Minimalism is …

I’m often asked what Minimalism is. In honesty its going to be slightly different for everyone.

For me, minimalism is :

“ Removing all of the unnecessary from my life, leaving me only that which I value most.”

I see it as a means of keeping life simple, remembering that you don’t need to be like everyone else, and that life is about experiences and not about things. For me, above all its given me freedom and happiness.

So in that I would say:

  • Minimalism is : Removing all of the unnecessary possessions, things I neither need nor use. Doing away with clutter and living on less.
  • Minimalism is: Ignoring distractions that have little value or reward, such as not idly watching television.
  • Minimalism is: Concentrating on only the things I’m passionate about.
  • Minimalism is: Saying no, to commitments of little consequence.
  • Minimalism is: Allowing me to spend time with those people who’s company I enjoy and whose values I respect.
  • Minimalism is: Creating freedom to concentrate on actions of value to myself and others.

It perhaps sounds a little selfish doesn’t it. Its not the first time I’ve been labeled as such. I found that at first I worried a little that this was true. Having looked at the busy lives of others, and in honesty who isn’t busy filling every waking hour. Its been said that, you cannot be all things to all people. In my past life, I took on far too much, to the point of being told its not good for my health. In some ways, I was forced to simplify, become minimalistic.

So what would I say is not minimalist:

  • Minimalism is not: Living with less than 100 things.
  • Minimalism is not: Living in a white roomed house with white furniture.
  • Minimalism is not: Living a nomadic lifestyle, wandering the globe.
  • Minimalism is not: Giving up your car.
  • Minimalism is not: Doing all of the above overnight.

For me, being a minimalist is work in progress. I started in 2009, and as you’ll see from some of my recent posts, I’m still reducing the number of possessions I have. Its taken me almost half a century to gather up all this stuff, to get rid of it in a couple of years I still find challenging, especially the things where there’s an emotional attachment. However, as a result of simplifying, removing the unnecessary, and concentrating on the things I value, I do feel a great sense of freedom, and I’m certainly happier for doing so. Its been a liberating experience.

What is minimalism for you ? Only you can decide, and everyone’s view will be different. As long as the principles remain the same, who am I to tell you what to think, ignore everyone, do what makes you happy and free.

Why not take a look at what some of the other Minimalists think.

The Minimalists

Joshua Becker

Leo Babauta