Should I become a minimalist?
To be honest, until recently (i.e. 1 week ago), I thought a minimalist is someone who enjoys minimal design. Someone who chooses to own only very few, but very expensive things for aesthetic reasons. I mean, there are tons of definitions and variations, but minimalism, in the sense of simple living, has nothing to do with aesthetics. So, what the heck is minimalism?
Minimalism is about removing everything that doesn't add value to your life.
And like any condensed definition, this one too sounds catchy, but vague.
So, let's give you an example.
If you don't need and don't use 10 hand bags, get rid of them. (Sell, gift, donate.) Keep the one you actually like and use. However, if you do use and love these 10 hand bags. Awesome. Keep them. So, I guess, minimalism isn't only about getting rid of stuff, it's about mindful living (sorry for bringing up that trendy mindfulness thing). Don't buy something new just because it is cute. Buy it because you really need it / you will use it (on a daily basis even?) / you don't have anything similar / etc. Be intentional - not impulsive - about your purchases.
(Minimalism isn't only about material things, it's also about removing toxic people, unhealthy relationships, ...just clutter of any kind from your life. Your energy and time should only go towards things that are important to you. However, in this post, I will focus more on the materialistic side of minimalism.)
So, the tiny little problem is that in our society being successful/rich equals accumulating stuff. A high living standard equals a big house with a lot of expensive things in it. If you have that, you made it. So we are basically constantly told that we have to buy stuff if we want to feel good about life and ourselves. Yes, another pair of boots "because I can"/"because I deserve it". I mean, hey, whatever works for you. ... And I did think for a long time that this works for me, too. But it doesn't.
I like being free. The moment something clicked in me was when I realised that I was not acting as a free person, I was acting as someone who was totally buying into marketing and into society's expectations of what a "successful" person needs to do (=buying loads of stuff).
It's hard to live in a tiny apartment with only a few belongings and NOT being seen by society as a total failure. Who lives like this voluntarily? Because every human being naturally aspires to a big house, a big car, big and expensive vacations and stuff and stuff and stuff, right? Well, I think I reached a point where I don't believe in this, any more. Why does this have to be everyone's life goal?
I'm just sick and tired of this stupid race of more and bigger and better.
I want less, smaller and worse (lol, NO not worse, I'll stick with "better", but in a different sense).
So, should I become a minimalist?
I still don't know what a minimalist really is. But I do want to become a minimalist in the sense of quitting this race of buying and buying and buying stuff. I want my purchases to be intentional. However, I probably won't become a minimalist in the sense of getting rid of stuff. (#ZeroWaste, dude!!) I already declutter quite regularly, but I also try to use up stuff, reuse things, etc. So, I kinda need to find a balance here. Honestly, in this early stage, there's a bit of a trade-off between minimalism and zero waste, but I guess they will work together fine in the future.