Can you believe we're into the sixth month of the year? Neither can I. The year feels like it is zooming past and before we blink, stores will be rolling out the Christmas decorations. I thought I might try to give you some insight on Minimalism and how it has found its way into our lives. With 2 Netflix documentaries done by The Minimalists, it is gaining mainstream attraction. I will show the good, the bad, and well anything else around it and how it has impacted us.
How I got into it
I feel like the natural progression for a person living a frugal life will be to explore Minimalism. Why? Well, it is easy, you are living with less when you are frugal (less money) and the basic premise of Minimalism is living more with less. So naturally, that resonated with me quite strongly. Noticed I said me, not everyone in my life... Well, at least when we started. More on this later.
I can't recall exactly how I was introduced to it, as in I am unable to pinpoint the exact moment when I heard about it. However, I did the classic just Google it thing after hearing about it and stumbled across The Minimalists.
These guys are considered by many as the fathers of Minimalism. They have quite a unique story and I would encourage you to read how they got there. See it was by reading what Minimalism meant to them that I realised that it resonated with me. Both Ryan and Joshua came from corporate jobs where they had all the trinkets of everyday life but they had little or nothing in the places that matter (family, friends, happiness, life satisfaction)
Through different key moments, they both decided to go all-in for minimalism. At its core, minimalism is eliminating things that do not add joy or happiness to your life. It sounds fluffy but it makes sense. Seeing how they claimed it changed their lives, I thought I might give it a shot.
Are we benefitting from it?
I was the one who started practicing minimalism in our family as I mentioned above. Like with a lot of things in my life, when I get excited by something I also dive in head first! So I immediately started thinking about every little thing that we could throw away, remove, reduce, delete, etc... That didn't go over too well initially with the wifey!
She wasn't opposed to the idea, however, I realised that I might have been an eager beaver on this one and my wife might need a bit of time to adjust to it. I thought to myself, what could I do right now? I started with 'my spaces'. The places that I commonly use and have autonomy over. Any space that wasn't shared. That included my office desk, bedside table, my cupboard space, etc.
I took all the items, from clothes, shoes, random doodads, and everything in-between, and started throwing it out. If it didn't serve a clear purpose and it wasn't something that I wore in the past 5 months, it was gone. All of my clothes were donated to the less fortunate and all the silly trinkets that clogged up my desk space was put in the garbage.
As soon as I did that, it was quite freeing. I've always loved a tidy space. I used to be quite a perfectionist but I realised that people will get quite frustrated if you consistently try to alter things and mannerisms about them.
To summarise -
- It has improved our lives
- There is no 'right amount of minimalism, remove things that are not adding to your life and be happy with that\
- Everyone adopts it at different rates. Be patient with the slow adopters
Should you do it?
Yes. I think that everyone can benefit from it. If you live in a developed country that is driven by capitalism and consumerism, chances are that you have too much stuff. No, you won't wear that sweater 'eventually'. I don't want to sound too preachy, so make sure you get your information from the horse's mouth as such.
They have a very helpful challenge that you can complete to kickstart your minimalism journey. I haven't done it but as I eluded to, I have cleared out 90% of things that are just things and I have for the most part kept around the things that help me do life better while keeping my mind clutter-free.
So do I have to give up everything?
No. If you still don't get that, then maybe I am not doing a good job of explaining this. However, a lot of people new to it, they believe minimalism looks like this.
A single chair in a room... That's not it at all. I'm not sure if the people in this photo are minimalists but if they only need a single chair in their living room... all the power to them. That's not us. We love our couch, television and now drawer full of our daughter's toys... (trying to get the drawer reduced but it's a losing battle. Our couch allows us to sit together as a family and have friends over. It serves a purpose and adds value to us.
So please, hold on to your laptop, favorite coat, handbag, and even television if you can truly say it helps you in a certain area of your life.
Are we still doing it?
Indeed we are. More so than ever. Having recently moved into a slightly larger place, I have seen my wife adopt it more and more as well. When we moved it, we were quite purposeful and deliberate with the things we kept and the things that made their way into our home. Anyone part of the newsletter will be able to see some photos of spaces in our home.
The main reason for sticking with it is that I've found that it allows me to do quality work. My mind is free of clutter and visual business. When I sit down at my desk, I work at a place that makes me feel happy and content! I work in a space where I can produce high-quality work without falling over old shoes.
I would highly recommend that you give it a crack for yourself. I know that it has been quite an eye-opening and freeing for me. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions!
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