What Is Minimalism, Anyway?

A minimalist lifestyle begins with the best of intentions, but many people don’t understand what the word “minimalism” means. They think that to be a minimalist you have to get rid of everything you own and live out of a backpack; that it’s somehow weird or negative. But really, minimalism is just about living in the way that is best for you, whether you own one thing or one thousand. Yes, minimalism typically starts with a paring down of material possessions, but you only have to take it as far as you want to. Ideally, you would be able to look around your space and see only things that add value to your life. This could be because the things are useful, or because they are beautiful. That is entirely up to you! What adds value to your life may not do the same for someone else, and vice versa.

The point of minimalism is not to have an aesthetically pleasing home, although that often comes as a result. Rather, the point of minimalism is to spend less time buying, thinking about, and tending to things, and more time on what is most important to you. That could be spending time with your family, working on your health, charitable giving, or any number of other things. Whatever it is, the less time you spend focusing on objects, the more time you will have to devote to what truly matters. And the easier it will be to keep your house clean!

I hope I have been able to clear up some of the misconceptions about minimalism, and perhaps inspired you to consider what minimalism could do for your own life. Don’t you wish you had more time, more energy, and less stuff? All you have to do to get started is look around you. Find one thing you don’t need (maybe you don’t even want it) and give it to a friend, relative, or local charity. Repeat this process until you can look around yourself and say: “All of these things add value to my life. They are worth my time and attention. And they don’t get in the way of what matters to me.” Then, take advantage of and enjoy the extra time and freedom you have created for yourself; you’re a minimalist in the making!

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