MINIMALISM 101: What the heck is minimalism?

MINIMALISM 101: What the heck is minimalism?

After publishing my first blog entitled Benefits of Minimalism: 12 Amazing benefits of living with less”, I realized that while some people are familiar with the term “minimalism”, a huge majority of readers, including my own family and friends, have never heard of the concept of minimalism.

One of my friends even asked, “What the heck is minimalism?”

I swear I tried to explain it in the simplest terms.

The next question was “Are you a minimalist?”

Not yet. But I am aspiring to be one. A successful one.

I still have a lot to learn, but I am taking things one step at a time (remember, I tend to burn out so easily!).

One first step. That’s all it takes.

Thankfully, I have taken the first step, and I am loving it!

REMEMBER THIS: Once you go minimalist, you never go back!

But really, what the heck is this thing called “minimalism”?

So, since I am a new student of minimalism and I am still in the process of learning, I thought it is wise to share other people’s thoughts on minimalism so that we can both get a better understanding of this worthy movement.

I picked a group of successful (more experienced) minimalists who lead different lives, yet have made a big difference in their lives and their communities.

Below are some of their insightful (thought-provoking) take on minimalism:

Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.

– Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, The Minimalists
Excerpts from https://www.theminimalists.com/pitch/

By incorporating minimalism into our lives, we’ve finally been able to find lasting happiness—and that’s what we’re all looking for, isn’t it? We all want to be happy. Minimalists search for happiness not through things, but through life itself; thus, it’s up to you to determine what is necessary and what is superfluous in your life.

– Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, The Minimalists
Excerpts from https://www.theminimalists.com/minimalism/

It’s a way to escape the excesses of the world around us — the excesses of consumerism, material possessions, clutter, having too much to do, too much debt, too many distractions, too much noise. But too little meaning. Minimalism is a way of eschewing the non-essential in order to focus on what’s truly important, what gives our lives meaning, what gives us joy and value.

– Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
Excerpts from http://mnmlist.com/minimalist-faqs/

It’s simply getting rid of things you do not use or need, leaving an uncluttered, simple environment and an uncluttered, simple life. It’s living without an obsession with material things or an obsession with doing everything and doing too much. It’s using simple tools, having a simple wardrobe, carrying little and living lightly.

– Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
Excerpts from http://mnmlist.com/minimalist-faqs/

I am often asked the question, “So what is minimalism anyway?” It is a question that is received from all different angles – from people I have just met and from people I have known for many years. I typically answer with a short, simple explanation: “I am intentionally trying to live with only the things I really need.

– Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist
Excerpts from https://www.becomingminimalist.com/what-is-minimalism/

The word minimalism has a negative connotation to many. They believe being a minimalist means you are sacrificing things. It means you are not taking advantage of all that is available in the modern world today.

Being a minimalist means you value yourself more than material things. It means making decisions based on what you need instead of getting everything you want. It does not mean the things you buy are cheap. It means they are something you need, regardless of how much they cost.

A person can decide how much of a minimalist lifestyle they want to lead. They can do it in stages as well. Most people begin by going through their home and getting rid of things they no longer need. Over time, they are able to pare their life down to a much more minimalist style.

– Joshua Becker, Founder, Becoming Minimalist
Excerpts from https://nosidebar.com/why-minimalism/

Be more with less means: Be more you. Give yourself all the space, time and love to remember who you are. Living with less clutter, busyness, and stress will help you make the room to do what you need to do. Simplifying my life gave me the space, time, and love to be more me, and the following practices led me back.

– Courtney Carver, Be More With Less
Excerpts from https://bemorewithless.com/about/

Don’t get rid of stuff just because you can. If you do this, the most likely result is that you’ll be sad and lonely without your things and will just end up buying new versions of them, which supports conspicuous consumption, costs you a bunch of money, kills the rain forests, and wreaks havoc on the world in general. Don’t put yourself in the position to yo-yo when it comes to this many things.

What I would recommend is slowly testing out the waters and seeing what you can and cannot live without.

– Colin Wright, Exile Lifestyle
Excerpts from https://exilelifestyle.com/minimalism-explained/

A minimalist is, simply defined, someone who decides to be intentional about what things (possessions, people, ideas) they include in their life. Practically, this means minimalists generally own few things and strive to live smaller, simpler lives (fewer things = more joy!).

Adopting a minimalist mindset is one of the most powerful ways I have changed my life; it has reshaped how I spend my days and helped me find the freedom to follow my dreams.

I realised that minimalism was a tool to help me achieve all these things. I stopped viewing minimalism as a restrictive lifestyle and instead as a choice to live the life I want most.

– Jennifer, Simply + Fiercely
Excerpts from http://www.simplyfiercely.com/how-i-became-a-minimalist/

These are just some of the minimalist authors that I have read so far and I genuinely appreciate their knowledge and wisdom. I hope you do too!

I am pretty sure there are thousands (if not millions!) of successful minimalists out there and I couldn’t wait to learn from them!

What are your thoughts about minimalism? Do you have any ideas or resources to share?

I would love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. xoxo

Cheers,

Jomay

12 Amazing Benefits of living with less

The first step towards freedom is getting rid of most of your material possessions.

Doing so may be difficult at first, but the rewards you get from simplifying your life is life-changing.

Here are 12 amazing benefits a minimalist attitude could bring to your life:

1. PEACE OF MIND

Before embracing minimalism, I was very unhappy with my life.

My mortgage, debts and closetful of stuff literally weighed me down.

My situation just made me feel anxious, sad and depressed. I thought there was no way out.

But when I started clearing out my closets and getting rid of things that I didn’t need, I felt good inside.

When I finally stopped going to the malls and instead paid off most of my debts, I was relieved!

