In our iamgood event #3, we talked about Essentialism. Essentialism is a specific process and framework to approach for minimalism. Here is my take on minimalism:
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu
Let me begin with some ideas about the conception and misconception of this trendy word.
According to the dictionary first:
- a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity
- A movement in sculpture and painting which arose in the 1950s, characterized by the use of simple, massive forms.
- An avant-garde movement in music characterized by the repetition of very short phrases which change gradually, producing a hypnotic effect.
According to the minimalists.com it “is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelming. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom”.
Minimalism In My Apartment
For me, minimalism is a real, doable way of being free, content and well able to manage my life in every aspect of it: my home, my work, my relationships, my time, my finances, and even my emotions and expectations.
“Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high-quality life, as defined uniquely by each.” – Linda Breen Pierce
When I decided to downsize, that was exactly five years ago; I was not familiar with the term minimalism. I just had the strong need to live light somehow. I came home from visiting a good friend who had a new flat, a beautiful flat, spacious, all walls in white and almost empty. It was life-changing for me. I wanted to have that feeling of peace, possibilities, wide white walls with only a few things to profoundly appreciate because that’s what happens when you have a few things. You can appreciate the peaceful beauty of those few things. At that moment, I knew it. I knew I wanted to have that for myself. I came home that evening and tore apart the kitchen. When I finally went to bed that night, I was a different person. From that night on I began downsizing, and I still am. First was the kitchen, then books, movies, music and a lot of random stuff I didn’t even know I had.
The Way To Becoming A Minimalist
Becoming a minimalist is a long process. You might begin with a few material things, but gradually you will feel like applying the concept to every area of your life. The most difficult part was trying to downsize toxic people in my life and toxic information, especially from the media. You learn how to say goodbye without hurting someone’s feelings in the process. The good news is that most people see it and feel it and don’t want to stay. Do not rush, let it be an organic process and you will see.
In the last 5 years, I have only bought what I want to have for my life or at least for as long as those things are usable. I buy things of high quality and in doing so, I need to wait a long time before I have the money for them. I discovered that dreaming, planning and waiting to have those things make me happy and very, very selective. Now I spend less money and have better things than ever in my life.
I apply the same to nutrition. I cook in a monthly rotation the same food. I buy groceries on the open market without packing materials, and what I don’t get there I buy from bulk shops where I can take paper bags or even my small containers and fill them right there. I cook myself; I cook for the week, I cut the vegetables for some three days and store them in glass containers in the fridge. When I come home, there is always a good meal waiting for me and fresh vegetables for a salad or smoothie that I can prepare in two to three minutes while warming up the food. I don’t buy food on the way home when I’m hungry because I know what’s waiting for me. I don’t need to think about what I am going to cook. It is ready. I eat healthily, I save money and produce less waste or at least don’t contribute that much to the plastic industry.
The Misconceptions About Minimalism
“We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy.” – Richard Foster
Some people think that being a minimalist means to throw away everything you have; others swear they are minimalists because they get rid of all their paper books, vinyl collection, and even DVDs and CDs. What they do not tell you is that they have replaced almost all of that stuff in digital format.
“See… I am a minimalist; I just watch every tv show in streaming, I see all my friends on facebook, I have accounts on all meaningful social media channels. Ohhh … and just have one tablet, one cell phone and a watch and ring for quick messages and seriously only two apps for music, you know, I don´t have CDs and that kind of material things, my flat is almost empty …”
Or this one: “I have no possessions I just rent the apartment with everything in it. You don’t want to see that apartment!”
Sorry folks that could be many things but it is not minimalism.
The Real Truth About Minimalism
Minimalism is not about having a lot or having nothing; it is about having what you need, use and like. It is about having an overview of your belongings material and no materials, an overview that allows you to appreciate what you have because when you decide to have a few things you automatically become a very selective person. Almost everything you have or acquire is special; it is precious, and you are going to feel grateful for everything you have.
“One of the advantages of being born in an affluent society is that if one has any intelligence at all, one will realize that having more and more won’t solve the problem, and happiness does not lie in possessions or even relationships: The answer lies within ourselves. If we can’t find peace and happiness there, it’s not going to come from the outside.” – Tenzin Palmo