Maybe you've heard it, maybe you haven't, but the concept of minimalism has been a popular one in a world that prides on materialism and self-gratification. People around the globe are adopting minimalist values in all types of forms. Whether it be style, interior design, or even household or personal possessions, it has become a popular fad to chose the phrase "less is more." This trend is especially true for millennials.
What is minimalism?
Although minimalism is defined as a type of artful design, it's actually a type of lifestyle geared towards living on simpler means. This concept was adopted by a few famous bloggers, including Josh Becker (author of Becoming Minimalist), Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (authors of The Minimalists). Becker writes that he is "dedicated to rational minimalism" after cleaning out the garage one day and realizing how his stuff was taking away from enjoying the true things in life. Millburn and Nicodemus define it as the following:
“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
Basically, these bloggers realized that minimalism is more than just living with less stuff. In an interview with the Atlantic, Millburn and Nicodemus pointed out that a minimalism means questioning what things truly add value to your life, and where to invest that time. It means choosing to enjoy life and not letting the material world get in the way of what life really is.
In an article published on The Every Girl titled "Why Minimalism Is For You", it says that living minimally means experiencing life more fully without all of the material goods. This can apply in all aspects of life. Think about it, do you really need that fifth purse? Or another pair of heels? How about another mug? Probably not, but in the moment of the purpose we (yes, including me) believe that these things are what we need in order to live a full abundant life. But it's just not true.
The other point about minimalism that stands out from this article is making sure that minimalism means making room for the things you really enjoy in life. For example, I have a massive bookshelf filled to the brim with my favorite books. I find buying books and adding to my collection is more important to me than buying clothes that I already have in a different color or style. Choosing minimalism means prioritizing the things you love, and spending that carefully budgeted money on the things that are important to you instead of recklessly spending on what you don't need.
Why should I be a minimalist?
In reality, people really don't need so much stuff. Advertisements and even writers tell you differently, because of those pair of boots "you can't live without this winter," or however else that blogger is trying to sell them to you. To be honest, there is no need to have a second, third, or even fourth pair of winter boots when you really only need one. How much simpler would your life, or even closet, look if you choose to live with more simpler means? On the contrary, how fat would your wallet be? Living a life on budget can be difficult, but adopting a minimalist lifestyle can help in focusing on the things that are truly important and abundant in your life.
How can I live minimally?
Although these 10 Most Important Things To Simplify Your Life by Becker are great, here are a few more minimalistic lifestyle tips to take away:
- Declutter the closet: When I first started testing out living a minimal lifestyle, I decided to sell all my purses in order to buy a tote bag that would be universal for any kind of circumstance. Work, school, even a night out, I joke that this bag is my perfect purse. Take a good look at your closet and see if you really need 10 pairs of ballet flats. Even writing down a list of what you need or don't need can be helpful in simplifying your wardrobe. This will also help if you have a bad clothes shopping habit.
- Spend time doing what you love: That may seem pointless, but people forget that living an abundant life means taking time in your day to do things that you love to do. For example, I make it a priority to read at least 30 minutes of whatever novel I'm reading every night. Or not letting work or graduate course work touch my scheduled "free time." Instead of stressing about what you should or shouldn't be doing, take time to be enjoying what you love to do. It will help you refresh and focus on those important tasks the rest of the day.
- Follow social media that inspires, not stresses: This can be difficult since people seem to be really good at curating the perfect lifestyle these days. I tend to follow social media accounts of people who enjoy the same things as me and inspire me to read versus inspiring me to improve myself. Really think about what you follow online and why you do it. This could mean going through what you follow on every platform and decluttering your following. This can help in making sure your social media is inspiring instead of constantly giving you anxiety on what you need to own in order to live that perfect life.
- Set one monthly goal: I know many fellow bloggers out there that set really hefty goals for their month, even their week, in hopes to achieve big dreams in a short amount of time. Sometimes this doesn't leave room for rest, and without rest goal-setters can get stressed and never achieve anything altogether. Instead, set one simple goal for your month. For example, my goal for this upcoming month is to set a consistent blogging schedule and putting my blogging into practice. What is a simple goal for you this upcoming month that will help you towards an eve bigger goal, but also leave you room to rest?
- Try the Capsule Wardrobe: The Capsule Wardrobe means choosing 33 items of clothing to use for three months. It forces you to really think about what you need for clothes that month, and also forces you to create different combinations of outfits with the same pieces of clothing. This may seem stressful, but after doing it myself I realize that I look at my clothes differently and worry less about putting an outfit together.
So if you are striving to live on a budget but want to still live a full abundant life, the best lifestyle to adopt in order to have both of these things is minimalism. Take some time to reflect on what should be simplifed in you life, and how it can affect your money in the long run.