Minimal Girl In A Material World
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Health and Wellness

Minimal Girl In A Material World

Thoughts on living life with less stuff.

Minimal Girl In A Material World
Caroline Mansgoing

I'll be the first to admit that Madonna was absolutely right when she said that we are living in a material world. I know that I spend more time than I probably should looking at things to buy online: clothes, makeup, books, clothes, one of those weird infomercial gadgets that probably won't work but that I want to try anyway, more clothes... the list goes on and on, really. It's not because I genuinely need another tank top or a new mauve lipstick (God knows I already own six different lipsticks all in the exact same shade). It's because I have the subconscious feeling that if I just buy one more thing, my life will be better for it.

There is an unspoken understanding that more is, well, more. We are taught that having more clothes, a bigger house, lots of cars, and the newest technology — in short, a lot of things — will make us happier. We feel that without those things, our lives are just a little bit less adequate.

Minimalism is the reaction to the "more" phenomenon of materialism. When I say "minimalism," I'm sure that most people will think of it in terms of the aesthetic. You know what I'm talking about: a crisp white (and very uncomfortable-looking) couch in a stark white room with a white coffee table with a single book sitting in the center of it. There's some strange modern art piece on the wall and an oversized vase filled with painstakingly arranged black twigs next to a fake fireplace.

But minimalism is also a lifestyle movement centered around the idea that everything in your life should exist to genuinely enrich it. Otherwise, it is a waste of your time, money, space, and thought. It seems silly at first, but think about it: can you say that everything you've ever bought has brought more joy, more purpose, or more productivity into your life? Exactly.

I started trying to implement minimalism in my life in June of last year. I was moving into a new house and decided that it was time to let go of a lot of my physical belongings. I spent a weekend combing through everything I owned, packing away the things I genuinely wanted to keep and that made me happy, and putting the rest of it in a bag for Goodwill. Now, before buying anything new, I ask myself if it is 1. worth the money, 2. really going to make my life easier/happier/better, 3. something I genuinely love (this is especially important to me when it comes to clothes), and 4. something that adds to, rather than subtracts from, my life.

In trying to live a more minimal life, I've discovered that I feel freer with fewer possessions. It's almost counterintuitive, but having fewer things means I don't have to make as many choices. And when I do make choices, like what to wear in the morning, my options are all things that I love and know I will enjoy using. I don't worry as much about spending money on things and, instead, focus on either saving it or using it to pay for experiences that will mean more to me than any material thing ever could. Most importantly, living a more minimalist life has given me more power to make choices about what I let into my life on a fundamental level.

At the end of the day, a minimalist lifestyle isn't for everyone, but it is worth trying to see if it works for you. I'd encourage you to give it a shot. Start small: go through your closet or your desk or your bookshelf and let go of just one thing that you don't need. I guarantee you too will feel better for it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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