I recently watched a documentary about Minimalism and living as a Minimalist. Not sure what that is? Neither did I before I watched it. Here, let me help pull back the curtains. Minimalism is defined as:
- A movement in sculpture and painting which arose in the 1950s, characterized by the use of simple, massive forms
- An avant-garde movement in music characterized by the repetition of very short phrases which change gradually, producing a hypnotic effect
- Deliberate lack of decoration or adornment in style or design
Actually, as I look at the definitions, they're not that helpful. But at least you can gleam a little bit of what it's all about. Essentially the documentary that I watched (Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things) examines the lives of Minimalist's and the moments throughout their life that led them to adopt this emerging lifestyle.
What is this lifestyle you ask? Minimalism is the art of living with less. Less clutter, less distraction and less useless consumer products that provide shallow surface gratification. It's about stripping away the things in life we own but don't use and exchanging them for items and objects that we see real value in. It's not a fad either. Minimalism is an genuine way of living, perhaps even authentic. If you're like me and are constantly on the move then it can lend a hand. However simply getting rid of all those possessions that no longer bring you enjoyment isn't the goal of Minimalism.
Minimalism is about freedom.
Freedom from addiction, freedom from obsession, freedom from guilt, freedom from the way we've boxed ourselves in to leading a consumerist lifestyle without even knowing it. Ok, perhaps on some level we're aware of it. But by truly cherishing what you have you learn to appreciate your "things" much more. I'm not against possessions. I'm against using possessions to fill a void that may be left by a bad breakup, death of a family member, or even the loss of a pet.
Interested in finding out more? How bout you put the theory behind Minimalism into action and see if it works for you first. Next time you're looking to clear out the closet or discard old belongings, pick each item up and hold it in your hands. If it brings you joy keep it. If not, off to the salvos it goes.
Want to find out more about how real Minimalists live? Check out Colin Wright, Joshua Beker or watch this piece on SBS by Andy Park.