What Does Minimalism Do?
Alright, so we talk about minimalism a lot here. And you may be totally on board with minimalism, and love everything we talk about.
But, you may have a burning question.
What exactly is minimalism?
You see, that’s a big difficult - or complicated at least because minimalism is a personal thing.
I can’t necessarily tell you what minimalism is, because it is defined by your life and what is important to you.
Minimalism isn’t really a lifestyle, although we do refer to it as such. Rather, it is a way of thinking that is totally dependent on your life.
That’s why it’s hard to pin down a definition of minimalism, because it is personal.
Naturally, a thirty year old man’s definition of minimalism will probably be different than a fifty year old mother and career woman, who will still be different from a twenty one year old college student or a seventy five year old retiree.
However, there are some things that we can generally say about every person’s definition of minimalism because the end result is the same - of living a happier, more focused, meaningful life.
It is hyperfocused on what is important
“You can’t have it all” is the quote that comes to mind. Yes, you can have a dream career, a wonderful family, travel the world, drive an expensive car, have the perfect body, be in stellar health, have plenty of time to read to your heart’s content and be surrounded by amazing friends - but you may not be able to have it all.
Despite our wish to experience everything and have everything in life, we must choose the things that we wish to focus on. The things that are most important to us.
For example, Kee-ju and I both have health as one of our priorities. We make sure to eat as optimally as we can, get proper sleep, maintain good mental health and focus on self care even when life gets busy. Other things and obligations are placed as secondary to that.
It gets rid of excess
Excess is ever present in our lives.
Excess of material things - items, tools, organizers for the things, packaging, receipts and information for our purchasing of the things.
Excess of information, videos, images, stimulation, audio with a 24/7 stream of updates
Excess of consuming and digging ourselves deeper into the things that we may think may make us happy, but will not
Minimalism is like a breath of fresh air in the middle of all this - a cool breeze in a hot and stagnant room. It allows us to think clearly about what is important, and allows us to get rid of all the excess, clearing the room of distractions.
Minimalism as we mentioned is about getting rid of excess. And by getting rid of excess, we are able to move more freely.
By cutting our need for material things, we are able to have less debt, less clutter, and less distractions. We’re able to clean and maintain our possessions and homes more easily, live lighter and more easily.
By cutting our obligations and time spent on things that are not of importance, we free our time up to do the things that we truly enjoy, bring us happiness and are most fulfilling to us.
It brings meaning
A life full of meaning is one that most of us strive for.
It’s not enough for us to just live a conventional life - one in which we go to work, come home, pay our bills and occasionally take a vacation that doesn’t fulfill our need.
We want to break away from the rat race, society’s artificially constructed standards of happiness and find true meaning.
Some of the places that we find meaning in our lives are in creating, in bringing beauty to the world, in gardening and growing, and helping and finding time to spend with others.
Through minimalism, we are able to find more time and energy and opportunity to do the things that bring us meaning.
It brings us joy
I can’t tell you how unhappy we were just prior to starting to become minimalist.
We were running around 24/7 working on our day jobs, our side hustles, other obligations and trying to keep our house together and squeezing in some little moments of happiness when we could.
When we started eliminating a lot of the excess things, we finally were able to have time to be happy.
It sounds silly - almost simplistic - but when you don’t have time or the energy to find happiness, it doesn’t happen.
As you can see, these are pretty general (but positive) effects that minimalism has had on our lives, as well as the lives of many other people.
We’ll get into how you can create your own definition of minimalism soon, but in the meantime have you also noticed ways that minimalism has improved your life?