If you do a quick image search on minimalism you get a whole lot of pictures of exposed brick walls, grey-scale piers and landscapes, empty rooms and neat closets with very little in them. And white. Lots of white.
But what actually is it?
According to the boys over at The Minimalists, ‘Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.’
My interpretation of the above phrase – it’s a lifestyle about really accepting who you are and letting go of the person you think you want to be.
Take me for example. I want to be the woman who wears stunning dresses and has immaculate makeup. I want to wear beautiful lingerie, stockings and heels. But I’m lazy, I’d rather sleep in and I find those things uncomfortable. Over the years I’ve collected bright, floral dresses that I’ve never worn because of this image of myself that I aspire to which is just not me – I don’t like colour. I also don’t like floral. Most of my wardrobe is black, white, navy and grey. I also don’t love dresses because I find them uncomfortable and hate having to make sure that I’m not exposing myself.
I think minimalism is a concept that really resonates with people because we’re realising as a whole that stuff doesn’t matter as much as it used to. Advances in technology are making it easier for us to experience things we weren’t able to 10 years ago and we’re beginning to see a much bigger perspective of what life could be about.
I think so many of us get caught up in what we have because it’s easy to measure. It’s easy see how successful you are when you have physical things. You can say to yourself ‘yes I have two cars, a house, a holiday home and expensive art’ and know that that usually translates to success. Because to tell the truth, if anyone defined success as ‘being happy with who you are’ people would probably look at you a little funny.
It’s a hard concept to define and we all know we love definitions and labels.
So this is what I do know –
It’s about ensuring that everything in your life brings you some sort of joy. It’s about ridding yourself of the negative things that bring you down – whether its the millions of knick-knacks you have no idea what to do with or a relationship that has run well past its course. It’s about making a conscious decision to live in the moment and appreciate what you have in life.
Minimalism looks different on everyone. I love reading and will probably never get rid of my books but for someone for whom books are a source of displeasure, then it makes perfect sense to get rid of them (please donate!).
It can be difficult though, wanting to dive deep but I think it’s important to really think things through without getting caught up. I’ve talked to many people who have jumped right in, thinking minimalism is ridding yourself of everything and ended up regretting it.
Ultimately I really do believe its about staying true to yourself. You *can* have 100 pairs of shoes and still adhere to a minimalist lifestyle. You *can* have an overcrowded bookshelf and still be a minimalist. Its about doing what makes *you* happy, and not following someone else’s rules.
What does minimalism mean to you?