Minimalism means different things to different people. It is not a rigid philosophy or lifestyle requiring strict adherence to a set of rules. Indeed, no one can claim to be the expert or supreme authority on minimalism. To make such a bold statement would show that the person knew very little about the intent behind the lifestyle. Minimalism is about personal journeys. It is about getting rid of unnecessary or harmful things in your life to focus on the things that are truly important.
So minimalism looks very different from person to person because we all have different things we hold dear, varying levels of responsibility, and unique outlooks on life. Some people such as Andrew Hyde take it to the extreme and get rid of nearly everything they own-including their homes in order to follow their passions. Others, like me, don’t go as far. That’s not to say that he is right and I am wrong. It simply means that minimalism means something different to me than it does to him. Here are some examples of what minimalism means to me:
- Cleaner spaces: When you get rid of your clutter, suddenly you find you had more room than you did before. Your house (apartment, etc) looks cleaner than it did before. It also is easier to clean and maintain and is more aesthetically pleasing.
- Less wasting of time, money, and effort: When you move material things far down on the list of priorities it frees up your time and resources to be spent in places and ways that are more important. These can include your relationships, educating yourself, improving your health, caring for your loved ones and friends, and enjoying life.
- Appreciation for what you have: Since my foray into minimalism I have come to better appreciate what I have. Having less stuff makes the stuff you do have more important to take care of. When you appreciate something you take care of it and it lasts longer. That is true not only with possessions, but relationships as well.
- Discipline: I’ve had the opportunity to interact with a lot of different people, and also young people. One thing that I find many of them lack is discipline. Discipline to say no to that extra helping of dessert, to actually sit down and study for an upcoming test, to adhere to the principles they claim to believe in. Minimalism forces you to discipline yourself. It sharpens your mental focus because you are constantly trying to restrain yourself from buying things, eating unhealthily, etc. It is a tool to train your mind and body to have discipline.
All these are very important aspects of minimalism to me. They certainly don’t cover all its benefits or meanings, but when I think about my life and how I implement this lifestyle these are the things that are important to me.
So what does minimalism mean to you? Please comment below, I want to hear your thoughts! 🙂