How I Became a Minimalist

Something I've become extremely passionate about over the last year is minimalism. What exactly is minimalism? Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists Podcast said it best:

Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.
— Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

My obsession with minimalism began after reading Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. After spending most of my college years daydreaming about being able to fit all my belongings (besides furniture, of course) in my Honda CR-V, I knew I needed to learn more about living with less. Around this time, I also developed an infatuation with tiny houses. I loved the idea of living with only the essentials, in a small (less than 400 sq ft!), affordable, cozy space that could easily be transported around the country. 

Kondo's book completely changed my relationship with material items. Her practice centers around a simple concept: If something you own doesn't spark feelings of joy, get rid of it. Over the span of several weeks, I evaluated everything in my apartment and donated/trashed two dozen garbage bags full of stuff. Stuff I didn't need, stuff I didn't use, stuff I didn't love. How did I feel when the process was complete? Like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

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Modern culture has bought into the lie that the good life is found in accumulating things—in possessing as much as possible. They believe that more is better and have inadvertently subscribed to the idea that happiness can be purchased at a department store.

But they are wrong. Minimalism brings freedom from the all-consuming passion to possess. It steps off the treadmill of consumerism and dares to seek happiness elsewhere. It values relationships, experiences, and soul-care. And in doing so, it finds life.
— Joshua Becker // Be More With Less

Many people think minimalism is boring. They imagine bare walls, an empty wardrobe, and a single set of silverware. But the reality is so much more fulfilling.

This is a misconception about minimalism — that it’s necessarily monk-like, empty, boring, sterile. Not at all. Well, it can be, if you go in that direction, but I don’t advocate that flavor of minimalism. Instead, we are clearing away all but the most essential things — to make room for that which gives us the most joy. Clear away the distractions so we can create something incredible. Clear away all the obligations so we can spend time with loved ones. Clear away the noise so we can concentrate on inner peace, on spirituality (if we wish), on our thinking. As a result, there is more happiness, peace, and joy, because we’ve made room for these things.
— Leo Babatua

The amazing thing about minimalism is that it begins as a journey to declutter your material belongings, but it evolves into something even more meaningful. Over time, minimalism becomes a lifestyle. After organizing my apartment and only keeping things that brought me joy, I began to crave joy and simplicity in every area of my life. I became more intentional with my health. Exercise became an integral part of my week, and I adopted a clean, healthy diet that significantly improved my chronic health issues and digestive problems. I dedicated more time and money to self-care. I took strides to become debt free, unencumbered by monthly credit card payments that resulted from buying too much stuff I didn't need. I realized I didn't want to be held down by toxic friendships and relationships. Instead, I wanted to surround myself with uplifting, positive people who shared my values and interests. Social media began to feel like a burden, and I simplified how many platforms I used, how much I shared on them, and how many apps I had on my iPhone. These new habits have been consistent in my life for the past year, and as time goes on, they become even more ingrained in who I am as a person. Right now, I feel more "me" than ever before. I'm less anxious, less stressed, and I feel happier and more joyous. Minimalism has given me an invaluable opportunity to discover who I am, what my values are, where my priorities lie, and how I want to live the rest of my life.

If you're interested in minimalism, I have a few recommendations for you to check out! I'll be updating this often, as I'm constantly discovering great resources that center around living a slow, simple life.

PODCASTS

BOOKS

WEBSITES

YOUTUBE VIDEOS

If you enjoyed reading this and want to see similar posts in the future, let me know! I'm thinking about doing a minimalism series and diving deeper into the world of living with less.