What is the point of minimalism? Is it to be able to live with 100 items or less? To be nomadic and able to live anywhere, in any city, without having to deal with the hassle of movers?
Are you only a minimalist if you can fit everything you need into your car? Or if your house has more than 50% bare wall space?
Minimalism doesn’t have rules, but it does have a purpose. The purpose of minimalism is to live with less. By living with less, we free ourselves from the shackles of consumerism, and free up our time, money, and emotional capital for focusing on the things that really matter.
Minimalism is not decluttering. Yes, decluttering is a part of being a minimalist, but the idea of decluttering is to get rid of things that build up in your home. Minimalism is not having things build up in the first place.
To completely remove the habits and mechanisms that lead to clutter, so that you can spend less time managing your stuff, cleaning it, moving it around, and more time simply being, and enjoying life.
Minimalism leads to a balanced life
Personally, I firmly believe that having less stuff leads to a more balanced life. The more stuff you have, the more money you must spend maintaining it all. The more stuff you have, the more space you need to store it all. More money means more time spent working, and less time spent enjoying life, dedicating time to hobbies, etc.
Having more stuff also means having less time. More stuff means spending time cleaning it, arranging it, moving it around, and working to afford it. Having less stuff allows for more time to be spent on experiences, whether it’s time with family, time at a pub, or time working on a hobby.
Finding a good balance in life can be tough, with so many things to pull you in every direction. Between work, maintaining good relationships, money management, and taking care of myself, I barely have any time left over. I’m more than happy to remove acquiring and maintaining physical items from that list.
Minimalism contributes to mental well being
Finally, minimalism contributes to a well balanced life because it helps mental well being.
Being a minimalist doesn’t just mean you have less stuff, it means you want less stuff. It doesn’t have to mean that you don’t ever want to acquire newer or better items to make your life easier. It just means that, for the most part, buying stuff isn’t very high up on your priority list.
For me, being a minimalist has helped my mental well being a great deal. I used to place a lot of value on brands, and would spend a lot of time plotted how best to acquire clothing and other things.
Now, I don’t spend nearly as much time obsessing over material items, and instead spend my time more productively, doing the things that I actually enjoy. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders, to not always be thinking about all of the stuff I’d like to buy, if only I had the money.
That’s not to say I never want to buy anything, I do. I’d like a new computer, a new DSLR camera, and a new wardrobe. But these things don’t consume me, and I’m perfectly happy to use what I have until it’s no longer serviceable. I don’t spend much time browsing the internet, or allowing my lust for these things to cloud my thoughts.
Minimalism isn’t measured by how many things you own, how many paintings are on your wall, or how much you spend per year on material items. It’s a mind frame of less is more. It helps lead to a balanced life, where things like family, experiences, and health are valued above status, new cars, and large homes.
What is minimalism to you? Is minimalism important to you?