Whilst minimalist living has played a big role in my life for the last few years I never put the label on it, or even realised that there is a whole sub-culture of people around the world promoting this philosophy.
For the last 4 years I have been ‘travelling’ so I have kept possessions to a minimum. I use the term travelling very lightly because it usually consists of me moving to an area, becoming rooted, getting a job, and then packing up and leaving in search of a new adventure. When I become ‘rooted’ I typically start to acquire things, such as books, or little knick-knacks until I reach a point where I realise that if tomorrow is the day that I decide to pack up and move on, I couldn’t, because all the stuff I have won’t fit neatly in my pack. This is usually when the eBaying will begin to de-clutter, and return to the simple, minimal life I prefer. I like to be mobile, and light because I never know what is coming up next.
There are some things that I always prefer to have, such as my laptop and iPad to keep me connected with family and friends, I have a very basic phone, I like to always have a guitar to tinker with, and clothes, obviously. I am currently going through another de-clutter cycle so I am trying to get back down to the bare minimum.
I pinched the above quote from BecomingMinimalist.com because I think it encapsulates the challenge that Minimalists have in going against the tide. We are bombarded by the media, and society as a whole, with the importance of acquiring things and constantly working to acquire more and more things to ‘fit in’ for lack of better words, usually with money that is not even ours. Keeping up with the Jones’. Whether you are a Minimalist, or are just learning about how to become a Minimalist, you are likely to face some criticism and some odd looks from those that don’t completely understand the benefits of living a simpler, more purposeful lifestyle.
I won’t go through all of the benefits of minimalism because I think that the post on BecomingMinimalist.com does it better than I could, but the most important benefits for me are: the freedom knowing that I am not tied down to anywhere by the things that I own; less of an impact on the environment by consuming less; I feel happier; and spending less on unneeded, pointless items – instead preferring to spend more money on experiences and acquiring knowledge.
Becoming a Minimalist can be a challenge at first. It requires a bit of discipline, and some honest self-assessment but if you determine why you want to live the minimalist lifestyle, and those reasons are compelling enough to you, then you can take small steps each day and make the journey to a simpler and more purposeful existence.