Minimalism: It’s Not Just A Decor, It’s A State Of Mind!
What springs to mind when we talk about minimalism? Do you picture clean lines, simple designs, neutral colours, light, air and natural materials? How about a lounge decorated in various muted pastel shades with a single houseplant sitting in the corner? Japanese style furniture sitting low to the ground and incense sticks burning on the coffee table?
Sure, minimalism is a form of home decor. Absolutely, it can aid restfulness at home and still a stressed and busy mind. However, if this is all minimalism is to you, perhaps it’s time to open your mind. While decorating your home in a minimalist fashion can be a great first step it is not, in and of itself minimalism.
Minimalism is many different things to many different people and quite a few unfortunate myths have sprung up surrounding it. Some believe that to live a minimalist life is to shun the corporeal pleasures of the world and condemn one’s self to a monochromatic and monastic life.
Others may believe that it’s training one’s self never to find joy in material objects or possessions. This is both an exaggeration and an over-simplification. The beauty of minimalism is that it is a moveable feast. You can use it to improve your life in a number of ways.
Here we’ll look at what minimalism is (and isn’t) and a few easy ways in which you can incorporate it into your lifestyle to reduce your stress levels, improve your quality of life, aid concentration, give you a sense of fulfilment, help the environment and even help you to save a lot of money for the stuff that’s really important.
Minimalism is freedom
Consumer capitalism certainly has its moments but on a fundamental level many of us have kind of got life… wrong. We’ve enslaved ourselves to feeding a machine that will never, ever be satiated.
We’ve found ourselves chasing expensive clothes, watches, cars, phones and gadgets. We may see how they will benefit our lives but mostly we just want to be seen having them.
We all have that one friend; they probably work in sales, they work long and unsociable hours, hardly see their partner or their kids, endure enormous stress at work and never, ever have anything positive to say about their job… But they just can’t wait to tell you about the latest gadget they bought, or the designer suit, or the brand new Rolex. Is that a happy life?
Minimalism is freedom. It’s freedom from chasing status and seeking fulfillment solely from material possessions. It’s having more time (and money) to spend with the people who mean the most to us, doing fun activities and not treating shopping as a leisure activity.
It’s collecting memories and not credit card debt. Here are just a few ways to bring minimalism into your life…
Clutter gotta go
Whether you go in for minimalism decor or not, one thing’s for certain. Clutter needs to go. We may think that clutter is fairly innocuous but its presence is not only visually distracting it can be a real impediment to mental wellness.
It can impede concentration, and even induce anxiety and depression. If you haven’t already done so, go through each room and rid yourself of anything extraneous.
Anything that’s stopped bringing you joy. Perhaps a foot bath you got 5 Christmases ago. That dress you bought in 2014 that you kept telling yourself you’d slim into. A pile of magazines sitting on your coffee table that you’ll never get around to reading. Let it all go.
You don’t need it. Rent some bin trucks, go to the recycling plant or donate your stuff to charity. Or you can even put whatever you can on eBay. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure after all.
Experiences, not stuff. People not things
Minimalism is about placing the emphasis in your life on people and experiences over purchases and possessions. The next time you’re at a loose end on a Saturday afternoon, resist the urge to head to the mall for some “retail therapy”.
Rarely is it ever therapeutic and the fleeting high it gives pales in comparison to how you feel when your credit card bill arrives. Instead take a walk in the park, have a picnic with your family, sit on your windowsill with a coffee and watch the rain fall.
Take your family to the movies or even a theme park. Draw, paint, sing, dance. Throw on some classical music and read a book. Do whatever you want so long as it isn’t treating the accumulation of stuff as a hobby.
Once again, minimalism isn’t just about getting rid of all of your worldly possessions and sipping green tea in an empty room. It’s about ensuring that the material possessions you do own bring you joy.
If you’re reading this article and thinking “Please don’t make me get rid of my books, I love my books”, absolutely you should keep your books. Just carry out a joy audit of the home every once in a while. Make sure you can justify everything in your drawers, in your wardrobe and in your cupboards.
The same goes for shopping. Before you make that big purchase, ask yourself if you really want it or if you just feel that you should have it. Will it bring you joy or simply elevate your status in the eyes of people whose opinions really don’t matter?
Minimal stuff, minimal waste
Minimalism isn’t just great for your peace of mind and your bank balance. It’s great for the environment, too. Just ask Bea Johnson, author of Zero Waste Home. Bea never buys what she can make. She never disposes of what she can re-purpose. And spends her money on making memories with her family rather than on more possessions.
Whenever she goes on holiday, the entire family can fit everything they own into a single suitcase, leaving the home free to Air BnB in their absence. Because of their minimalist lifestyle, the family produces zero landfill waste yet lives a rich and fulfilling life.
Minimalism isn’t just how you furnish your home. It’s about how you furnish your mind, and you can embrace it as much or as little as it suits you!