Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.The Minimalists
A nice lady in a completely unrelated Facebook group I’m in saw my blog and quickly became interested in my minimalist posts. She suggested I write more about it. That was *cough* last summer but hey, here I am!
Disclaimer: I don’t think I am The One to be talking about this. This is just how I, and many others, see minimalism. You should absolutely spend a little time looking into this, gather ideas and inspo and see if it’s right for you.
I started my minimalist journey with KonMarie back in 2015. The post is probably cringy. Don’t read it. I think that it’s worth mentioning that minimalism and KonMarie are not quite the same thing and I may get into that later. But that is still where all this began for me.
What is minimalism?
This is a debated topic in some circles but minimalism is largely seen as living without excess. It’s a tool, a mindset, a lifestyle, and *cough* an aesthetic. This post isn’t about minimalist art, design, or structure. It’s more about looking at what you own and asking yourself some questions. There aren’t any official “rules” you have to follow except the ones that you make for yourself.
The way I see it is I’d rather be invited to a smaller party with all my favorite people than a huge party with a ton of strangers and a few of my favorite people. I would rather focus on enjoying my time with the people I like the most rather than be overwhelmed amongst strangers in an effort to find my people.
How many items am I allowed to have?
Well I don’t know, how many items do you want to have? How much space do you have to work with? What is your life like? Don’t ask me! It’s going to vary, person to person. And you probably shouldn’t even count your stuff, that could get annoying. There are people who get really hung up on numbers… if it works for them, great. But that’s not the point.
There are some minimalists who live out of a backpack and hand wash their clothes every other night. Some minimalists can’t hand wash their clothes frequently and they have really messy dirty jobs or hobbies and need more clothes than some. Some minimalists have one more more hobbies that require many items. How many items you keep is going to first and foremost depend on your lifestyle.
OK but why minimalism?
Well it’s different for everyone. I can’t quite remember why I started on this path but I personally find that visual clutter adds to my anxiety. I also really like being able to find something quickly when I need it. It’s much less frustrating to look for an object among 25 objects than 250 objects. I think minimalism in general helps with some of my ADHD frustrations.
Other people go for minimalism so they can easily travel the world without worrying about their things. Others may do it to save money. Or for spiritual reasons. Everybody has their own reason.
What’s your problem with the aesthetic then?
Yo, I’m big on the aesthetic. It’s just that some people get a hold of the trend and try to sell on the idea that you have to have stark white walls, no furniture, certain colored things, buy only certain brands, etc. You know: people who want to make a buck or gatekeepers.
If that is what you want in your life, that’s great. But you don’t have to do that to be a minimalist. Minimalism can look so many different ways. I couldn’t stand being surrounded stark white walls and I find some furniture very handy, thank-you-very-much.
Isn’t minimalism for rich people?
Not really? Ugh. I hear this way too much. It’s for anyone who wants to be a minimalist. Before I even knew what minimalism was I had spent good chunks of time living out of 1-2 backpacks and I had no money. I just had what I had and used that. I wasn’t buying $80 merino wool shirts. I… used what I had. I lived with various other people and was allowed to use the household things (cookware and such).
It helps to have the money to buy nicer quality things that will last longer. A quality pair of shoes will last longer than a cheap pair of shoes. It can be hard saving up for the those shoes and if you just can’t do it, I think it’s fine.
As I’ve said, minimalism doesn’t have official rules you have to follow outside of the basic idea of “live without excess”. Use that idea and make it fit your current situation.
What can I minimize?
Everything physical you own: books, electronics, trash, mail, Christmas cards, unfinished projects, finished projects, white elephant gifts, ungifted gifts, clothes, etc.
But also intangible things: Toxic relationships, digital files, e-mails, bad habits, bad foods, etc.
OK, how do I go minimalist?
There are many ways to go about this! You can use one technique, or many. There are even games to make it fun. I’ll list only 3 items here.
The Moving/Packing Game: When you’ve moved into a new place, keep everything packed. Only pull out things when you need them. After a certain amount of time you gotta go do an honest poke through the boxes. Think about why you haven’t needed what you didn’t use and consider getting rid of them.
30 Day Minimizing Challenge: Not moving anytime soon? Or you are and want to lighten the load beforehand? Try throwing out 1 thing on day 1, 2 on day 2, 3 on day 3, and so forth. If you make it the whole 30 days you end up throwing away over 400 things.
The Tidy Up Challenge: OK I don’t know what to call this. I came up with it yeeeears ago and I used it before I knew minimalism was “a thing”. It’s pretty similar to the Packing game but a little more chill and my speed.
Fine an area that needs to be
taken down a notch minimized. This can be an entire room, one wall, or even just a shelf or desk. Remove EVERYTHING from that area. EVERYTHING! And then think about how you want that area to serve you, what you want it to look like. Go through all the items you removed and find the items that will make that area work out for you. Put nothing else there.
All that leftover stuff? If I was a hard ass I’d tell you to blindly ditch it. But I say: do a little poking around and be honest with yourself. Put those things where they belong…. in the trash, in someone else’s hands, in a different room, on a different shelf, etc.
You can start googling “minimalism”, hitting up hashtags on social media, join /r/minimalism. If it seems like something you can benefit from you can start minimizing. Be honest with yourself about what you need and truly love to have in your life. Strip yourself down to your ideal minimalist state.
This process helped me to realize how much I really really love alternative fashion (the pandemic helped with that as well). It helped me to realize how much I don’t really enjoy drawing or painting. I know now not to buy those supplies. I do enjoy doing collage, off and on. I also came to appreciate my absolute pure lust for hand knit socks. I love looking at hand knit socks, looking at yarn, knitting them, wearing them, planning outfits around them. So I now know to steer clear or painting/drawing supplies, I know to keep collage material on hand, and I allow myself to stock up on sock yarn and patterns.
I hope this was useful to at least one curious soul out there!