Minimalism is a very simple lifestyle. It’s simple to be it, and just as simple to begin.
That’s not to say minimalism is easy. There’s nothing easy about going against the grain. Ignoring what everyone is telling you. Forging your own path to a meaningful life. One that doesn’t include all the products and lifestyles being shoved in your face at every swipe through your phone. So yes, it’s simple, but it’s not easy.
In it’s essence, getting started with minimalism is simple. It takes two questions being asked over and over again to get into the mindset of minimalism. It’s a practice and the beginning gives you a lot of it.
THE BEGINNING OF MINIMALISM
The theme is that a minimalist always starts their journey with a purge. The ultimate declutter to begin your new life. It’s a “from the ashes we will rise” kind of mentality. This is where the “practice” of it all begins:
Practice confronting our things and looking at our lives directly.
Stop letting our things take control of our lives and we begin the to take control of our things.
While we purge we ask questions, we examine each part of our lives in order to let go of the things that are holding us back.
IS IT USEFUL RIGHT NOW?
I added the “right now” because it’s easy to give anything potential use. Sure, I’m not using my curling iron right now, but I might one day.
One day is a dangerous phrase. We fill our homes with things that might come in handy one day and give our present selves all the responsibility for things our future selves may never use.
There’s a rule in minimalism. Not everyone follows it, not everyone has to follow it. But it’s a rule that was created to help give perspective on the usefulness of our things. It’s the 90/90 rule where you think on whether or not you’ve used an item in the last 90 days. If not, will you use it in the next 90? If the answer to both is no, just set it aside. And if you don’t think about it for 90 days, it may be time to let it go.
DOES IT BRING YOU JOY?
Not everything that brings you joy will be useful. Photos, art, plants, etc. None of these things really have a use. You can’t bake a cake with them, you can only entertain for about 2 seconds. Ultimately, they are fairly useless. Unless, of course, they bring you joy.
Minimalism is not deprivation. It is not selling your your record collection that you enjoy daily just to clear clutter. It’s not putting all your books on a kindle in the spirit of downsizing. It’s not taking away the things you love to create an open corner of nothing. It is simply clearing the things that don’t truly stand out to you. The things you hold onto out of guilt or because you feel required. It’s taking all of the things that hold you back out of your life in order to free up your time, space, and money for the things that remind you what butterflies in your stomach feel like. The things that bring happiness and meaning into your life.
THAT’S NOT TO SAY IT NEEDS TO BE BOTH
The things that are useful don’t have to bring you joy. You need each item to fit at least one description, but it’s not required that they have to be both in every instance. Most of us need an oven. Is it going to be the oven of our dreams? Maybe not. But it serves a purpose and that’s what matters.
The things in your life don’t have to be both useful and joyful, but they do have to be at least one of those things. Life is better when it’s filled with meaning and we can learn how to create it by starting with our stuff.
Photo by Daria Shevtsova