“Greed is good.” Gordon Gekko intoned this selfish credo in the money-grabbing movie of an era, Wall Street, and unfortunately this ‘more is more’ philosophy didn’t stay restricted to the silver screen. Through one way or another, society has been fed this neo-capitalist dogma for decades and, just like Michael Douglas’ rapacious character, we’ve discovered that it can lead to an empty life full of things that never seem to be enough (although most of us haven’t required 10 years in an orange jumpsuit to catch on). After focusing too heavily on materialism and the accumulation of objects, our society is starting to see a switch back to the days when people were taught to simply appreciate what they had. Now, with the advent of the minimalist movement, we’re beginning to see why having less is liberating. Read on for tips on how to achieve a minimalist lifestyle that will be good for both your wallet and your mental health!
The Minimalist Movement Takes Root
As with many current trends, the minimalist movement was sparked by millennials. This generation decided to stray from their parents’ propensity to indulge in overconsumption. With climate change and sustainability in the zeitgeist, more and more people are embracing the eco-friendly ethos. Lifestyle decisions are also based on the state of the economy – recent generations are less financially stable than those that preceded them, which means that young people today are less likely to make big purchases, eschewing buying homes, expensive furniture, and large wardrobes with designer brands simply because it’s not financially feasible. But aside from the money aspect, we’ve come to realise that in today’s tumultuous and sometimes scary world it might be in everyone’s best interest to focus more on buying things that make us happy, such as exciting travel plans or fun experiences. These adventures create lasting memories, which are more important than tangible items that we won’t need or use in a few years.
Donating items you don’t wear often can be key to achieving a minimalist lifestyle.
The Minimalist Movement’s Hero
People around the globe have become even more invested in the minimalist movement because of their obsession with Marie Kondo. Kondo wrote a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2014, which described her ‘KonMari’ method of using organising and decluttering strategies to help simplify the home. Kondo encourages people to pick up items in their home and determine if they ‘spark joy’. If they do, you can find a place for it in your home; if it doesn’t, the item must be discarded or donated. Her book has sold millions of copies and has been published in more than 30 countries. In January 2019, Netflix released a new series called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, which introduced Kondo’s methods to even more people around the globe. Each episode features Kondo visiting a home in the US and helping the family to reorganise and move towards a more minimalist lifestyle. Her growing influence has been evident throughout the world, especially in the US where donations to local charities and donation centres have skyrocketed. It seems that most people can easily get behind the message of getting rid of unnecessary items and working towards both simplifying their homes and their lives in general.
The Benefits of Minimalism
There are several different ways in which you can benefit from living a more minimalist lifestyle and one of the biggest advantages applies to your mental health. Focusing less on consumerism and more on creating joyful experiences in your life can lead you to feel less pressure to buy more and measure up to others around you in terms of material possessions. Avoiding this pressure can create a less stressful vibe in your life. The bonus is that you might end up worrying less about finances (since you probably won’t be spending as much on extraneous items) and can funnel your money towards meaningful experiences that you’ll treasure forever. Moreover, having less stuff in your home can also create a more peaceful environment for you and your family. You’ll be surprised how much the clutter in your home can create clutter in your mind. Getting back to basics can deliver a well-needed boost to your general mood. You can simplify your life in smaller yet equally helpful ways too, such as creating a capsule wardrobe of minimalist clothing. Having just a few items that you can mix and match (instead of owning a large number of clothes that you probably don’t even wear) can make getting dressed much quicker and easier every morning. Do you think Steve Jobs spent hours agonising over which black turtleneck to wear? Simplifying your wardrobe can cut out a daily stress that is totally unnecessary…now go and invent an iPhone that has a decent battery life!
Go minimalist by curating your book collection.
The Best Tips for a Minimalist Lifestyle
So, how can you actually achieve a minimalist-yet-practical lifestyle? One of the easiest steps you can take is to carefully go through your closet and determine what you need and what you don’t. There may be some items that you’ve never worn or have worn only once or twice – these can definitely go in the donation pile. However, some items that are multifunctional, like a minimalist waterproof coat women’s style, will be ideal for both fashionableness and practicality. Once you’ve gone through your closet, you can probably refine your wardrobe specifically to include pieces that best suit your minimalist goals. From there, you can declutter the rest of your home with the same strategy – holding onto valuable or useful items and discarding the rest. You can also take a minimalist approach by streamlining the design of your home; look objectively at your furniture and see if there are any items you might be able to get rid of for a more sleek, refined atmosphere.
Remember: it’s totally okay if you’re not ready to completely overhaul your life. Starting the path towards minimalism can be as simple as getting rid of an extra chair in your living room or donating some of the books that have been piling up on your shelf. Taking small steps towards a less materialistic life can still provide you with a more zen attitude and a less stressed frame of mind. Just allow yourself to lean into ‘less is more’ and you’ll start to find that it’s easier to appreciate more of what life has to offer when you’re not so focused on buying up everything around you. If in doubt, let Marie Kondo guide the way!