What Is Minimalism? A Beginner's Guide.

Mt Ruapehu New Zealand's Largest Active Volcano

Who better to provide a definition of minimalism than The Minimalists themselves. They define it as,
"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." 

The Minimalist Vegan defines it, "as the process of identifying what is essential in your life and eliminating the rest. Less is more." Sounds great, right? 

In the modern world we live in, we have so much stuff and we place so much value on this stuff. Think about the things in your life. Do they make you truly happy? Do they bring meaning to your life? If it doesn't make you happy or bring value to your life then maybe you'd be better off without it. This is true for many aspects of your life from physical items, relationships, careers, goals etc. - get rid of what doesn't make you happy and pursue the things that do. By decluttering yourself of these things, you are allowing yourself more room to focus on the things that are important to you, allowing you to live a more meaningful life. 

Why Become a Minimalist. 

For me, minimalism has allowed me to focus on the things that are important to me when I was feeling a bit lost. I began my minimalist journey when I moved from living in a one bedroom flat with my boyfriend to one single bedroom in a houseshare, whilst my boyfriend was travelling. It made me realise how much stuff I owned and I had no idea what to do with it all. I felt claustrophobic and trapped by how much stuff I had but I didn't feel like I could get rid of it.

I started listening to the podcast by The Minimalists and slowly but surely, I began to declutter my life. I realised that I am clinging onto things for no good reason or "just in case" - three deadly words in the world of minimalism. 

Decluttering was a great thing to do as I too was preparing to pack up my life to go travelling and the podcast really gave me guidance of what I wanted to keep, what added value to my life and what really didn't. If you too are feeling slightly overwhelmed by your possessions, consumerism and feel like your life is cluttered, then minimalism might be for you. 
Mt Ruapehu New Zealand's Largest Active Volcano

Where to Start.

If you're ready to just jump in start to look at the things that you own and decide if they bring meaning to your life. If they don't add value then get rid of it. If you know you have a lot of clothes, start there or if you love make up that's where you should begin.

I would recommend watching the Netflix documentary Minimalism by, you guessed it, The Minimalists and listen to their podcast too. They also have a great range of online resources on their website to help you out. I would also recommend Madeleine Olivia's guide and Youtube video. 

Top Tip: Don't just throw items in the bin, as they will end up in landfill and this is not good for the environment! Sell them or send them to charity! 

"But What If I Want to Keep Things?"

If something really adds value to your life then you can of course keep it. For some this might be books. If the books really make you happy and provide you with a meaningful life then keep them. Minimalism is by no means telling you to get rid of everything. Each person's idea of minimalism will be different as we all have different passions. One person will love books, another will see it as clutter than can be simplified through using a Kindle. There are naturally going to be things that you want to keep because they are what you are passionate about and that is okay! 

Minimalism has really helped me in the past 6 months, particularly it has helped me to pack my life into a backpack and focus on what truly makes me happy. I am now starting to find out what adds true value to my life. 

Have you tried minimalism? Tell me your minimalist story!

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