When you think of minimalism, what do you think of? The tiny home movement? Wabi sabi? More than likely, you probably thought of stark rooms with only a few items in them, right? And that’s okay. I’m sure that’s what comes to mind for a lot of people. That was what would have popped into my head a few months ago if I was asked that question. But now, I think minimalism is so much more than that. To me, minimalism just isn’t about decor. It’s a lifestyle.
There are so many facets that make up minimalism. There is decor, of course, as well as your wardrobe, what sort of home you live in, how you use transportation, and what your eating habits are like. When I go to the grocery store, I only buy what I need for the week, versus buying anything that looks good. When I was looking for an apartment, I wanted a place that was large enough for all of my current things– not a place where I would need more furniture just to fill it. When I go shopping for new clothes, I ask myself if I have anything like it in my wardrobe already. When I clean my apartment, I see if there’s anything that is no longer bringing me the joy it used to, and if I’m able to donate that item. But trust me, I wasn’t always that way.
As a society, we are inundated with advertisements to buy and indulge and spend in order to save just because you have a coupon. For what reason, though? Why do we feel the need to buy new things all of the time? To bring us temporary satisfaction? To make sure we’re in on all of the new trends?
Don’t get me wrong, I love buying new things, but I used to be the type of person who would buy impulsively and then regret my decision a day later. Now, I think about what I’m buying and what purpose it has in my life. Lately, I’ve come to the realization that if it’s not going to make me happy or increase my quality of life, then I don’t really feel a need to buy it. And doing so has given me more appreciation for the things that I currently have, as opposed to the new things I could have bought.
Overall, the grand theme is to not consume more than you need to be happy and healthy. And this can mean different things to different people. Minimalism is not just the people you see who have ten items in their wardrobe or only have a bed and a table in their apartment. It’s different for everyone. Finding that balance is up to you. You might be completely happy with a few items of clothing, a small studio apartment, and taking public transit. Or, you might be happy in a larger home with a closet full of clothes and a full fridge. As long as what you have is what you think is essential to your happiness and wellbeing, that’s all that matters.
Getting into this mindset wasn’t easy. I still feel like I have and buy more than I should. But, minimalism is a journey, and I feel like I’ve only just started. I hope to get to a point where I can look around anywhere in my home and only see the things that I deem essential to my happiness and wellbeing, and not be overwhelmed by things that may be unnecessary. And I hope that doing so will lead to a more stress-free and calming lifestyle.