According to the idealistic prediction of TV shows like The Jetsons, technology is designed with simplicity in mind. Though science hasn’t figured out the flying car, the robot butler or the Foodarackacycle, we’ve come a long way. Smartphones, wearables, heart rate monitors, fidget spinners — society has advanced, no doubt, but it’s not as simple as George and his wife may have imagined.
Allow me to crudely invoke Newton’s third law of physics: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” We’re not just pretending to be smart. We have a point! The resurgence of minimalism is a by-product of a modern lifestyle that’s complex, messy, and always changing. And, for a lot of reasons (12, actually), Healthversed approves!
Today, we examine the origin, icons, and benefits of minimalism. We’ll also show you ways in which you can incorporate this rewarding philosophy in to your daily life too! So, sit back, relax, and enjoy The Healthversed Mini Guide for Wannabe Minimalists. Let’s go!
What is Minimalism?
For a concept that preaches simplicity, minimalism sure has a lot of alternative definitions. It’s classified as a 1950s movement in painting and sculpture. It represents the avant-garde musical movement. It represents a lifestyle that values quality, and simplicity over consumerism and clutter. Though we may discuss the two former definitions at another time, today we’re focussing on the latter: embracing a life with less.
It’s important to note that minimalism isn’t altogether anti-stuff. In fact, most minimalists value their possessions much more than the masses. They just have less of them. For example, instead of having three laptops or two vehicles, a minimalist would opt for one of each. As a result, they focus less on maintenance and upkeep. Preferring to channel that seemingly wasted energy towards something a bit more meaningful.
In the case of these minimalists, it appears that they channeled their energy the right way. History has reaped the rewards of successful minimalists for decades. Ironically, buying their art, ideas and products by the closetful.
Many credit Steve Jobs’ minimalist design philosophy for Apple’s unprecedented success. The size of Albert Einstein’s wardrobe would give most Instagram models of today a coronary. Leonardo Da Vinci was quoted as saying “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Even the infamous emperor Marcus Aurelius embraced a life of extreme minimalism.
All of these geniuses realized that a life with less was simpler, more rewarding, and more productive. Disagree? Well, if you think you’re smarter than Albert Einstein, you certainly aren’t a minimalist in the self-confidence department.
Sure. Leonardo Da Vinci didn’t require the support of modern psychologists to convince him of the emotional benefits of minimalism. But that’s certainly not going to stop us from sharing.
If happiness is your goal, minimalism may be the answer. Why? Because buying things for yourself won’t make you happy. But, using your accrued savings to support others actually can. Furthermore, the endless cycle of material inadequacy is harmful to an individual’s self esteem.
And last but certainly not least, fewer possessions typically translates to less possession related stress. Fewer car repairs, less things to lose, and most importantly, less weekend mall time. It doesn’t take Einstein to understand the value of that.
This one may seem obvious but it bears mentioning all the same. The minimalist lifestyle intersects with the philosophy of frugality quite nicely. Minimalists own less and, as a result, buy less too! Which frees up a fair chunk of change for more meaningful investments. Like more vacations, more money squirreled away for retirement and more money donated to important charities!
Think of minimalism as an opt out of the endless “buy, toss, buy again” lifestyle of modern society. It truly is a liberating lifestyle!
In the words of contemporary 90s philosopher Christopher George Latore Wallace: “Mo money, mo problems.” Adding to that, mo possessions, mo problems too! And mo stress!
Here at Healthversed, the negative physical effects of stress are well documented. Stress makes it more difficult for you to fall asleep, causes you to eat more, can lead to rapid weight gain, and can even cause liver disease.
We’ve established that minimalism is healthier, cheaper, better for your mental health, and all of the cool kids are doing it. For the remainder of this article, we’ll zero in on a few fool-proof ways in which you too can incorporate minimalism into your everyday life.
Tip: Identify What’s Important to You
First, it’s important to establish the things that are … important. Grab a pen and write down all of the things that you couldn’t live without and things that you would rather not live without, too. Maybe you cherish your collection of vinyl albums. Perhaps you can’t live without your high-end cooking gadgets. Whatever they are, make note of the possessions that you value most. If anything, it’s a great way to prioritize the things in your home.
You know that coffee table that’s so loaded with miscellaneous knick knacks that you can’t even discern what color it is? Clear it. Clear it with fire. Actually, don’t do that.
De-cluttering flat surfaces, shelves, closets, garages, wood sheds, and the like is an incredibly liberating experience. And the results are staggering. Just close your eyes and imagine what your home would look like sans clutter. See? Even visualizing it felt good!
Get out the garbage bag and get ready to have some fun. Purging all of that useless garbage that you’ve accumulated over the years is a rite of passage for the budding minimalist. Donate those old toys. Ditch the ratty old t-shirts. Toss out the instruction manual for the universal remote that you haven’t seen since teased hair was trendy. You don’t need it and in fact, you’ll feel much better without it.
And you don’t have to trash the stuff either. Host a garage sale, or flip the unwanted items on eBay or Craigslist. Turn that trash in to cash!
Tip: Simplify Your Wardrobe
A sure-fire way to pick a minimalist out of a crowd is to take a peek inside their closet. The minimalist philosophy translates to the world of fashion surprisingly well. First, take an inventory of your closet. Set aside the items of clothing that you wear the most and file the rest under: donate.
Want to take it even further? Eliminate duplicate or similar items too! Want to go even further still? We knew we liked you. The 333 project is a great place to start.
Tip: Everything in its Right Place
So, you’ve donated the excess, ditched the garbage. Feel better? We bet you do, but the fun isn’t over yet. It’s time to find a place for everything!
The key to an efficient, minimalist home is organization! Find a permanent home for all of those meaningful possessions. Display your guitars, organize your Tupperware containers and place your things in thoughtful, useful places! Designating a home for all of your possessions will make them easier to find and more importantly, easier to use!
Tip: Quality, Not Quantity
Just because you live with less doesn’t mean that you have to live with nothing. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself investing in higher quality, longer lasting possessions. You’ll certainly have more money to invest in the things that mean more to you personally.
For a minimalist, purchasing items is a much more calculated experience. You may find yourself window shopping, comparing reviews, and practicing mindful shopping more often! That’s because introducing a new possession in to your home carries much more weight than it once did. Quality over quantity is a great rule of thumb for the minimalist shopper.
We know what you’re thinking. All of this minimalism talk is making you hungry for more! Don’t worry my friend, we’ve got you covered. If you’re looking to dive a little deeper in to the wonderful world of minimalism, here are a few great places to start: