What would be better than writing about minimalism as my first post on this blog? Minimalism is a lifestyle, a philosophy, a mantra of giving priority to the things that matter the most and getting rid of all the clutter from our lives. Minimalism has now become a buzz word in the urban society where professionals tired of running the rat race, are turning towards simpler and meaningful lifestyle. Although it looks like a new way of thinking to the western world, this had already existed in India for ages with the popular saying “simple living high thinking”. This is something that we have heard numerous times while growing up, but it is only now that I realized the profound meaning of these words.
Think about a scenario when you have more time to spend with your family and friends, pursue hobbies, travel the world or reach out to needy and poor. Think about when you don’t have to spend too much of your precious time in cleaning the spare rooms of your big house, in maintaining the extra stuff that you have bought either to blend with the society or to fill that unquenchable void in your life. Minimalism brings you freedom, freedom to differentiate between what is important and what is just a noise. It liberates you from the pressure of living a life where every new product in the market gives you hope and a sense of fulfillment rather than your life itself. It gives you the strength to let go of the junk that you have been hoarding in the basement of your house or storage with the false impression of emotional attachment, security or preparation of post-apocalyptic days.
There is no clear definition of what minimalism is or how much possession you should be left with to call yourself a minimalist, and probably there is no one in the world who can answer such a question. However, every practicing minimalist agrees that it’s not about the number of individual items you possesses, but it’s about whether those individual items add value to your life above and beyond their societal value. If you can answer ‘yes’ to the question, do I really need this item to make my life better?, then, that is for you, otherwise even if you can think of saying ‘no’, then probably that item is just another piece of junk in your life.
Minimalism is spreading and it’s contagious not just in terms of materialistic possessions, but also in the thought process behind design, architecture, art and presentation. There are numerous examples around where minimalism is influencing art and technology.
This blog is about sharing real life experiences therefore it becomes imperative to share some of my personal experiences with minimalism. First, it’s a hard step to take and it also brings emotional discomfort, but surely it has therapeutic affects after you have gone through the process. I am practicing minimalism for the past two years and have managed to be mindful about my purchasing and also got rid of a sizeable amount of junk from my life. As an example I recently got rid of old beds, two sets of mattresses, an old cabinet, a bench, few quilts, two old chairs and numerous numbers of clothes that I haven’t worn for ages. What have I received in return? Huge amounts of space in my living room, space to exercise, create art and invite friends over for activities. I have made a personal habit of chucking out one nonessential item from my home and office every day. This not only reduces the amount of stuff I hoard, thus reducing the associated space and maintenance requirement, but also leaves a more managed and cleaner surrounding.
I like shopping but I am not a hoarder and because I buy only occasionally, I usually buy more expensive and nicer stuff than a person of my economic status. Instead of going for compulsive shopping, I wait for art/craft exhibitions and my travelling to buy stuff that you wouldn’t otherwise get in a shopping mall. This way I can not only limit the number of items I own, but also may afford nicer stuff.
If you have been intrigued by the idea of minimalism and you want to get encouraged and inspired to give it a try, then I would recommend you to follow some of my favorite advocates of minimalism; Joshua Becker, Leo Babauta, and Joshua and Ryan.