Buying into this “minimalist” thing

So when you think of Minimalism, you likely think of getting rid of stuff, not buying anything new, and living in a small white room with no furniture or pictures on the wall. That is what I thought.

This could be true, but in most cases it’s not.

There is a “brand”of minimalism that will pretty much suit any personality type or household. So after quite a bit of research I decided to give it a try.

It’s important to understand that the reduction of physical possessions is often a result of Minimalism, not Minimalism itself. Just giving away a lot of your stuff doesn’t make you a Minimalist, any more than buying a statue of Buddha makes you a Buddhist. It is a lifestyle change and a mindset change as well.

What I found by reading up on it was that it is more about priorities than giving your earthly possessions away,

What Minimalism is really about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff — the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities — that don’t bring value to your life. To clarify your mind and clean out your soul.

If you are able to say with absolute certainty, “This is important to me. Hot Rod magazines are my life and being involved with them is what makes me want to get up in the morning,” you should invest more time and effort in your collection. (Being sarcastic here- was told by D to leave his magazines alone!)

When they really start to think about it, though, most people is starting to realize that the physical things they own are not the most important parts of their lives. There is more to life than owning 3 dinner sets.

If you can take a day and really dedicate yourself to focusing on what’s important, you’ll likely identify a whole bunch of things that are more important than accumulating physical goods, and if this is the case, it could be time to start slimming down what you carry around with you- physically, in your living space and emotionally.

My Minimalistic Tendencies

My brother and I decided to go on a journey of self discovery. To  really find out what we want and re-assessing our lives, who is in it and what is in it. What do I really want? What do I really need? Who matter to me?

It was time to refocus and reposition myself so that I would be able to fully-invest in my passions.

For me, getting rid of all the crap I’d accumulated was as much a symbol of my transition as a part of it. As soon as I started slimming down the nonsense that I collected over the past 30 odd years. I thought, “This is real. I’m really doing it.” This thought can be just as important as the realization that something needs to change, because it reinforces that you have the power to change your destiny.

Getting Rid of Stuff

If you want to get rid of a lot of stuff, I recommend taking time to figure out what you’re keeping first.

The number of possessions you have doesn’t matter, but being able to live a happy life does. I will never count and list my possessions, any by having more or fewer than someone else is completely arbitrary.

Don’t get rid of stuff just because you can. (I am exceptionally good at this!) If you do this, the most likely result is that you’ll be sad and lonely without the things you love and will just end up buying new versions of them, which supports conspicuous consumption, costs you a bunch of money, kills the rain forests, and wreaks havoc on the world in general.

What I would recommend is slowly trying it out first-  and seeing what you can and can’t live without. Start with a simple task- clear out your bedside table. Do you feel better when there is less clutter there? Then move on to the next.

I thought for sure that I wouldn’t be able to make it without my countless dairies dating from 2007, iPad, and collections of wine glasses (I don’t even drink wine), but once they were gone, my heart kept beating and I had more time and money to spend on other things. I don’t miss them.

I have found, however, that I like to have my iPhone, and I also like to own well-constructed, simple clothing, and my MacBook Pro.

What’s nice about being a Minimalist is that all those freed-up resources can be reapplied to the areas of your life that you care about. I now have more money to utilize towards my studies, which is great (more on that later!)

Remember that Minimalism is a tool like any other, and you shouldn’t become dogmatic about it any more than you would about a religion or other philosophy. Take the practices that work for you and which help you live a happier life, but leave the others for those who find value in them.

We don’t get bonus points when we die for owning more stuff than the other guy, nor do we get a trophy for owning less than someone else. We do get to smile on our deathbeds if we enjoyed the hell out of life, however, so that’s what I plan to focus on.