Every time I sit down to write a post for this site it feels like I am bumping into this invisible wall of thought. I get caught in this horrible imposter syndrome loop that leads me to either write something and delete it, or not write anything at all. I am almost certain this isn’t the best way to start an article on minimalism. But the reason I am choosing to start here, with this topic, is because thankfully minimalism is largely individual to the person or persons that practice it.
So what is minimalism? Is it the idea that you get rid of all you things, your worldly possessions as it were, and live with close to nothing? Maybe. Is it clearing your entire workspace so you can think better? Possibly. Is it wearing the same outfit every day so you don’t have to decide what to wear? For some people. Or perhaps it is none of those.
If you are confused so was I. When I chose to embark on the path of “less” years ago my idea was that by eliminating clutter from my life, as in actual possessions, it would free me up to place more value on the things I did own. And it worked, and it is also where you can stop if you want. So to make things more clear I can give you a bit of a timeline. Years ago I discovered two gentlemen Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus who had a documentary on Netflix aptly named “Minimalism.” The idea that two gentlemen who were for all intents and purposes at the top of their game who chose to give up so much was appealing to me. I don’t have everything by far but I certainly have a lot of metal clutter.
After watching the documentary I took a look around my house, which isn’t that cluttered honestly, and made a choice that I was going to remove things that simply took up space. At that time we had moved in about a year ago and still had yet to purchase a book shelf. So all of the books we had accumulated for the last 8 years were shoved in every nook and cranny in the house. I simply love books, and had somewhat of an attachment to keeping them, but they certainly weren’t giving my life any value. I knew that if I sold them they wouldn’t potentially give someone else’s life value. So we went down to our local book exchange store and dropped off over a 100 books. Some we were able to sell, some we simply donated. Interestingly after wards we used the money to buy the children more books which gave their life value.
Did this simple act of removing one thing completely alter my life for the better, no not really. But that isn’t really the point. Books were just a material thing I was holding on to. It was just a symbol for mental and physical clutter in my life. So over the next few month I started opening up storage bins, cabinets, and closets, to find those long lost forgotten things that no longer really served a purpose but I held on to. Now that made and impact in my life.
The final thing I did away with was choice. This one will probably be harder for some people to get on board with but it was one of the best things I did for myself. Anyone that works night shift for any amount of time like myself will find that your brain operates in a constant state of fog. What is easy for some to remember is not so easy for us. One day I was looking at my wardrobe for something to wear and after about 5 minutes of staring at my clothes I still hadn’t decided. This might seem trivial to some, but for me I don’t like wasting my time on something as simple as what to wear. So I started doing some research on the “minimalism” answer to clothing. and I stumbled across the idea of the capsule wardrobe. The idea behind it is to widdle your entire wardrobe down to basically an essential set of clothing that covers most of your basic needs; work, the gym, social outings. I took this one step further and found a singular outfit and bought seven of them. Like I said probably not for everyone. But I now have an outfit for work, and outfit working out, and an outfit for social outings. I walk into my closet, I grab almost blindly an outfit and I put it on. We make thousands of large and small choices every day. Some we aren’t even consciously aware of. If I could eliminate at least one choice from my mental clutter I could achieve some amount of freedom. Does this drastically change my life? Maybe not. But I certainly took the philosophy of eliminating choices and applied it everywhere I could in life. That is why we create habits and routines, so we don’t have to think about something.
Find what minimalism can be in your life. It certainly won’t hurt.