Minimalism is quite the buzz word lately. And as with every other trend you see circulating around social media, it seems like people are jumping on board fast. Maybe you are intrigued and wondering what all the fuss is about. You want to know if it is a good fit for you. First off, I would like to say that minimalism looks different to different people and the reasons people become minimalists is varied and personal. But let’s begin with what minimalism means.
According to Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists:
Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.
Well that all sounds awesome. But what does it mean?
In a nutshell, possessions tie us down and trap us. Mentally and physically. But we never really think about it. We keep handing over our hard-earned money and acquiring new things because we feel flat and the jolt of adrenaline makes us feel really good. For a bit anyway.
But what we don’t realize is that each new object caries with it responsibilities. We have to take care of it and keep it safe. Almost like our children. Have you ever gotten a scratch on a new car? It’s devastating and stressful isn’t it?
Minimalism makes you take a step back and evaluate your choices. Are your choices in alignment with what you truly want? Minimalism is the practice of making a conscious decision to shift away from a consumer driven life to one of purpose. A life that doesn’t have you working 24/7 to pay for things. And that is where the freedom comes in.
Having less means owning less means owing less.
Think about that for a minute. If you didn’t have things, you wouldn’t have debt, you wouldn’t be tied down to a job and a place. Freedom.
So does this mean you have to throw out everything you have and never buy anything ever again to be a true minimalist? It can be if you want to but for most of us, no.
It means living with what you need, not what you crave. It means having and/or purchasing things that support our long term goals and improve our lives and bring us joy far beyond the immediate satisfaction. It means always taking into consideration the true cost of possessions in terms of hours needed to work to get it as well as the time and mental power it requires to keep it.
In other words, getting out of the rat race.
If you have decided that minimalism is for you, understand that becoming a minimalist isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time and patience. You may fall back into your old ways occasionally on your new journey but with practice and perseverance, you will get better at it. And the new found freedom will spur you on to continue.
If you are sitting on the fence and not quite sure minimalism is the life you want, see if you can relate to any of the following reasons other people become minimalists:
7 Reasons People Embrace Minimalist Living
1. They are tired of all the clutter
One reason people choose minimalism is that they are tired of all the clutter. Their houses always look like a mess. They can’t find anything. They are constantly regretting new purchases. They feel claustrophobic from their stuff and it no longer brings them any joy. They are ready to clean house and get back to what is important.
People that become minimalist because of the clutter they have created, want a home and a life that has room to breathe. If you are sick and tired of the clutter, then choosing the minimalist lifestyle may be for you!
2. They are making a big move
When faced with a big move, either because of downsizing or relocating because of job or health, some people see this as an opportunity to make drastic changes. Sometimes this change is under duress because they can’t take everything with them or sometimes it is because they realize they have too much stuff to go through in very little time. Either way, they embrace minimalism as a way to start fresh in a new place.
If you have a big move in your immediate future, why not take this time to re-evaluate your goals and see if minimalism aligns with your purpose. It will make your move smoother and less stressful.
3. They want to be debt free
Things cost money. There is no way around that. And people that have a really bad habit of using credit to buy stuff sometimes realize that their debt has become unmanageable. Or maybe they have run out of credit. Either way, they want to get rid of the debt they have and stop the cycle of getting more. So they decide to become minimalists.
It really is simple mathematics. Buy less stuff, have less debt.
If you are stressed all the time about money because you have a lot of debt maybe your focus needs to shift away from buying more items, but instead, enjoying what you have and being careful about what you purchase in the future. A minimalist mindset will help you achieve that.
4. They want to travel
It is hard to travel and enjoy yourself when you are always worried about your things back home. I know because I used to be one of those people. I couldn’t relax at all.
And people that want to travel full time have to also consider whether or not they should keep a home base (and pay for it) or whether they should store their things temporarily. But storage fees can be expensive. Especially if you are paying to store things you may never use again. So some people go total minimalist, get rid of all their stuff and live out of a suitcase.
That seems really drastic but if full-time travelling is your dream, the first step is becoming a minimalist. You will be shed of the weight of things plus be able to travel freely and lightly.
5. They want to live a healthier life
Too busy to go to the gym? Not enough mental clarity to journal? Consumed by what the Jones’ have purchased now?
Getting caught up in the consumer lifestyle is unhealthy. Especially if you buy a ton of electronics which promote a sedentary lifestyle. Some people choose to go minimalist simply because they see that their lives have become extremely unhealthy both physically and mentally. They want to change their focus and improve their health. They become minimalist as a way to eliminate distractions.
If you are always stressed, consider the benefits of owning less. Not only will your home have more room but you will gain mental space too. Living a healthier lifestyle can start by becoming a minimalist.
6. They want to have more free time
People that become minimalists are tired of working for stuff they don’t really want or need. They are tired of spending their weekends cleaning or re-organizing their stuff. And they are tired of not having enough time to do the things they really want to do. And so they decide that they don’t want to chase the dollar bill anymore.
If you feel like your life is no longer your own and you never have any time to do the things you want to do, maybe you need to get out of the rat race and become a minimalist.
7. The have become more aware of consumerism and its impact on the Environment
Ever notice how much packaging there is on the new things we buy? It’s unbelievable isn’t it. Those that have become extremely aware of how consumerism is impacting our planet see minimalism as a way to reduce their carbon footprint by buying less (and buying second-hand) and donating or recycling the things they no longer want.
If you want to live more green, you should definitely look into minimalism to help you reduce your impact on the environment.
It is important to not think of minimalism as a sacrifice. Instead, think of the benefits and the reasons why people become minimalists. It will help you to make the transition to a life with more freedom, more purpose and more time for the things and people that matter to you.
Are you thinking about becoming a minimalist? What reason struck a chord with you?