Minimalism. By this point, you’ve already heard of it, but what exactly is it? For some, it’s a lifestyle. For others, it’s an aesthetic or a design principle. And for the extreme, it turns into a competition to see who can own the least amount of items. The media portrays minimalism as an empty white room with a bed, maybe a lamp, and a strict set of rules that govern what (and how much) you are allowed to own. In reality, there is no strict definition for minimalism, since it is interpreted differently by everyone, but it is basically a way to live life with exactly what you need; nothing more and nothing less.
Most people seem to interpret minimalism as a concept that applies only to physical possessions, but this is not the case. Minimalism encompasses both your possessions AND your time. Whether your home is too cluttered, or your schedule is too packed, both have a significant impact on your free time and financial responsibilities. So why should you embrace a minimalist lifestyle? For us, minimalism is both a lifestyle and a strategy to help us accomplish multiple goals:
- Reduce possessions. After moving from apartment to apartment, we realized that we quite simply had too much stuff. We filled up the largest truck U-Haul had to offer and we lived in a 2-bedroom apartment. After the move, we had unopened boxes sitting in our apartment for a couple months. What was in the boxes, you ask? We had no idea….which means that we didn’t need it anymore. One of the core tenets of minimalism is only owning possessions that make you happy or that you actually need. For us, moving unnecessary stuff (and paying for a larger moving truck, plus extra gas, to do so) and then paying even more to store it was an eye-opening experience.
- Saving money. By reducing our possessions, we were able to live in a smaller apartment, and less square feet equaled less in rent and electricity. Additionally, adopting a more minimalist lifestyle sparked us to re-examine our spending habits. Did we really need a brand new phone if our old ones worked fine? Did we really need more clothes when we didn’t even wear all the clothes we had?
- Achieving freedom. With less possessions, a reduced cost-of-living, and extra money in savings, we were more freed up to do what we want to do. For us, it’s travel. For you, it could be whatever you want it to be. Either way, a minimalist lifestyle will cost you less money (and therefore less work) which gives you greater flexibility and financial stability.
We don’t count how many possessions we own, nor do we have a strict set of rules that we follow. We aren’t the type of minimalists that get news coverage for living like refugees. For us, minimalism is an ever-evolving lifestyle choice that enables us to do what we want to do with our lives, but we aren’t perfect. We still buy new things and spend more money than we should, but by continually reassessing what is important to us, we are able to course-correct and take steps towards what makes us happy.
With reduced clutter, less stress, and extra money, we are able to live the life we want instead of the life that is marketed to us. What can minimalism do for you?