Minimalism Defined

Minimalism: a philosophy, a practice, a lifestyle or just a fad.

Minimalism is a philosophy which, when practiced trains the mind to prioritize value over consumption. - mnmlgrl

To elaborate, it is the constant and consistent assessment and reassessment of all the ‘stuff’ you own, buy, use and do not use. It is the deliberate focus on the essential and de-prioritizing of the unessential.

Some of you might already have certain assumptions about minimalism and minimalists. To some, minimalism inspires black & white images of Gandhi spinning his charkha in his loincloth and metal-rimmed glasses, to others, it might remind you of perfectly-coiffed Insta-beauties posing ‘naturally’ in a new-thrifted outfit every day. Both represent the two ends of a spectrum between which minimalism is practiced by most members of the minimal-community.

Although the minimal-movement began with the intention to downsize belongings and as an antidote to blatant capitalist consumerism, I believe the philosophy is deeper than that and can have far reaching effects on our relationships, our role in our community and how we interact with the environment. - mnmlgrl

As a lifestyle, minimalism opens you up to the worth of what you already own in your life and take better care of your things. Minimalism also makes you a conscientious consumer, conscious of the impact your consumption has on your bank statement and the environment. The practice of minimalism requires that you ask yourself if you own stuff or if stuff owns you. As a tool, minimalism helps you identify what is important and worthy of your attention and care. You get to decide which things are important to you and give them the attention and care they deserve. Simultaneously, the things you deemed unimportant must get decluttered, repurposed, given away or sold. This not only removes things which you dislike or simply do not use but also highlights the items that you like or use often. In effect, you will be using your favorite things more often. Consequently, as you continue the journey of minimalism, you might find yourself living a simpler, uncluttered life with less decision-fatigue, more mind space (and maybe more money!) to focus on what you consider worthwhile.

It is easier to define minimalism than it is to spot. There is no cookie-cutter way to be a minimalist. No two minimalists practice downsizing or prioritizing the same because their lives and their priorities are different. Additionally, it does not make sense to trash everything you deem unnecessary in the name of minimalism so there will be a time, especially in the beginning, when you may have more stuff than you are comfortable with. This is okay. This is part of the process. I’ll speak on this at length another time. It is vital that if you practice minimalism and the minimalist community in general not be hung on the number of possessions and instead be patient with one’s progress and encourage each other.

-mnmlgrl publishes a new article every Friday.

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