Many people believe that Minimalism is a new craze. A fad that has swept the world up in a storm to get rid of all possessions and live a life with less stuff that seems unfulfilling. However, despite the reputation of the movement, there's more to it than people think.
Today I'm going to take a deep dive into what Minimalism is, how it helps mental health and how you can achieve a more minimalist lifestyle.
What is Minimalism
What do you think of when you think of Minimalism? Do you think of a small flat? One that's white and bare, without anything comfortable to sit on, zero furniture? And only five pieces of clothes in a wardrobe? You thought of these things and all of the weird misconceptions. You also connotate with the movement like me. Then we are both wrong.
Carl Andre didn't create Minimalism in the early 2010s to help the millennials live a more meaningful life. Minimalism has existed long before that time. The movement began in post world war two. Minimalism was initially an art movement in the 1960s and '70s against modernism and abstract expressionism—using techniques such as geometric abstraction.
This later transcended to architectural work, notably the Ryōan-Ji dry garden. As well as music, writing (such as Raymond Carver) and even cooking argue against haute cuisine and opts for a less complicated cooking process and presentation. You can even see it in films, software and fashion.
Since its growth in popularity, it's become a staple in home design and many peoples living practices. Since learning the above, you can guess. Minimalism isn't about getting rid of your Mac and living in the wild.
Minimalism in practise
Ultimately Minimalism when it comes to everyday living isn't what we think it is. You don't have to get rid of all of your computer games and go off-grid. Minimalism in everyday life is looking at the everyday objects around your house and prioritising which ones are most important.
For example, if you are a single mother with a child, you only get rid of the toys hardly ever used and keep 1-2 pacifiers maximum or get rid of them completely.
Minimalism makes you prioritise the objects in your life and makes you whittle down what you do and don't need. Imagine a more in-depth Marie Kondo that asks more than ‘Does this spark joy?’
Got sets of pyjamas you hardly wear? Get rid of them? You aren't getting rid of stuff to make an empty existence. Your doing it creates more space, free the mind, and has more stuff that matters to you.
Another misconception surrounding the lifestyle is that you can't have hobbies. However, I'm afraid that's not right (like most are.) Remember, it's about getting rid of things that you DO NOT care for anymore. And so, because you care for it and it's crucial to your development or mental health, you can keep the equipment that makes your life better and fulfilling.
Everybody's version of Minimalism is different.
Because Minimalism makes you take out stuff that is no longer important in your life, and everybody has different priorities, which means that everybody's idea of Minimalism will be different.
For example, my idea of practising Minimalism would involve getting rid of the 30+ books I've had since I was nine. (Never going to happen because I and my books will never part. There could be a fire, and I'd still save them!) Yet somebody else might have to practice it through the clothes they buy and how much they get in the sales per year. For others, they have to whittle down how many chairs they have. Again it will be different depending on their priorities and what they view as necessary/essential to living a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Why do people do it?
Many people online will tell you a bunch of reasons as to why they've turned to this movement. The one example I commonly hear is 'so they don't have to deal with so much clutter.' 'To get more organised.' is another reason I hear a lot as well.
Other reasons include
- Moving house
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Have an awareness of how their typical lifestyle affects the environment
- Have more space
- Reduce debt
- More time to travel
- To be more flexible
- Finding a better purpose
Ultimately Minimalism isn't about living in the wild with the fairies. The people that practise it aren't necessarily hippies. It can genuinely make you prioritise what you want and need in life and help you make the changes that would enable you to feel more fulfilled in life instead of miserable. You never know what getting rid of a few things around your home could do for your mental health!
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