Minimalism is a trendy topic these days, and it should be. We live in a very materialistic society where more is considered more and the accumulation of physical things is even ingrained into the music on the radio. But why are we being materialistic? What is it that makes us just want to collect things, most of which we never use or touch?
A lot of people believe that materialism is the way to go. Materialism is the belief that owning things will make us happy and that the more we own, the happier we’ll be, but this quite simply isn’t the case. Our consumerist societies have driven this into our psyches since birth due to advertising and the onslaught of commercials we see every single day. It’s just a cycle, you have to buy and then keep buying so you’ll never truly be happy because you can never stop purchasing these materialistic things.
A Non-Materialistic Alternative
Minimalism goes in the opposite direction. It’s all about less is more. Quality over quantity. Getting rid of the things you never use or dislike and replacing them with higher quality things you do use and love. I like to follow the 90 day rule. If I haven’t used something in 90 days or more, it can go in the donate bin. This obvious excludes any out-of-season items, like a winter jacket in summer, shorts in winter, etc.
But what minimalism have to do with self improvement and living in the moment that are the primary topics of this blog?
Minimalism de-clutters your space. It de-clutters your wardrobe, your office, your desk, your bedroom, your kitchen, and every space you may find yourself in. A clutter-free environment promotes peace of mind. It’s like letting out a long sigh after a hard day’s work. It is relief from the chaos of the world. This minimalism, through organization, helps you know exactly where everything you own is, helps you know exactly what you own and its quality, what needs replacement, what is on its way out, etc. This allows you to be more in the moment instead of tripping over clothes on the floor that you don’t even like.
But I touched on something above, about going for quality over quantity. If you’re on this website, you want to increase the quality of your life. Everyone should want that. By stop buying things in great number you can instead afford higher quality items. Instead of buying a new jacket every couple of months, you can afford a better one you love. You can afford higher grade fabrics and devices, training gear, and more. If I had kept buying used $500 laptops, I would never have been able to afford the $2000 gaming and rendering PC I’m writing this from. If I had kept buying cheap gis (karate uniform), I never would have been able to afford the high quality Tokaido I wear to Karate.
Do you see? There is simplicity in minimalism and simplicity is the key to living in the moment. The Zen Buddhists have been doing this for a long time. Simplify. Minimalize. At least try it. If you don’t like it, you can always go back, but I can almost guarantee it that you’ll never want to.
In the end, minimalism can and will save you money and space. I now order most of my books for Kindle or Nook (I use a tablet that can do both instead of owning both a Kindle and a Nook). I’ve saved a ton of money that way, and an insane amount of space. If you like books though, buy books! If you collect records, collect records! Keep doing what you love, just incorporate minimalism in other ways.
Simplify your finances. This is a benefit! Instead of these mile long receipts of things, lets face it, you didn’t even need, you’re now saving that money and spending it where you need to like student debt. Believe me, I know ALL about student debt.
I’ve even taken a step further and set notifications on my phone to off. I use the Essential Phone, which is minimalist in itself without all the bloatware. I have most social media apps removed from my phone too. Mostly just the ones that I need to control for this blog. There’s a lot less distraction in my life this way.
This is all about intentional living, which isn’t a term I’ve used on this blog yet, but it’s at its very core. It’s about promoting the things in your life that you love and find the most value in. Live with intention, purpose, instead of simply surviving in a clutter-filled chaotic world. Take control of your own space. Take control of your life. Minimalism is a good place to start.