Minimalism is such a big part of my life, that I often forget it’s not common to everyone. But what is it anyway? How do you explain it to someone who is new to minimalism? Let’s start with the basics.
Minimalism is keeping the minimum.
That sounds obvious. And it really is that obvious. But it also sounds drastic, which it’s actually not. Let me explain: Nothing is drastic if you don’t have to deprive yourself. Minimalism is not about deprivation. You don’t have to give op anything important. The minimum is everything that serves a purpose to you right now. That could be your laptop you need for your work as a copy writer. Right now, it is a necessity to make money to survive. It could also be something a little less important like boxing gloves you need for practise. In that case, it’s needed for your weekly fitness routine that brings you great joy and is good for your health. Sure, You don’t need to go to boxing class, but since it serves two important purposes, joy and health, we count this as a need for which the boxing gloves have a purpose. Something necessary can also be something mental or maybe even someone. I will get back to that another time. For now, keep in mind that minimalism is not (just) about physical stuff.
The concept is pretty simple as you can see: Get rid of the excess. It’s putting it to practise that makes it somewhat difficult. ‘Cause in order to get rid of the excess you first have to define it. No, there is no ready concrete answer of what excess is. That’s because what’s important is a personal choice.
And this is where it gets difficult.
In order to know what your excess is, you have to know who you are. You have to know what you like, what you stand for, what you fight for, what you believe in, what you want to and so forth. When you know that, you know what to focus on and thus what you need in order to do that. The rest goes out the window. No, I’m not trying to sell you an overpriced self-help book that will collect dust after a false attempt of changing everything in your life with one little trick. You don’t have to change anything actually. Minimalism only helps you to figure out what’s worth your attention. That could mean that you want to change some things. But it could also mean that you realize that you are exactly where you want to be with just one difference: You don’t get easily distracted anymore. No fomo. No fear. No worries. No marketed self-doubt. No false business. No ………. [please fill in the blank]. Sounds great right?
But how do I get to know myself?
Good question. The answer to this is: with minimalism. The tool to get to know yourself IS minimalism. Wait what!? You just said that I need to know myself first to do minimalism, not the other way around. Good point! Minimalism is the tool, the goal, and the process. You do minimalism to get to know you to do minimalism. That whole process is a vicious cycle. The more you know yourself, the easier it is to let loose of the unnecessary, the more you know yourself.
I can understand that. To be honest: Explaining minimalism is like explaining an orgasm. It’s impossible to explain to someone what an orgasm is and how it feels like. But when you have one, you know! Translation: Minimalism becomes a state of mind to free yourself from everything you are not. But you have to get momentum first. You have to feel it. Until then, you can start with challenges to trigger momentum. The most obvious challenge is to get rid of you unnecessary physical stuff.
Toss dem stuff!