Minimalism is a form of living that most people have heard of and often talk of plans to try it, but very few actually follow through with their brief intentions and instead continue to live life as they always have, with an ever-building collection of possessions. While there is, of course, nothing wrong with living life as you are used to, the main reason that people choose not to follow through with the switch is that it can be incredibly daunting to think of getting rid of most of your belongings. In this article, I hope to provide some more information regarding what minimalism means, what the benefits are, and what the disadvantages are.
What does it mean to be minimalistic?
Firstly, let's look at what exactly it means to be minimalistic. A common misconception regarding the minimalist lifestyle is that it really only involves selling your things, resulting in a near-empty living space with no other real changes to one's lifestyle. In reality, minimalism goes far deeper than that and is really about living with less overall. While a part of this does mean living with fewer possessions, it also means to live with less debt, less stress, and overall living life based on experiences rather than physical possessions.
Now, obviously getting rid of debt is a lot easier said than done, but a few things that can help are selling unnecessary possessions and checking for unwanted recurring subscriptions that you may have forgotten about. There are also many other ways to help with debt that tie into a minimalistic living but the point I am really trying to get across here is that minimalism is not about how much stuff you have, it is about your mindset. Above all, it is important to focus on living a better life through experiences, freeing up your time and money from unnecessary possessions and services, and instead making memories, be it alone or with loved ones.
What are the benefits of being minimalistic?
There are many benefits of minimalism that work together to relieve stress and ease your mind in everyday life. Below is a list of the main benefits of a minimalistic lifestyle.
More money saved: Since you will only be accumulating and storing the essentials you will by default find yourself with fewer expenses and in turn, able to save more money overall. This allows you to really go out and chase real-life experiences rather than having the bulk of your hard-earned money drained towards frivolous possessions.
Less stress: Having fewer possessions does, in turn, lead to home life being significantly less stressful. Having less clutter around the house not only allows you to move around freely but also makes the place feel tidier, giving you a huge mental boost as opposed to having a home littered with odds and ends.
Easy cleaning: On the subject of having your home feel tidier, having fewer possessions also makes cleaning far easier since you no longer have as much to move around or just to clean in general.
Freedom: If you have ever moved house or apartment, then you will undoubtedly have felt the frustration that comes with it when you are hours into packing and you still have so many of your things strewn around the place. This is when lots of people wish they already lived a minimalistic life and for good reason. It’s simple, fewer belongings mean fewer things to move when the time comes, leading to an easier and far more pleasant experience.
Less environmental impact: Once again this comes down to simply having less. The less we buy, consume, and store, the smaller our carbon footprint meaning less damage to the environment.
What are the downsides of minimalism?
As with anything, minimalism is not perfect and, while the benefits are plentiful, there are a small number of downsides that you should consider before making such a drastic change to your life. With that being said, here are a few of the biggest disadvantages of living a minimalistic life.
Fewer possessions: Now you may be thinking that in the section above I hammered home the point of fewer possessions equals a better life, but while there are many positive points for owning less, there are also some negatives too. The most obvious one is that if you have less stuff, you might not have something handy when you need it. Take clothes, for example, living a limited wardrobe can reduce clutter and make laundry easy, but what if you have a bad week and your limited number of work clothes are either damaged or dirty? You don’t have anything to fall back on and while this is a very specific example, the overall idea applies to anything you may need in a pinch.
The beginning can be hard: While a minimalistic lifestyle is, in general, less stressful and allows you to more easily focus on life experiences, it can be tough to get started. Getting rid of the bulk of your possessions can be a daunting task that can, at least at first, cause more stress than it helps with as you may feel as though you are losing a part of yourself. This is one of the main reasons why it is important to be sure you want to go through with this lifestyle because once you get rid of your things it can be both hard and expensive to get them back.
It can be lonely: Having an emptier home is for many people a pleasure, but everyone is different, and some may find that the sight of their new clear home makes them feel lonely and isolated. This especially applies to anyone living alone so it is important that you consider this point before beginning to make the transition.
Hopefully, the information in this article has provided some insight into the minimalistic lifestyle in order to help you decide whether it is the right choice for you.