What is a minimalist?

What is a minimalist?  What does it really mean?  Is it for you?

This term is relatively new and many people have their own interpretations.  Often these have negative connotations and I think it is not something that is really yet understood in society as a whole.

Many people think that being a minimalist means you have to get rid of all your stuff and only have a few items.  Well that is not quite true.  I like the description that The Minimalists* use – Minimalism is a tool used to rid yourself of life’s excess in favour of focusing on what’s important so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.  

Life doesn’t have to be complicated and minimalisation is really about simplifying all aspects of ones life.  It is about eliminating the distractions that keep us from appreciating life to the full.  The less stuff we have cluttering our homes, minds, relationships and time the more energy we can put into enjoying the things that really are important to us.  Another description used by the Minimalists is Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things, so we can make room for life’s important things—which aren’t actually things at all. 

In ones home environment what is stuff and do we have too much off it?  I pose this question ‘do we really need to have all the stuff in our lives or are we better to use some of that money on life experiences and things like travel’? It is definitely something to have a think about isn’t it.

These days, particularly those of us in the western world, tend to live in a culture of consumerism and find we want to accumulate materialistic things.  Often people believe that having more is what we should do and that we will be happy in achieving this.  Unfortunately this costs money and people even go into debt trying to live a certain life with many possessions.   What do you think?

In terms of work do you love what you are doing?  Many people do not and maybe they need to find that passion, again or for the first time, in their careers.  Another angle to work or life is that of late people seem to glorify being busy and is that what they really want?  Do we always want to feel stressed and never have time to really do the things we want to do and actually enjoy doing?

I know I have probably posed more questions, giving you things to think about, than I have given answers to in this blog.  Naturally the term minimalist will take on a different meaning to everyone and some will be more minimalistic than others.  It really is up to you as an individual as to whether a minimalistic approach might work for you and help you live a happier life.  You may in fact choose not to change anything at all and that too is okay.  I admit that these days I find myself swinging more in tune with a minimalistic approach and would rather spend my money on experiences than things and think twice before buying something new.  I wouldn’t completely say I am a minimalist but the changes I choose to make work for me and my family.

Let me leave you with a quote from The Minimalists, when they toured Australia at the end of 2014, which I thought was very thought provoking – Love people and use things as the opposite never works!


* More information on The Minimalists can be found at www.theminimalists.com