By Ciéra Cree
Last year I discovered the phenomenon known as minimalism, and it has changed my life, and the way I view the world, for the better.
The world today is so focused on consumerism and keeping up with the latest trends – throw away fashion, rapidly obsolete gadgets, and piles upon piles of unnecessary designer brands and bling. Try thinking of society itself as a factory and the people as the ones turning the wheels that keep it going through our expenditure.
There are so many preconceptions about the concept of minimalism, and what it actually means to be a minimalist, that I think people get the wrong impression of what the movement is trying to portray. So I’m going to break down what I have learned about it thus far and discuss the ways in which I have found it beneficial in my everyday life.
Before I get into it, I would just like to clarify that, in my mind, minimalism isn’t all white painted houses, no furniture, and having only a few personal possessions. I mean, if that’s what it is to you then you do you, but what I’m saying is that minimalism is what you make of it and that it largely differs from person-to-person. The general idea of minimalism however in terms of physical items is owning only what brings you joy or use and what holds meaning in your life. This means eliminating anything that’s cluttering up your life by donating them, giving them to others, selling what can be sold, and throwing away what you deem unfitting.
In my opinion, it’s easier said than done for a lot of people, and it’s not always easy to understand why it’s so difficult. Initially, it was hard for me to part with the smallest of things – I seemed to have an attachment to them without even knowing why. As people, we can so often become attached to our material goods that we forget that, in fact, they are only material. Realising this is something that only made me all the more determined to get better at de-cluttering, and as time went by I did.
Owning only what I loved or bothered with felt good and getting rid of things that didn’t fit these criteria became somewhat liberating. I grew to love the space I have – it’s easier to clean and more convenient to travel. I know for sure that I would love to travel in the future, so I also bear this vision in mind both when trying to sort through items as well as when buying new things. I needed to mind my spending habits, otherwise, I would undo any progress made but hey, who doesn’t want to save money?
One of the main things I have come to realise in this journey so far is that material items, in the grand scheme of things, don’t matter at all. Yes, we all have our select few things which matter to us deeply but hear me out. Think of those few things versus the people you love. Close your eyes and think of how much they mean to you, and how they make you feel. Now look at the items around you and they just don’t compare.
Think about when you’re older: would you rather look back and think about all the stuff you had, or would you prefer to look back on the memories you created with the people you love? I don’t know about you, but I would much rather buy only the things I need, or really want, and save the rest of my money to see and experience the world.
Another thing minimalism has taught me, especially in terms of gifts, is that what seems to matter more than the objects themselves is often the person behind them. Creating nostalgia, or an attachment. This goes back to what I was saying about how those you love, and clutter really doesn’t entice the same feelings of joy or love.
Being in a less cluttered environment was also beneficial to me internally. It made me feel more organised, in control, and less fussed. I could find things easier, pick out something to wear quicker, get ready faster, and feel more on top of my life.
I think, in this day and age, people don’t seem to realise that’s it’s alright to not own much. It doesn’t make you seem “poor”, or anything like that. I personally just think it’s wise and logical.
How about you, what do you think? Where do you stand on this debate?