Minimalists have a certain something about them. Full of intrigue and mystery they carry an air of indifference about the consumer culture, they often stand completely on their own. With no weight to tie them down, they are free to fly as far as the traveling winds may blow.
Often misunderstood, their abstinence of buying/accepting unnecessary things is seen as stubbornness, unwilling to conform or just otherwise ungrateful – after all who doesn’t like presents?! Well, we don’t, us minimalists that is. We don’t entirely like presents because they are often nothing we want, or need, or anything that we have asked for.
If we are consistently receiving things we do not need, then our lives become cluttered, full of worry, insecurity and complacency. Those four elements will quickly ruin the soul of any creature.
How then, does one retain the individuality, courage and stamina to become a minimalist?
One. Realize that you are not alone. Minimalism is not some form of rare disease. It is a lifestyle that honours the environment when we choose to walk or bike instead of drive a car. It is a lifestyle that promotes sustainability when we strive to eliminate plastic from our lives. Minimalists may not be in the millions, but we are in the thousands and growing. Find a group near you.
Two. Take off your clothes and go through every item in your wardrobe. What no longer fits, throw away responsibly. What remains, declutter ruthlessly. Do you really need 10 t-shirts? It may depend on how often you do the laundry, but chances are, as a minimalist you will find a few go-to outfits and stick to them.
Three. Don’t focus on the numbers if you want to get a pleasant thrill out of living with less. Numbers measure wealth, weight and quantity, but they will never be able to measure happiness and the health of our wellbeing. The amount of belongings in our lives rise and fall with our status here and there. There is no constant, just now. Some minimalists rent, some own their own homes, some travel in caravans… and the amount of stuff naturally fluctuates. If you have a home where cook dinner for your family, then you will probably own multiple pots and pans. If you are housesitting or flat sharing, then you will likely be using someone else’s.
Four. Learn to say no. No to the pen from the bank. No to the promotional mug. No to the books your friend is giving away. No to just about anything that is free – ‘cause it isn’t. Say no to things that waste your time, no to the things that do not matter, no to the opportunities that make you feel small. Take time to be selfish and live for you, saying yes to the joyful circumstances that are beneficial to You.
Minimalism is about big, wide open spaces where you can stand tall, grin with all your might and shout at the top of your lungs that LESS IS MORE!
Five. Embrace quietude. Silence is a rarity these days, even with headphones aplenty. The more we hear, the more cluttered our minds become. Try some nature therapy and step out in the country, under swaying trees and a pitch-black sky, to reconnect with yourself from time to time. Silence will help us find inner peace, and with that we can contribute our intelligent minds, positive thoughts and loving hearts to the world. We are more than just machines, we are all beings with feelings and a need for personal fulfilment in this life.
To become a minimalist is a leap-and-tiptoe process.
It takes sidesteps, backsteps and often requires the ability to fly short distances, but we are all capable of greatness if we believe we have the right to do so.
No journey looks the same, yet we are all on a similar path. The minimalists acquire new skills wherever they go, so in the end their value to society is much, much greater than the sum of their belongings.
Strive to become a minimalist and help create a better future for us all.
Tell us, what do your first steps look like? Please share your story in the comments below.