(Lowercase) minimalism as philosophy.
(Uppercase) Minimalism as an aesthetic.
Prelude: While researching for the article, I joined groups on social media with the word ‘minimalism’ in their names. While everyone shows progress in purging cabinets and taking things to charity shops, something stopped me in my track. ‘SHOW US YOUR MINIMALIST LIVING AREA.’ In the comments, photo after photo shows living spaces consist of sofa, rug and coffee table. I thought to myself, if that’s their standard of minimalism, fair enough, I will take a photo of my floor tiles. I kept on scrolling, and saw someone asking ‘Is this bed considered minimalist?’ and below was a photo of this all in one bed. Are we missing the point here, if we are still talking about the stuff we buy and how it looks? I am genuinely puzzled.
Minimalism and minimalist are often illustrated as zen-ish. In your head, you are probably picturing a monk as we speak. I am a minimalist and I still have a full head of hair (Ben even more so), thank you very much. There a lot of minimalists out there who don’t look like one, cause it’s not strictly an aesthetic.
Without being too preachy, here is a list of phrases from some of my favourite minimalists. You can be your own judge to see which ones speak to you the most.
“ Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important.”
“ Focus less on the stuff in your life, focus more on how you live your life.”
“ Minimalism… to me it is about finding focus mostly. About being radical in making decisions.”
“ What minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff..”
Colin Wright aka Exile Lifestyle
There is no end goal. It’s a journey that’s ever-evolving. Priorities shift and goals get fulfilled. There is no real or fake minimalist out there, just priorities and focus. As long as there is intention in the way you live, you can be a minimalist whether or not your home looks like a pristine Apple Store.
To me, minimalism allows me to be myself without distraction. As cheesy as it sounds, I have the freedom to decide, to resist and to receive. *Hit gong*
Here are a few trial runs to give you a taste of minimalism. Hopefully, that sense of liberation will sustain you through the physical and mental exhaustion of decluttering!
Decluttering apps on phone.
Do you really need all the apps on your phone? Take iOS as an example, if you strip it down to 1 page (without putting apps in folders), there are 28 apps. Let’s say other than the essentials, keep a folder for everything else, there is an extra 36. Do you really need more than 64 apps on a daily basis? Same principle can apply to email subscriptions.
Get rid of samples and ephemera
Decide on the spot whether you will use it within the day (coupons, within the week). Chances are if you are not going to use it now, you are not going to use it ever. If you’ve been piling them, best to chuck them out unless you have a way to figure out whether they have expired.
Keeping only one (functioning) of each appliance or items
It happens. Bought something which doesn’t work out the way you thought it would, so you bought another one. So you ended up with two of the same thing. Simple maths. Just keep one and find another home for the other one(s).
This is something we are working on in our household. We’ve been signing up for e-bills, e-statements and looking out for ways to reduce paperwork. We’ve seen people scanning their documents or keepsakes, keeping digital files of all of them.
Pick one area
Find a spot which will benefit you the most if it’s clutter-less. For me, that’s my desk. I used to have inspiration pictures, post-its all over my desk. Soon realizes that they don’t serve their purpose. I now kept what’s necessary on it and making sure to keep it that way every night before I go to bed. So I know what to expect when I turn up at my desk the next morning.
Is there any small dosage of minimalism you would recommend? Let us know!