There was something about clearing my life’s clutter that calmed my mind and soothed my soul.

How would you like going to bed and waking up in the morning with peace of mind? Take the first step and change your life.

2. MORE FREEDOM

Embracing minimalism is like embracing freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from stress. Freedom from depression. Freedom from your Earthly possessions.

If you own less, then you don’t have to spend a lot of time organizing your closet or cleaning your space. Instead, you have the freedom to appreciate the things that really matter to you.

If you have less debt, then you don’t have to work long hours to pay it off. Instead, you will have more freedom to enjoy your time with the people you truly care about.

By living with less, we reclaim our time – and our freedom.

3. LESS STRESS

A lot of anxiety and stress is mostly caused by the chaos that surrounds you every day.

But when you focus on having less, your thoughts and attention are more centered.

In choosing to live with less, you eliminate the constant feeling of wanting – that strong urge to spend and splurge. In believing that you already have what you need and what matters, you eventually reduce your stress level and enhance your happiness.

4. BETTER RELATIONSHIPS

When you have a lot of things, your focus is all over the place. It makes it hard for you to give the important things enough attention.

We tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking relationships with our parents, our spouse, our children and our friends.

Do you still spend quality time with your family? How many family dinners or special occasions did you miss because you had to work overtime? Do you still make time to reconnect with your close friends?

Minimalism enables us to look past the material part of our life by paying attention to how we feel about our relationships and nurturing the ones we care most about.

5. MORE HAPPINESS

Minimalism promotes a lifestyle focused on less consumerism and more personal meaning.

Living with only the bare essentials allows us to enjoy simple things such as a tidy room or a simple wardrobe. It also allows us to enjoy a feeling of contentment and gratitude.

With more time on our hands, we are able to pursue our passions and discover our missions. By finding our true purpose in life, we become happier and more grateful than ever.

6. LESS DEBT, MORE SAVINGS

Money, as the saying goes, is the root of all evil. It tears families apart, ruins marriages and relationships, and keeps people from being genuinely happy.

By simplifying our life – clearing the clutter, getting rid of the luxuries we don’t really need and stop making unnecessary purchases – we can focus on eliminating debt and making better financial decisions with fewer resources.

7. NO NEED TO WORK OVERTIME (PART TIME)

I used to work so hard by slaving myself 60 hours a week to acquire things that I don’t really need.

I had a three-bedroom house but I was never home. I was never home because I had to work two jobs. I had to work two jobs because I had debts to pay. I had a huge debt because I spent all of my money on things that didn’t give value to my life.

I missed out on more important things such as having meaningful relationships, new experiences and good health.

So next time you make a big purchase, ask yourself – would it actually add value to your life? Is it worth slaving yourself to a job that suck the life out of you?

8. MORE TIME FOR REST OR HOBBY

When I used to have two jobs, I would leave for work at 8:00am and come home at 11:30pm every single day. I even used to work on weekends and even holidays.

I literally had no time for rest or hobby, and not even had enough time for a good, quality sleep.

On most days, I would just stay home because I was too tired to hang out with my husband. Or I was sick due to over fatigue and lack of sleep.

I was also sad because I didn’t have the chance to pursue my passion (such as blogging) and activities that make me happy.

Once we have more freedom with schedules and time, then we can truly enjoy a well-balanced life.

9. MORE EXPERIENCES 

According to some research, experiences result in longer-lasting happiness than material possessions. People’s satisfaction with the things they buy decreases over time. Meanwhile their satisfaction with experiences increases over time.

Experiences also provide better memories. One reason I enjoy traveling is because of the many memories I have traveling with my loved ones. I look back on those moments with great joy and fondness. I remember them far better than almost any of the physical gifts I received in my life.

10. SIMPLE WARDROBE

One of the most difficult tasks in terms of applying minimalism into my life is downsizing my closet.

When I moved to Canada, I only brought one big suitcase with me. Ten years later, I have accumulated excess clothes and shoes big enough to fill at least 10 balikbayan boxes.

I already have donated about 5-7 bags of clothing, and I’m not even done yet. To put it into perspective, I have probably spent at least $2,000-$3,000 on those donated clothing. Just imagine how much that money can buy something that you really need – I could have paid another credit card or purchased a flight ticket to Manila to visit my family.

There is value in simplicity. When we consume less, we create more meaningful life – and a simpler wardrobe to choose from.

11. LESS CLUTTER

Again and again, the bottom line of minimalism is to get rid ourselves of excess stuff and get more out of our lives.

However, we tend to hoard more items that what we actually need. Have you ever been to the grocery store and ended up buying more “sale items” than what you actually need? Have you gone window shopping and ended up buying that dress that you will never wear? Have you gone out to bike around the neighborhood and ended up buying an item from a garage sale, which you probably will never ever use? Been there, done that. Guilty as charged.

Living with less is no easy task. It takes focus and dedication to actually make a big change. It should be clear to us that once the excess stuff is out of the way, staying organized is a breeze.

Remember: Less mess just simply means less stress.

12. GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

What people need to understand is that we all contribute to climate change. Our excessive consumerism leads to overconsumption that drains the Earth’s resources and accelerates climate change.

One of the benefits of minimalism is that it teaches us to live with intention and to be mindful of the consequences of our actions.

If we consume less, then we put less garbage in the landfill. Instead of buying plastic water bottles, get a reusable water bottle. Instead of using plastic straw, use metal straw or pasta, or just drink your beverage without them. Instead of buying plastic-wrapped foods, buy fresh food at the farmers’ market.

In our own small ways, we can reduce our eco-footprints, minimize pollution and help protect Mother Nature.

Is minimalism something you’ve considered before? How did it change your life? Please share your thoughts through the comments section below.

Enjoy your day,

Jomay