What is Minimalism?

Upon delving into my research of minimalism, I came across a variety of blogs illustrating the lifestyle through a range of extremities and focuses. There was a blog narrowing in on any facet of life, from applying minimalism to traveling, to creating a minimalist wardrobe, and even approaching the lifestyle through the foods we consume. There were bloggers that claimed expertise in minimalism, having practiced it for so long they have been able to eliminate most excess from their lives. On the other side of the minimalist spectrum, were bloggers isolating their practice of minimalism to one or two categories of their lives, but otherwise indulging. As I looked around at my bedroom of ‘stuff’, I felt less doubtful of my ability to simplify my life as I took note of the  less extreme minimalists.

I started my research with the blog, The Minimalists. I had seen a documentary on the duo behind the site a few months back, which originally peaked my interest in the lifestyle. Essentially, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, the minds behind The Minimalists, found themselves in a cycle of discontent of which they tried to satisfy by indulging in material things. As they approach their 30’s, with no end to this draining cycle, they decided to fill this void by eliminating objects in order to make room for meaningful experiences.From their site, they explain that minimalism isn’t necessarily about living without material things, but rather understanding that you don’t need these possessions to be happy. By detaching yourself from a life of stuff, you gain freedom and reclaim your life.

To get a better idea of The Minimalists’ message, watch the trailer to their documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things:

I suppose the lifestyle is more of a spiritual journey than what we are led to believe. On the surface, the practice appears to be a organizational gimmick, designed to save even the worst hoarder. But the repercussions of practicing minimalism extend beyond a more aesthetically pleasing space. The minimalist site, becoming minimalist, explains the benefits of the lifestyle declutter the soul, allowing an individual to better prioritize his or heir life an  find time for the the things that make them most fulfilled.

So how do you start? Leo Babauta of Zen Habits presents his minimalist FAQs, in which he explains that the only rule of minimalism is that there aren’t any real rules. Because the lifestyle is more of a spiritual journey, everyone’s process will be different. Someone’s idea of what is minimal is different from another’s. To be successful in this experiment, be honest with yourself about how much or how little you need to live a fulfilled existence.


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