin to believe they are necessary for us to live. Take 99% of women and their make-up for instance! This luxury isn’t at all necessary to function in life, however due to societal pressure, it’s become a necessity for many women. Add up all the hours you spend doing your make-up and imagine that time spent with friends and family, trying new experiences and doing the things you love. Strive for a purpose-driven life as Madeleine Olivia puts it in her video BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO MINIMALISM: 10 Top Tips to get Started.
To de-stress and de-clutter the mind, you must do the same to your surroundings. The difficulty lies in differentiating necessary items from luxury items, so if you’re not sure, try living without the item for 30 days – if you survive, you don’t need it! However, I’m of the opinion that this method removes a certain element of sentimental joy from life that’s brought to us by non-essential items such as photographs, souvenirs or quirky home decor. To find a balance between minimalism and happiness, I would highly recommend taking on Marie Kondo’s Japanese tidying philosophy – only keep the things that spark joy!
Becoming a minimalist
It’s essential to maintain a happy mind as well as a clear mind, so don’t rush into this lifestyle hoping to feel an instant sense of relief and have some sort of epiphany. Set a goal and gradually work towards it, easing yourself into minimalism one step at a time so that you can notice your progress and appreciate your growing peace of mind. Simply by christine stresses that minimalism is a journey which involves discovering what’s important to us, what we need and don’t need, a process that reminds us of the simple things in life whilst we’re surrounded by a world of excess and consumerism.
Our previously environmentally ignorant world is what Jenny Mustard believes brought about the concept of minimalism in the first place. In her video, 4 REASONS I’M NOT A MINIMALIST!, she explains how the minimalism trend has been a response to consumerism and environmental damage as it focuses on sustainable living and the more important, intangible aspects of life. If you know you’re contributing to a cleaner planet, you’re surrounded by a clutter-free living space and your priority becomes filling your life with moments rather than materialistic things, it’s inevitable that you’re going to feel more positive about yourself and live a more efficient life.
Jenny goes on to discuss the countermovement of maximalism which argues that minimalism is boring and joyless. Maximalists are encouraging people to bring bold colour and patterns back into their homes, with an element of ‘re-cluttering’ to emphasise that less is not more, but more is in fact more. Some will view this as wasteful, an unhealthy living environment and a total encouragement of consumerism due to the excess and redundancy aspect, however it could be argued that in order to achieve a positive state of mind, every individual should be entitled to live a lifestyle that makes them happy, whether this be maximalism, minimalism, or somewhere in between. My opinion is that at this point in time, we’ve clearly maximised the world’s resources, meaning that it’s time to minimise our impact on the earth rather than continue to be excessive when it comes to consumption.
And back to minimalism…
For a realistic view of a minimalistic lifestyle, check out Matt D’Avella’s video, A Day in the Life of a Minimalist, you’ll be surprised at how normal it appears to be. You can clearly observe how Matt lives a healthy lifestyle, focusing on being productive, doing things he enjoys and spending time with people he loves. You may be able to identify with these aspects in your own life, but are you cluttered with additional things such as social media, an extensive wardrobe or careless food wastage? We’re discovering that a minimalistic lifestyle is less about having fewer belongings and more about being aware of how you’re using your time and resources to live a healthy, happy life. However, these things can be interrelated, as Marie Kondo puts it, ‘the question of what you want to own, is actually the question of how you want to live your life’.