When I first started experimenting with minimalism two years ago, I had no idea that it would change my life as much as it did.
I thought I would declutter my space and just feel slightly better, but that’s not what happened. Instead, my entire life changed for the better, and if you’re contemplating becoming a so-called ‘minimalist’, your life will probably change in a similar way.
The minimalist community has grown exponentially in the past few years. I believe this has everything to do with worldwide financial turmoil, concerns for the environment, high levels of debt, and just the general realization that there’s more to life than just possessions.
Minimalism is everywhere around us. Ever since smartphones became popular and widely available, many people have ditches their address books, MP3-players, separate camera’s, books and more.
The same things happens in the drug store. Lots of brands are buying into the minimalist marketing approach – brands that used to package their products in glittery, colourful bottles are now going for sleek, simple design with clear call-to-actions and promises of the products. That’s what the people want these days.
Of course, then there are people like me who like talking about being a minimalist as much as being one – this lifestyle has truly changed who I am as a person, and I would love for other people to experience the same thing I did. Here’s how my life changed
Being minimal means having to spend less money, because you feel the need for less things. But not only that, my minimalism journey completely shifted my perspective on consumerism. Suddenly, clothes, purses and expensive make-up didn’t seem that important to me, especially if they aren’t ethically produced.
I learned that cheaper isn’t always better, and now often opt for a slightly more expensive option that will last me for a longer amount of time. I still buy what I need, but only what I need.
If you like fashion and make-up, that’s completely fine to spend money on, but for me, those things don’t bring me a huge amount of joy.
Being aware of the environment
Minimalism made me realize that consumerism really does have a big impact on our planet. By having a more minimalist lifestyle, you avoid (overly) contributing to landfills and you’re decreasing the demand for products. Minimalism seeped into many different aspects of my life, including the food I eat, the products I buy and the way I choose to travel.
Of course, not everything I own is ethically produced – you could even argue that nothing is completely ethical – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to use fewer resources. When fewer resources are being expended, less pollution will be entering the ecosystem – and every little bit counts.
Having more time
For a long time, I thought I just needed to find that one trick that would make me a productive beast. A technique, app or mindset. I tried so many different things, and some things, like a to-do list app or using the Pomodoro technique, worked pretty well, but nothing made me as productive as I really wanted to be.
In the end, having less stuff in my immediate surroundings is what helped me to become more productive and feel like I have more time on my hands. On my desk, I now only have my water bottle, my notebook and my laptop, because that’s all I need.
Fewer possessions means fewer distractions and spending more time on things that really matter.
From my experience, having fewer possessions made me feel less tied down and burdened. It felt amazing that when I flew to the US last november for a three month trip, all I took with me was one suitcase, and I felt like I had packed everything I needed.
I remember taking trips before I became a minimalist, and it was incredibly stressful. I would have to pay extra because my suitcase was often too heavy, and I would have to choose what items to take with me and what to leave behind. I always feel guilty for not using items too, so I wanted to take everything with me.
When you have lots of possessions, it can create a feeling of permanence. Right now, I feel like like I can just pack up and go whenever I want to. That’s an amazing feeling to have!
I saw a picture on Pinterest the other day that said ‘’no one is going to stand up at your funeral saying ‘’she had a really couch and really expensive shoes’’ so don’t make your life about these things.”
I really agree with this, but in our society we can feel less valuable as other people because of our possessions. Having expensive clothes, a cool car and a fancy laptop can give you status, and it’s something that I struggled with a lot in school.
By putting less value in your possessions, you will be free from the comparisons game. It felt amazing to just buy things because I truly wanted them and felt like they fitted into my lifestyle.
No one is going to stand up at your funeral saying ‘’she had a really couch and even more expensive shoes’’.
And last but not least, minimalism forced me on a self-discovery journey. All the things I just mentioned, being able to travel, not comparing myself to others, my relationship with money, being more aware of the environment, are part of this journey to find myself.
Becoming a minimalist forced me to take a long, hard look at myself and ask: who am I? What do I think is important in life? What do I want to do? What do I want to be known for?
These are questions that have been on my mind for a long time – I think it’s part of being in your early twenties – but I always tried to dodge them, because I really didn’t know the answer. Because if minimalism I was forced to look at myself and criticize the way I was spending money and treating the environment.
I don’t ever see myself changing my minimalist lifestyle. If anything, I want to become even more minimalist and pair down my possessions as much as I possibly can!