Róisín Nestor looks into the topic of minimalism, the benefits of this lifestyle and shares some tips on how to do it yourself.
The world is noisy. We see 5,000 advertisements every day. We are told we need to buy things to be happy. We fill our lives with clutter and complain when we miss out on the important things.
Approximately 60% of private consumption comes from the 12% of the world’s population who live in Western Europe and North America.
But amongst these staggering consumer percentages are minimalists; people who want to live a meaningful life with less.
There are no exact rules to living as a minimalist. Everyone’s experience of minimalism will be different depending on their situation, whether you’re a parent of three or a twenty four year old travelling the world.
In short, minimalism means you don’t buy things you don’t need and you don’t store things you don’t use. You give less meaning to material possessions and focus on what’s important to you.
Josh Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus describe minimalism as, “a tool to eliminate life’s excess, focus on the essentials, and find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”
Josh and Ryan are two American guys who left their corporate jobs, fancy cars and huge houses behind when they discovered it wasn’t bringing them happiness. They now run the successful blog theminimalists.com, write books, produce podcasts and mentor people.
Josh and Ryan share simple minimalism tips that anyone can follow. They recommend getting rid of everything that doesn’t serve a purpose or bring you joy. They suggest scanning paper and old photos instead of storing them physically.
There’s also digital clutter to deal with. Organise your documents and folders once a month, delete photos, declutter your social media feeds and unsubscribe from emails you don’t read. Are 20% of your emails off a site you’ve bought from once? Thanks but no thanks. Technology should be used as a tool to help improve your life.
There’s plenty of benefits of minimalism. When you change your frame of mind, you’re no longer wasting money buying things you don’t need. You can also earn money by selling your unused items on sites like Depop, Done Deal and eBay. You can save up and spend your money on experiences rather than possessions!
Less possessions means less time cleaning and looking for things and more time to spend with your loved ones. A clean space is also proven to help you work harder and be more productive. Overall, it’s a more stress-free lifestyle.
When you follow a minimalistic lifestyle, there are also added benefits for the wider world. Hyper-consumerism is negatively impacting the environment, human rights and our physical and mental health. Choosing to consume less or consume more carefully, means we are limiting the use of natural resources and less waste is being produced.
Living a minimalistic lifestyle seems to make a lot of sense, but it can be hard for people to change their habits. Joshua Becker of becomingminimalist.com lists on his blog the many reasons why we buy stuff we don’t need.
We are influenced by advertising, we think it will make us feel happier and more secure, we hope to impress people and we are a little bit selfish.
While minimalism could be dismissed as just another hipster notion, the positive benefits shown by people who practice it make it a lifestyle change that should be given serious consideration.