Minimalism: The concept
Buying less has crazy obvious implications for the environment. Less consumption = less production of new resources. (More on that later!)
But minimalism is more than what you do for the environment, it’s also what you do for yourself.
Minimalism is paring your life down to only what you need and what you love, free from the clutches of our obsessive consumer culture.
Minimalism is choosing to not use “things” to synthesise happiness and success. There is little on Earth you can own that gives you meaning and purpose. And minimalism means you focus only on those aspects of life that do.
For some people, this means throwing out all your possessions and moving to a cabin in the woods. For others, it just means a reassembling of priorities and a deeper appreciation for the important things.
For me, I want to rid myself of any distractions that limit the time I spend with what I love. For example, if I don’t love a wardrobe piece and wear it all the time, I’ll get rid of it. It doesn’t bring me joy or serve me in any way, so I don’t feel it belongs in my life anymore. I sell my good clothes on, donate what doesn’t sell, and throw out what’s damaged.
I also try to apply this to bringing new pieces into my wardrobe. I don’t always succeed because quitting shopping is hard, but I try. If it’s not on a pre-constructed list of things I’ve noticed I need, I’m not allowed to buy it. If it doesn’t go with the rest of my wardrobe, I’m not allowed to buy it. If it isn’t good quality for money and made ethically, I’m not allowed to buy it.
And most importantly, if I don’t have the money in my bank account right now, I will not buy it. (Do you really think debt brings you freedom or happiness?)
So that is a very brief overview of what I mean when I talk about minimalism. There are no rules in being a minimalist. You can be a large family who needs two cars just to transport all the people and possessions, or you can be Steve Jobs-esque and refuse to eat food or own furniture. Both ends of the spectrum can call themselves a minimalist if they so wish. What matters is that you cut the crap and limit wastage so you can focus only on what’s good.
(And what’s good is subject to interpretation.)