Minimalism is a way of life. That’s how I like to think of Minimalism. Minimalism is a word for arts. It’s origination lies back in 1950’s when sculptors and artists began to use minimum decoration, designs and focused on the main part of the art. Although my cover image says it all, here’s a broad perspective on Minimalism.
In today’s world Minimalism is a well known word not just for artists but for general people. Being minimalist has to do with your life style, the way you carry yourself from day to day life. Here Minimalism means introducing minimalism in everyday life. For the world Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus at The Minimalists started the international phenomena of minimalism that is now taking over the western world. Us Indians though? We’re born hoarders. If we don’t hoard we might just die. I don’t know about your mom but mine? She is a specialist. Won’t throw away a damn thing even if it was not useful anymore. Someday maybe we’ll use it.
I think minimalism is something even we (Indians) need to adapt to.
1. It’s not ‘just’ minimalism
First of all, a big round of applause for those who donate their clothes to charity or to poor people themselves. Now, what about the rest of us who throw their clothes into garbage or keep them in cupboard until they are ready to be thrown out? Do you ever stop to think what happens to all the clothes you throw away? They get piled up at a waste drop site near the city where it rots with rest of the garbage. It pollutes the air, soil and water in the surrounding area. There’s a Great Pacific Garbage Patch you know? Who created it? Certainly it didn’t appear our of thin air. Take a look at the picture below:
Minimalism focuses on these concepts altogether. With increasing World population it might just become a necessity.
2. Give it a chance to change your life.
Today we live in the FOMO or Fear of Missing Out. Maybe in few days it will be called FOMO Syndrome. Let’s be real, The world is fast, terribly fast and if you are not running, you are missing out. There’s a new fad out every day. Advertisers have a hard time keeping up with the Joneses or Sharma ji’s today. It’s a pain in the butt to keep up with so much at a time. The much needed break from all these is minimalism. Not only do yo learn to live with less and within your means but you learn to pay attention to the things that actually matter.
On the good side I have a lot of clothes I haven’t thrown away even after 3-5 years. Because I am waiting to get thin and fit back into them so that I can wear them out and then throw them away. LOL. Truly speaking I might never get back there but I still have the clothes even though I donate my old clothes when I feel like it. Still, I don’t have clutter of clothes lying around in my cupboard. So this Deewali I just took out all the clothes I do not wish to wear anymore and donated them. Now I only have a few Kurtis and t-shirts left. As I am on a shopping ban for now, I won’t buy new clothes any time soon.
I am used to wearing few clothes until I am done with them before I buy new. Questions like, ‘why do you wear this kurti twice a month?’ or ‘why do you have only two pants?’ don’t bother me anymore. I like to live that way.
3. Helps you save MONEY (Space, Mind, Time etc..)
Ever wondered where all your money goes every month? Some people have a long month left at the end of their money. If you wonder why, just look around you. That hefty new phone you bought a month back to replace the one you bough six months back, is it necessity you are spending on? Do you really need 20 pairs of shoes to wear to work?
4. The Possessions. Do they mean anything to you?
Being a minimalist does not mean you stop having stuff. You can have a wall/room full of bookshelves and never want to give one away and it’s completely okay. You might be a collector of statues or rocks. Doesn’t matter. Being minimalist does not mean you live in an empty room and drink water from the tap. It’s not a trap at all.
Being minimalist is not about living on nothing. It is more about living on less. Example: You already have 10 t-shirts, you go to a mall to buy a table and you see few t-shirts, new- catchy lines, good colors. Suddenly, you decide you need those. That’s it. DO you need it? Will it add any value to your persona?
5. It’s a struggle. Learn to laugh at yourself more often.
Imagine wanting something badly but you don’t buy it ‘cuz you have taken an oath of minimalism? Well, make a joke and let it go. It’s not an ice cream, the things you buy are going to keep sitting around you somewhere to remind you of your did. hahahah…. It’s fun to be a minimalist. Once you learn to live on few things a year, a whole new world of ‘things to do’ opens up. In their book Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life Joshua and Ryan talk about their initial years into work and life after college. They talk about their many depression, low times and the change to minimalism. How being minimalist and doing what actually gave value to their view of life helped them become World Wide Phenomenon.
