I’ve always been quite a minimalist person. I truly believe that less is more and people who have homes full of useless clutter make me feel a bit queasy. How do they live like that? Maybe it is just because I have moved house so many times but I love throwing things away and organising stuff and I’m pretty proud of the fact that all of my earthly possessions fit in a reasonable sized car boot. It is my goal to travel the world with all my possessions fitting into a reasonable sized rucksack. A girl can dream.
When I found out about some pretty cool guys, The Minimalists, I was immediately intrigued by their blog and went on to watch their documentary. I thought it was definitely a way of living that I wanted to pursue. Their main ethos is basically to live as simply as possible – to only buy things you love or need, and not because consumer culture tells you what you “need” to buy. They explain it all in the documentary but I just wanted to mention some of the things they said and how they have definitely changed my life forever.
First of all, the money I spent on the documentary was completely nourishing, not like a frivolous purchase at all. Anything that educates me and strengthens me as a person (and that I can make a blog post out of) is worth money in my opinion and the opinion of the Minimalists. This feeling of spending wholesomely inspired me to spend less on flashy things and more on books, travel and further education.
One of the main points raised is that we aren’t buying things because we really want or need them, we’re making purchases to fill a happiness void in our lives and in our culture. If we fill this void with other things like our friends, family, love and our hobbies then we won’t feel the need to spend. This resonated with me in particular because I’m a sucker for retail therapy. Next time I feel like spending I’ll buy a book or a train ticket to somewhere I’ve never been rather than a new top.
Lately in these times of celebrity and social media, we are always under the illusion that our lives should be perfect, and this puts so much pressure on us. We will never be the richest, happiest, fittest or prettiest, so there’s no harm in just being ourselves. Once we become happy with who we are, we don’t need to surround ourselves with things that we think will make us feel better about ourselves. When we are content we can live simply.
As people in the modern world we are totally over stimulated and we spend every waking second searching for that next hedonistic high. We have forgotten to see the satisfaction in hard work or creating something beautiful and instead we automatically take pleasure in peeling the plastic off the latest iPhone or snapping the tag off a new designer handbag. But it doesn’t have to be like this at all. Once we learn to accept that not everything in life is about searching for the next high, we can start to relax and see what really matters most. Our relationships, our spiritual wellbeing, the earth.
We also have too much SPACE. Too much. We have 3x more space per person than in the 1900s. We don’t need all this space. If you have rooms in your house you don’t use, you’re not going to be able to create a harmonious home. Living in one room is said to be the best thing for our emotional wellbeing as well as creating a feeling of comfort. Living in a smaller space does wonders for the environment, which is something I really care about. In this case, bigger is definitely not better. We need affordability, as well as sustainability, to truly create the happy lives we want and need.
Everything we take to be the norm in society, is just a template. Getting a job, a big house, 2 cars, 3 kids and a marriage is just one template. It doesn’t have to be yours. You can create your own. This was really reassuring to me as I’ve always felt that the traditional path might not be for me, but I’ve always thought in the back of my mind that I should be following it anyway. But just because other people are doing something, it doesn’t mean you have to live your life that way too. I don’t want something permanent. I don’t want to have to hire a van to be able to move myself and my possessions. It scares me. I want to be free.
Here are some things that give me a fuzzy feeling:
- Books – they’re a piece of treasure
- Soft clothes
- Incredible tasting food
- Hot drinks
These are the things I should be buying. The things that make me feel fuzzy. Not the things people are telling me I need to want.
Everyone is always looking for more meaning and fewer distractions. That’s what minimalism is becoming to me. The simpler we live, the simpler life becomes. It’s really as simple as that.
No one needs shit from Ikea.
No one needs clothes they never even wear.
We need meditation and love and the ability to travel and feel light and be able to breathe our anxiety out and move on. We can’t do that with the mentality that consumer culture has embedded in us. We need to stop worshipping self indulgence and stop being defined by what we OWN. We don’t have to be manipulated like this anymore.
By living a minimalist life, you really can create a life that makes people who meet you ask “why the hell are you so happy?”