The joy of a new purchase can be exhilarating. So much so, that we often become unknowingly addicted to that feeling. Consumerism takes over, and suddenly you can never have enough possessions.
But as with anything in life, consumerism is just a concept that has been taught to us, and can be replaced by its better counterpart: minimalism.
What is minimalism?
Minimalism, simply put, is living free of excess tangible possessions. It is not living in restricted or deprived ways. Instead, minimalism is taking on the goal of purchasing only what you truly need and use.
Many believe that a minimalist lifestyle is difficult to keep up with. There is a stigma around the idea, which makes people believe that they will have to give up on things they deeply like and change their preferences. However, that is the exact opposite of what minimalism is all about. It prioritizes your preferences and is built around maximizing them.
To paint a picture, here is an example: instead of owning 10 shirts but only wearing the two that fit well, minimalism would say to buy a few more of that same style and rid yourself of the rest. You would go from 10 to 4 shirts, but would be wearing every t-shirt you own, and therefore, maximizing your purchases.
Three main reasons that are unarguably beneficial to anyone and everyone are: decluttering, simplified living and increased savings.
Decluttering frees up space, which may in turn decrease rent or storage expenses. It also tends to have mental and emotional benefits, as many report the physical cleaning and clearing up to have a similar effect on the mind.
Living on a day-to-day basis becomes much simpler with minimalism. This is true because it has been reported that an adult can make up to 35,000 decisions each day. Although these go by mostly unnoticed, they take up energy and can lead to avoidable mental exhaustion. Therefore, by living minimally, we automatically decrease the amount of options and decisions we make each day. For instance, you would not have to choose which shoes to wear hiking if only owned one pair sneakers.
Apart from the previously mentioned domino-effect that leads to savings, minimalism can dramatically decrease unnecessary spending. Instead of purchasing multiple items, only to end up choosing ‘favorites’ and never using the rest, you become a much more intentional and smart shopper. No longer will you have buyer’s remorse or donate a t-shirt with a tag still attached to it. Saving when living minimally is almost inevitable.
Minimalism can be the answer to the free-flowing, undetained beings. With less physical attachments, comes more freedom. Minimalist living refocuses spending from purchasing goods to purchasing experiences. Instead of a collection of sneakers, minimalists may have mental collections of trips.
Furthermore, nowadays minimalist living may be the only escape from the fast-paced, demanding lives we are forced to live. With the abundant amount of information we get on a daily basis, our minds get overwhelmed. We are also constantly running against time whether because of work, school and other responsibilities. Our society not only demands this pace, but it gives us no other option. Therefore, it is up to us to find a way to fight that stress and make choices that won’t add to it.
Minimalism is not an all or nothing practice. Implementing minimalism in small doses, on certain areas of life can already provide great benefits. Test the waters, it might surprise you!