Minimalism is a very broad term. It is used in visual arts, music, and architecture. However, I will talk about minimalism as a lifestyle choice.
What is a Minimalist Lifestyle?
There is no one absolute answer to this question. Although different experts and schools may have different descriptions of a minimalist lifestyle, one thing that is common to all is to live a life with fewer belongings.
I would say, you cannot just decide one fine day that you will become a minimalist and just be one by throwing away everything you own and have. It is a personal lifestyle choice and a process of learning.
What You Can Do to be a Minimalist
- Understand the difference between needs and wants. This is the most important as well as difficult idea to follow. Do you NEED that extra pair of shoes you saw online or could you do without them because you already own 4 other pairs? Only you can answer that question. No one can do it for you. Do you need those shoes or did you just feel like buying them on a whim?
- Prepare a list before you go shopping. This way you know what you have to buy. You don’t end up buying extra stuff and also save a lot of money and time.
- Keep your things organized as much as possible. If you have an organized wardrobe, you know what you already own. This way, you have a fair idea if you need any more clothes, shoes, makeup or jewelry. Same goes for organized kitchen cabinets and study tables too.
- Try to keep some space in your room(s) empty. Your room(s) not only look bigger and spacious, but the minds of the people living there also seem less cluttered. More physical mess, ergo more mental mess. Keep your homes and your minds tidy and happy. While trying to achieve this physical and mental clarity, you also buy less.
- Maintain a monthly money planner. If you calculate your expenditure for at least 2 months, you will know where you usually tend to waste your money. This way, you can stop repeating your mistakes. If you like writing down things with pen and paper, you can use any diary that you have to start a money planner. Otherwise, you can also use money saving apps.
- Have more homemade food. Food is the one thing where we probably waste a lot of money every month. But wait, that’s not the end. We also get sick if we eat out a lot. So, we are at a loss from all ends in this case. If we properly plan our monthly visits to restaurants, we can not only save our money but also our health. I am not suggesting you don’t go out to enjoy the food you love. Of course, do that. Food gives us happiness. But limit your visits to let’s say twice a month. You save money, time and health. Plus, when you do go to your favourite place to eat out once in a while, it will be special and more exciting.
What Minimalism Teaches Us
Minimalism teaches us to value quality over quantity. It teaches us to spend our time mindfully with nature and the people around us. Things cannot and should not define what you are.
Our wants never end. I still remember that comic piece I read as a child where a man walking on the footpath looks at the man cycling, the one on the cycle looks at the man on a bike, the biker looks at the man driving a car, the car driver looks towards the sky eyeing an airplane. The cycle never ends.
Minimalism gives us the gift of time, space and love. When you have less, you value what you have. You love and take care of them. Minimalism gives us peace and happiness.
Remember that it is an organic process. “Rome was not built in a day.”
In the end, you will have to realize that minimalism is a journey through life. There will be times when you buy an extra dress you did not need. There will be times when you spend some extra bucks on the food you shouldn’t have had. But do not despair and give up. Faltering at times is alright. But start over again. One day, it will not be very hard for you to live without those unnecessary things in your life. You will value your life without those material things.
What do you think? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.