Minimalism is much more than living with less
Minimalism, as you may or may not know is a phenomenon that derived from painting. Painting with simple and shorter brush strokes. The idea was that a piece of art didn’t have to be covered heavily in paint for it to be beautiful, intricate and tell a story. If we apply minimalism to our lives we will see that living with less can equate to or exceed the happiness (and other feelings) we experience when we live with more.
But, it’s not just about living with less. Anyone can live with less for a specific period of time. If you’re travelling, or even spending a night away from home you will not have your whole closet of clothes; nor your whole face basin filled with products and gels and toothpaste. We can all live with less than we’re used to for some amount of time.
When my sister was leaving home to go to college I remember going on a tour of the dorms with her and I was appalled by what I saw. The whole time I wondered why anyone would rather stay on hall than commute from home. Mind you I was around 9 years old at the time and hadn’t really stayed anywhere that didn’t have accommodations similar to my home. But, sometimes freedom is worth living with less (for at least 5 days out of the week).
This is essentially what you get from minimalism: freedom - everyday though, not just 5 days a week. The art of living with less, is a conscious decision to live with only the things that make you happy; the things that really add meaning to your life; things that give you purpose and things that serve a purpose.
It seems easy to just give away clothes and other items that you haven’t worn or used in a while, but it is much more difficult to make minimalism an everyday choice. A choice to only surround yourself with those things and people that mean the most to you. It may sound like a shitty way to live, but I think if we look at it with a different lens - why wouldn’t we want to be the happiest we can be everyday? Or at least try to be.
I have been on this mission to minimalism for quite some time and I don’t think you’ll ever get to a point where you feel like you’ve achieved “optimal minimalism”. It is always a work in progress.
The hardest part about minimalism is not giving things away, it is deciding on what really brings you joy; the things that really speak to your soul and make you happy. I’ve spoken about this In a few other posts and I may be starting to sound like a scratch record (a Caribbean saying that pretty much means you’re being repetitive) but whether or not you want to practice minimalism, it is important for us to be able to truly identify what makes us happy.
We are creatures of capitalism and excess by way of our environment, so in many ways we believe overindulging makes us happy. But in the same way that adding the right ingredients in the right quantities results in a pretty great meal/ baking the perfect cake, then sticking to the things that make you happy, in the right quantities, can only make you a happier person.
Deciding to live with less may be the best decision you’ll ever make.