A Minimalist lifestyle- Good or Bad

I wrote about de-cluttering a short while ago, having worked in the past for a de-cluttering guru. When people talk about minimalism and having a minimalist lifestyle what springs to my mind, is a white room, with the minimum of furniture and only a few well-chosen pieces like a single flower in a simple vase or a lone plant. Like many, I viewed this movement, wrongly, as merely a design statement. Followers of this trend, say that it’s something deeply life -changing. You could define a minimalist as someone who chooses to be intentional with what they allow in their life. Most often, this refers to physical possessions but it can refer to people, tasks and even ideas. The purpose of a minimalist life appears to be about having more of what matters to you and less of what doesn’t. Well that sounds like a great idea but just how practical is it to achieve?

People get minimalism and de-cluttering confused a lot because they are often mentioned together, but they are not really the same thing. De-cluttering is a vital part of a minimalist lifestyle. Some minimalists, say you don’t need to have a clutter-free home, but personally I don’t agree. I can see that having a minimalism lifestyle is much more complex than simply getting rid of as many things as possible. When we de-clutter, unnecessary items are removed from a room. De-cluttering is an action which has been taken, it doesn’t have to involve any changes in our mindsets. Minimalism, then, is not just about getting rid of stuff, it’s a mental shift in the way that we think about things which could, in turn, impact the decision- making in all areas of our life. Over the past few years many have jumped on the minimalism bandwagon not truly understanding the deeper meaning.

The minimalist gospel is the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, the celebrity de-cluttering guru, which has sold more than ten million copies. Which views minimalism, as a focus on self-improvement. The KonMari Method is not just been about transforming your space.

 Once you have your house in order you will find that your whole life will change. You can feel more confident, you can become more successful, and you can have the energy and motivation to create the life you want. You will also have the courage to move on from the negative aspects of your life: you can recognise and finish a bad relationship; you can stop feeling anxious; you can finally lose weight.

 A lot of claims to make, but this book has sold in 30 countries with great reviews, so for many it works!

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, known as the minimalists, help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books and podcasts. Rather than less is more, they write that been a minimalist is about more; more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, more contribution, more contentment and more freedom. Clearing the clutter from life’s path helps make that room. Minimalists say that by keeping expenses low and purchases to a minimum it creates a life that is clear and streamlined. This could also lead you to the conclusion that not only is there too much stuff in your own home but too much stuff in the world. We are facing an epidemic of over-production, over- consumerism and over-spending. For some, minimalism offers psychological self-help to cope with the over-supply of modern times. For others it’s the need to contribute to more sustainability in society through changing their own consumer habits.

When researching, I found many contradictory statements about the movement, finding some in favour and some against minimalism.

The opposition states that the trend towards post-modern minimalism is primarily a phenomenon of our prosperity culture and can therefore only be understood by those who live with too much. You have to have been experiencing a highly consumed life in order to consciously decide in favour of rejecting this and accepting less. Simply put it’s a middle-class movement. Ever with the current world changes and shortages,most of us live in abundance. Never before in human history has there been such an abundance and variety of food and goods at our disposal. Should we only consume what we need. A large part of our consumption is based on the social pressures of having to have the latest model rather than the actual need to replace something. For several months, we have all had a decreased ability to consume as many businesses closed temporarily. We managed to survive this hardship with no ill-effects. Its too early to tell whether this is will impact our future spending habits. Will materialism matter less?

Minimalism is said to be life-changing, but there are downsides, especially if you are starting from a place of less. If you don’t have that much to begin with how can you justify getting rid of things. Minimalism says, Get rid of it! If you really need it, you can always buy a new one later. Here’s the dilemma, what do you do when you don’t have the income to do this? I think it is important to remember that minimalism comes in different forms, it isn’t own the least amount possible which is often how the message comes across but about valuing what you have and become more intentional with what you buy. You have to apply some common sense; minimalism for a single person will not look the same as for a family of four. Those in support of minimalism would argue that a clutter-free environment and home decreases stress and reduces the time spent maintaining your belongings. This benefits everyone, whatever your financial status may be.

So, it seems that minimalism is about living more simply, with less and to enjoy more of what you really value. Minimalism can impact our choices at home, in our careers and in the way that we choose to our life’s. It has been likened to a form of meditation with more opportunity for a clearer mind than someone whose space and mind are both over-cluttered in thoughts and things. Minimalism involves intention, enabling you to focus and achieve better mental clarity and determine your goals.

I don’t live a minimalism lifestyle, although I can see many aspects that would improve my life. Honestly assessing the value and meaning of things in your life and deciding what you love, sounds a very positive thing to do. Getting rid of the rest of my stuff, does seem a bit of a challenge to me. But then life is about taking challenges……

https://www.theminimalists.com/ for more information.

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