What does Minimalism really mean?

Definition:

Believing in or seeking a minimal state; seeking to minimize or reduce to a minimum.

Usage: He’s a minimalist: when it comes to formal processes, the fewer the better. (Source)

Shoe Clutter

Shoe Clutter in a Closet

Minimalism isn’t all about getting rid of everything you own, living in a white box with a shaved head, humming soothing Buddhist mantras.

It is a state of mind, a philosophy if you will, and it can be applied in all aspects of your life.

Physical applications of Minimalism

Take a look around your space right now. Is it stressing you out? Do you feel anxious?

Maybe what you need is to minimize or change the visual clutter so your eyes can rest on blank spaces, see defined spaces for all of your different projects and to become more of an organized area.

Minimalism, can help with that because you are minimizing the visual clutter by de-cluttering, organizing and simplifying your physical space.

Mental applications of Minimalism

What about how you work?

Do you always feel like you’re forgetting something, or things just don’t seem to get done because you’re getting side tracked?

What you might need is what others might term “organization”, but part of becoming more organized, is to also simplify and pare down.

Minimalism can help because it’s a way of keeping things simple, removing unnecessary tasks from your To Do list and letting you focus on the main priorities.

Varying levels of minimalism

There are varying levels of minimalism ranging from extremist to light, but without a comfortable balance it will feel more like a prison than a freeing experience, and I am positive you will not be able to sustain that lifestyle.

Camper Bike

A Minimalist Camper Bike Home

And it’s true. Some people do take it to the extreme.

We’re talking 200 square foot abodes, one pot, one little Bunsen burner and half a bed that you strap yourself in to sleep. (See image to the right via Kitsune Noir.)

And no one needs to do that if they aren’t comfortable with owning so little. I sure as heck couldn’t fit my entire life in that little camper bike!

While I consider myself a minimalist, I do need more space than that to live, sleep, work and eat in. Also, totally unrelated, but where’s the bathroom? A chamber pot?

I think many people feel that they need to pare down to 5 perfect outfits and 5 perfect little sets of shoes.

Wrong!

That is the most horrific thing I can imagine. Only having 5 outfits or 5 pairs of shoes, is torture for someone like me who loves variety in her outfits. I also happen to love wearing every colour in the rainbow, which poses a whole other problem.

Minimalism isn’t about that. It’s about focusing your efforts on prioritizing what is important for you.

For example, if you have a whole wardrobe, and you know half of it is unwearable, minimalism encourages you (not forces) to pare down on what you have so that what you have left, is what you love to wear and will wear on a daily basis.

The clothes that you aren’t wearing, are taking up precious space in the closet that you are paying for (either in rent, mortgage or sanity)!

I hope that clarifies what minimalism to me, entails. I know what I do, just can’t be sustained by others and what some people do, feels like excess rather than minimalism to me. But ultimately, it should be what works for you and your lifestyle.

Minimalism is simply keeping & using only what you truly love and want.

About the Author

I'm a 20-something year old girl who lived out of a single suitcase in 2007, and now I'm living with less, but only with the best. You don't have to get rid of everything to become a minimalist! Minimalism can help simplify and organize your life, career, & physical surroundings. You can read more about me as a minimalist. Or come and visit my other blog Fabulously Broke in the City where I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months, earning $65,000 gross/year.