„Be more with less!”
I believe it is very simple to be a minimalist. If you think of yourself as a minimalist than you are one regardless of how many objects you own! The general understanding, however, is that to be a minimalist you should fit all your belongings in a backpack, sleep on the floor and live like a nomad. But, as you can imagine, I don’t support that idea. Although it is connected to the material world minimalism is an internal condition – a space in our mind where everything is valuable, everything is enough, everything is “now”. Everyone can be a minimalist wherever you live, whatever you work, wherever you come from and are going to!
However, as minimalism is only practised by a minority there are still plenty of questions surrounding it – how, what, why? And I want to start which a few minimal pieces of advice for beginner minimalists. I hope you find them useful to understand the true idea of minimalism and not to drown in the material:
1. The memories are not in our things
They really are not! Do you think you will forget that trip to Germany if you don’t have all your tram tickets? Or your best friends from school if you let go of the notes from math class? Or your family, if you don’t keep the stuffed toys from your fifth birthday? Believe me, you will not! And often it is much more important to create new memories rather than spend time digging through old papers and boxes of forgotten toys. Let go and move on!
2. Minimalism is an individual’s process
When I realised how valuable minimalism is for my mental health, physical environment or even my bank accounts, I found it impossible to keep it in and not to critique people around me for what they do (or don’t do). I learned the hard way through many tears and tantrums that everyone lives and creates their own life. Yes, we want to help and always do it for the best of other, but if they are not ready for change we can’t actually help. The best we can do is live our lives as examples for something different, for happiness in a new packaging. One day you will see how your mum declutters her closet and your dad donates old dictionaries without you even saying a word.
3. Imagine that the decluttering of the material is a decluttering of the mind
As I already mentioned, I believe that the material around us has a direct connection to the thoughts inside us. Don’t think of things as: “This piece of clothing is so nice, why would I get rid of it”, rather think of it as “I haven’t worn this piece of clothing in years because it’s missing a button and if I get rid of it I will never have to think of it again and get annoyed every day I see it”. When we thinк of things as thoughts in our minds rather than items on a shelf we realise how much space can be freed for more important things.
4. Create your own rules
And most importantly: this is your own process. No-one can tell you what’s right or wrong because no one has an answer to your needs. If you want to try the 30-day Minimalist game, have a packing party, follow the KonMari method, get rid of everything and only leave a top and a pair of shoes! Do it in a week, a month, a year, a decade… It does not matter, because at every given moment you are already a minimalist! Realise your own needs, don’t hide from your doubts, don’t delude yourself with impossible goals: be yourselves! Dig deep to find yourselves if needed!
And these are some extra ideas to help you part with the more difficult items:
a. Declutter everything negative
Don’t keep items that bring any negative emotion: whether a memory from a failed love, jeans waiting for you to lose enough weight, or just a top which you hate ironing, they don’t have a place in your life. If you don’t love it and don’t find value in it, why do you keep it? You can find a much better way to spend your time so!
b. Find a home for everything
This is more organisation than declutter but to create a fulfilling environment everything should have a home so it’s clear where it should be tidied to or so it’s not lost or broken. In this way, you can deal much easier with the smaller amount of items you would own. (For example, I haven’t lost a hair tie for years. Yes, those thingies that disappear from the face of the world and a new packet is required every month! Impossible, but fact!)
c. Just-in-case = never
This is the Minimalists’ rule! Those items only clutter our lives the most as they always sit there waiting for the right moment which never comes! Believe me: just-in-case means never! Clear the space, there are probably people for who your “just in case” items would be “here and now” items!
I thought this would be a short post! I hope I didn’t confuse you and I wasn’t too critical or condescending. The truth is that these types of blogs only negatively affect those people who haven’t yet reached the right time in the lives. And that is completely normal and understandable as this is just a philosophy. Minimalism is not a universal solution for everyone, only some of us see sense in these ideas.