A growing movement is sweeping the nation. Counteracting our culture of mass consumerism by bringing us back to our roots, minimalism allows you to live with only what you need, love, or require to survive.
The thing is, most of us don’t realize how little we actually need all of our stuff until we try going without it. We then realize that not only did we survive with fewer things, but we also thrived, feeling free and unburdened. It is more natural to our being to have less “stuff.” In fact, consumerism in general has risen steadily since the Industrial Revolution. Since the 1950s, people across the globe have consumed more goods than the combined total of every person who existed prior to that.
This shift has been the result of carefully crafted marketing efforts, all aimed at teaching us to crave the latest and greatest, and we have been trained well. We believe the newest things are the best things, and the more expensive the better. Gone are the days when products were meant to last, since that is not a business model which makes for repeat customers. Most products these days are designed intentionally to fail after a certain amount of time; this is known as “planned obsolescence.” This tactic, combined with our manufactured desire for more stuff, has created a phenomenon called “perceived obsolescence,” where we perceive an object as no longer desirable not because it no longer functions, but because it is no longer stylish or trendy.
So really, we don’t need this stuff, we only think we need it. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle essentially means changing your perspective on what’s important to you and what’s not, and understanding that no amount of stuff can fill you up on the inside.
I Tried Minimalism for a Week
The following video documents the story of one woman who set out on a week-long experiment to see what minimalism was actually like firsthand.
“I really think that our material possessions are a physical manifestation of what’s going on inside of us. Once I started dealing with the external clutter I was able to deal with what was going on inside me. The mental clutter, the emotional clutter, the spiritual clutter, the financial clutter, this internal clutter.”
Minimalism Can Be Tailored to Your Life
As showcased in the video above, being a minimalist doesn’t mean that you can’t have anything beyond absolute necessities. That is a common misconception, but truly, there are no rules here; you can create them as you go.
How to Begin?
I personally love the way the woman in the video went about it, putting all of her stuff in storage except for the bare basics and then determining from there what she truly needed and what could be donated. How much stuff do you have in your house right now that you never use? Why is is there? Decoration?
But, do you love it? That was another excellent point brought up in the video — why do we have so many possessions or articles of clothing that we don’t even like? If we are going to work hard so we can purchase something, shouldn’t that thing be something we love, and that makes us smile every time we look at it?
Just thinking about my own closet… I maybe wear one third of what’s in there, and everything else I keep either because it reminds me of a time in my life I enjoyed, or because I think, one day, I’ll wear that. But of course, I never do. However, I am gearing up to go live abroad for a minimum of six months, and am determined to downsize my belongings as much as possible. This will be a great way for me to practice a minimalist lifestyle and see what possessions I truly need.
To learn more about the benefits that can come from a minimalist lifestyle, check out
10 Ways Minimalism Can Change Your Life.
Remember, in the words of the late, great George Carlin, “Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.”
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