What Is Minimalism?

What Is Minimalism?

Living with less to gain more.
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I started with the storage closet in my room. I grabbed two paper sacks, one for trash and one for giveaway. I went from top to bottom on the shelves, methodically going through every item and easily tossing one after the other in one of the bags. I moved to the closet for my clothes once that one was thoroughly wiped clean of clutter.

From left to right, I pulled out the sweaters, blouses, jackets, and jeans that I never wore. The paper sack was already overflowing from the prior closet’s purge. A large lump of mismatched colors and fabrics formed in the center of my room which left behind a collection of dangling white and metal hangers. I finished by fishing out the unneeded items in my drawers. I threw away old socks with no mate, I donated old shorts that no longer fit.

When I finally freed up two drawers, I bagged up the clothes and shoved them in the trunk of my car. My room was emptier, but I felt lighter.

Maybe I did this because it’s a new year or I had just returned from three weeks of extensive travel. Perhaps, it can be labeled as “spring cleaning.” Whatever it was, it was needed. Getting rid of “excess” is needed. I tried to picture my closet, but I failed in remembering what exactly was inside.

I’ve always been intrigued by minimalism. Don’t look up minimalism and click images. Google only pulls up pictures of “nothingness” and that’s not very comforting. No, my room isn’t empty like the online images show.

I still have my bed with pillows and blankets. I still have a desk and a chair, and pens, and pencils. I still have pictures on the walls and clothes in my closet. What I don’t have is "excess." The minimalist mindset differs from average consumer’s mindset. Society tells us to consume as much as possible. Shopping is good, buy more, it makes you look better and hey, it even helps out the economy.

Minimalism allows you to focus on what you value most. Material possessions are only material, easily replaced, easily destroyed. Becoming minimalist doesn’t mean you just get rid of everything you own.

Instead, it means finding out what you truly value in your life and gaining the most value from that as possible. Yes, you are required to give away some of your possessions, but you gain more value in the things you already have. Take this idea a step further, and think of ways you could purge yourself from unnecessary things that aren’t material: actions, thoughts, people.

Minimalism leads to a more meaningful life. For more information, you can refer to Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus and their website on living minimalist.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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He Was Too Worried About The Future That He Forgot To Live In The Present

I just wish he could be present, even when everyone around us is in a rush.

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I know this guy. . . or maybe I don't because he's always changing. He's always on the go. He never sits down. He never takes a break. He's so focused on his future and all of the obstacles he has to overcome to get there, that I think he forgot to live in the now.

And it would be selfish of me to say, "Forget the future! Worry about today!" because in the long run, our today's are building our future too. It's all a little messy, and it's all a little complicated. . . but there has to be a balance.

I wish he would take the chance to get to know those around him. Enjoy the simple things in life every once in a while and quit holding back because he doesn't know where he's going to end up.

There's a difference between letting your future possess you and letting your future shape you. We're all on the same boat at this stage - unsure. We don't know what we want, we don't know who we'll become, we don't even know what we're really working for. Yeah, some of us have ideas and expectations about our futures but the reality of life is that we don't know what life is going to hit us with. We just have to be okay with a different tomorrow.

There's a lot I don't know about him. There's a lot I wish I knew. Thing is, I've accepted that I won't. Our time is limited here, and although he may stay here for the extra schooling he needs, he'll be even more focused then than he is now.

Throw away your responsibilities just once. It doesn't have to be every night or every week - but give it a shot. See where life takes you when you aren't worried about the future for just one second.

Life is neat and while some of us are so glued to our technology and social media, others of us are taking in the moments as they come. He may be looking down at books and writing assignments, but if he were to look up for just one second he could see how much he's missing out on.

I know he's going to get where he wants to be someday, I don't doubt that. I just wish he could let others in his life on his process of getting there. And if he were to ever stumble upon this and know this is exactly about him, I just want him to know can say hi. He can talk to me.

You meet people, you set different expectations, you have new experiences.

You focus on your studies for four years and then you continue them or you finally begin life. Don't rush, don't wear yourself out. In the end, I just wish he could be present, even when everyone around us is in a rush.

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