What comes to your mind when you think about Minimalism?
Have you ever thought about the stuff that is in your life?
I am a minimalist. I wasn’t all the time, in fact, I was rather a maximalist before. I was sad, I shopped. I was successful, I shopped (reward, right?). I was in company, I shopped. Shopping was an outlet for me for many emotions.
Then I had a lightbulb moment (or rather lightbulb period), when I moved to the UK. I had to leave a comfortable big 1 bed flat plus basement locker to move into a teeny tiny room in a houseshare in London. I had to purge. Most of my possessions. Books, bags, clothes, electronics, decoration, shoes, DIV & crafts. All sold, passed on or disposed of. It took me around 4 month to get rid of all my stuff.
Here we are, the UK made me a minimalist.
Fast forward 5 years later. Guess what I miss? Of all this stuff? (You’re right. Nothing!)
What is minimalism? Very easy put: Owning less stuff. It’s not quite so easy, therefore let’s have a quick look what it is not:
- Extreme. Minimalism is linked to extremes. People go into caution (ah, one of THEM), extreme environmentalists, ask “are you vegan”? Do you live in a tiny house or on a boat? Not true.I live in a normal sized place. I buy stuff. Just much less of it.
- It’s fad and all about restriction and being deprived. No. It’s about what brings value to your life. According to the self storage association there are more than 1,600 self storage sites in the UK (that is more than Sainsbury’s stores), it’s a GBP 720 million business. Is all that’s stored there really adding value to their owners lifes? All the things I bought years ago and I stopped buying now. I am not feeling deprived without them. I actually feel free’er without them.
- It’s some kind of club and you can only own so and so much to call yourself a minimalist. No. There is no one fits all. It looks different for everybody. There is one well known minimalist Colin Wright, he owns 51 things (in 2 bags) and travels the world. Then there is Leo Babauta, he has 6 children. Their minimalist lifestyles already look very different from each other. If you come to my place, you would not guess we are minimalists. There is furniture, and stuff laying around. Only if you look close you would remark: Yes, there is stuff. but there is no excess.
To recap, minimalism is not extreme, it’s not about deprivation and it looks different for everyone.
How is less more? The actual cost of things goes beyond price tags:
Storing, maintaining, cleaning, charging, accessorizing, replacing, refilling, protecting, worrying about it. The list goes on and on.
The average western household holds 300.000 items. Now for each item you have all these things to worry about. Imagine how much megabyte of brain storage it would free up when they were gone.
What is it? Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important and lead a purpose driven life.
What will you stop buying?
This is a speech I wrote and held.
What do you think? Does it capture the essence and you would know what minimalism is about?