Life is a struggle on a large scale. Half of it is because we make it so. It doesn’t have to be.
How minimalism is changing my life…
Tidying up has a very important perspective in life. Finally, you have the space in attic. Suddenly, you have a spare compartment in the cupboard. One day at a time your space becomes freer and you become much at ease because you know where the important things are. You don’t have to wonder where that old chest of treasures is in the attic or in the storage.
I have lived a mini-minimalist life all my life but I still struggled, especially after I started working. Because suddenly I started forgetting the things that I remembered easily. I would buy boxes of spices that are already there in the storage, if only I had looked. Hence, the change.
- I narrowed down list of things for my kitchen. Now my kitchen storage has a note sticking on it with list of items that are already there. I make a list of things I need to buy from the grocery store. I hardy get anything out of my list. Occasionally I splurge on a dark chocolate or two.
- I am on a year long shopping ban for clothes. Nevertheless, I find myself looking at some from my bus window. Still, I never buy any. This year my Mom-in-law gifted me two kurtis, plazo and what not, so my closet has grown anyway. Not only does it save me money, it gives me a lot of time which I can use for gardening instead.
- I have tons of books already. So, I was going for a second year of new book ban. But I had to break it when I decided to increase my knowledge span on a few topics like economics, finances etc. That’s it though. Just 3 new books and 4 used ones. 😉
- My mind feels a little bit more light now. It’s like a space has opened up for me to just relax and sit back. All the free time I can sleep peacefully, I can read-write-relax without worrying about having to go shopping when those things are already there.
- I am helping myself reduce my carbon footprint. Yep, you heard that right. Often we don’t think about what we are doing to our surroundings as we go on living. Plastic here, plastic there, wasted clothes and unused things pile up. It takes time to go back to nature meanwhile it just sits there and makes pollution. Hence, living on less not only helps you but also the environment around you.
How to adopt minimalism in one’s life?
So, here are some tips from me to help you start walking down the path of minimalism.
- Accept the fact that you are not entitled to anything in this world. You do not own anything/anyone. Once you accept that your life is whole lot easier. No one is supposed to gift you things just because it’s a festival nor are you in need to buy another piece of something just ‘cuz you think you need it.
- Learn to live with less. Every time you feel the need to shop for clothes, accessories, another phone or laptop or even a new pair of sneakers, ask yourself, ‘DO I NEED THIS?” then go back to your closet/room recheck the things you own. First get to the bottom of the things you own, do you need to throw any of them out? Is there a need for new? If not, voila! Saved!
- De-clutter. This one goes out to Indian women strongly. Seriously women do you need that 30 year old plates and glasses that you have saved in the attic for an occasion? Do you really need those old pair of shoes you haven’t worn in two years? Ask yourself, ‘which ones of these things I really need?’ Just because there is space on the floor doesn’t mean it has to be filled with something useless.
- Meaningful life. Well, we create our lives as we go that means we give it meaning as we go as well. What makes you smile & cry happy tears? Do those things. Are there things you enjoy doing that makes you feel proud to be alive? Why not do them? Life is now….. Trust me no amount of possessions can outlive your memories.
- Travel often, buy less sovereigns, shop for memories instead. However, get rid of those tons of photos taking up storage space on your laptop/mobile. You think you will go back to those photographs later but that happens rarely. When you do go back instead of one single awesome photo you have tons of out of focus ones that are just lying there, taking up space you can use elsewhere.
- Finally, treat your self restraint as a friend. It is very difficult to restrain oneself and not buy things, but you can. It is not bad not to buy things, it is not bad if you get laughed at some times for living small yet large. What you think is more important, because you are living it.
For more information and advice visit The Minimalists. Until the next time, take care and have fun.