Tuesday, July 17th, 2018
In a generation bombarded by viral videos and followers, the line between our wants and needs often becomes blurred. Over time, the dialogue has changed from "I need a phone for emergencies" to "I have to get the iPhone 7®, in rose gold."
With advancements in technology and shifts in culture, this progression is inevitable. However, for some it's also a source of unhappiness. Whether it's a phone, a house, or filling that house, we seem to be constantly trying to "keep up with the Joneses." In doing so, we're incurring more debt and clutter in our lives. As a result, a search for simplicity has sparked what's known as the "minimalist movement."
Living with What You Need
Stemming from Japanese culture, the concept of a minimalist lifestyle is to live only with what you need. For some this may be as bare bones as a cup, plate, and spoon in their kitchen cupboard, while for others it may be a full library and wardrobe. It's not necessarily about throwing out everything in your life, but rather, consuming only what you need.
In her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, author Marie Kondo popularizes the notion of ridding yourself of items in your closet that don't bring you joy. Similarly, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things is a film that inspects the lives of people who are undertaking the practice and how it's brought them a sense of peace and happiness.
So what's the point of the minimalist movement? What am I achieving by throwing out that old comfy sweater from 2005? On the surface, it may seem as though you're just cleaning up. But what you're actually doing is de-cluttering your life, keeping only those things you actually use.
This in turn creates a positive ripple effect. As you lighten your load, you'll be able to find your things more easily, which saves time and energy. Instead of searching through 20 mediocre outfits for 10 minutes, you can quickly choose one that you really like in no time. As this becomes routine, you might find yourself with an extra 10 minutes in your mornings. Pretty soon you'll find that every item you own falls into its own place and has its own purpose. As you find a purpose for each of your belongings, you may begin to value them more. And in valuing what you have, you may start to realize that you can live with less, which means you'll also spend less.
Less is More, As it's Often Said
In a consumerist society, a simplistic lifestyle can seem challenging at first. It's difficult to let go of the instant gratification we get from buying into the latest craze. But once you see the rewards — more time, increased energy, a satisfying inner peace, and less debt — it may seem worthwhile to give it a try.
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