What Is Minimalism?

Most of us have probably heard the term ‘minimalism’ or ‘minimalist’ at some point in the last few years. For some, it appears as a ‘fad’ that may involve obsessive decluttering or owning barely anything. However, minimalism can be tweaked to the individual and their desires. As a result, it’s actually very broad, making minimalism benefits attainable for everyone. The OG Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus describe it as finding freedom.

And I truly agree with this. It might be hard to fathom immediately, but once you experience such minimalism, you’ll know. Therefore, minimalism transcends into a state of mind. It helps you live with more intention, make better decisions, and ultimately keeping what serves you and brings your joy (experiences, time, physical space for creativity, items that you regularly use), and letting go of what doesn’t (e.g. certain people, objects, thoughts).

In a study from the American Psychological Association (APA), it was suggested that people are spending more, owning more, but not acquiring more happiness.

This is where minimalism is relevant. Contrary to popular beliefs, minimalism isn’t about having less, but actually making room for more. More joy, more time, more memories. And allowing all of those things to be of the highest quality. Minimalism is a shift in mindset, whereby you simply won’t desire things that don’t serve you anymore.

Minimalism Benefits

  • You may save money by not spending on unnecessary things
  • A clear physical space can aid a clear mind (particularly your workspace)
  • You won’t need to clean up so often, or for so long
  • You’ll reduce waste by not buying so much e.g. using a re-usable coffee cup, and not buying as many packaged items
  • You can develop your passions by spending time and money on what is most important to you
  • Physically, you’ll be able to find things easier
  • It reminds you what is important e.g. focusing on quality relationships, your career, self-improvement, having fun without distractions
  • It makes you appreciate what you do have – the Japanese term ‘Mottainai’ refers to appreciating all objects and using them to their very end to avoid waste

My Journey

I think we’ve all experienced once in our life buying something and never using/wearing it again. Particularly in high school, this was a regular occurrence for me. By no means on purpose. But young impressionable girls and strategically marketed advertisements make shopping and the latest trends very appealing.

As the years went on, there was a time when I just felt overwhelmed by the amount of clothes I had. It wasn’t that I owned heaps, but I owned enough that my wardrobe got messy easily. I couldn’t always find/see what I was after, and I’d try on all my clothes for a party or day out with friends and not be satisfied. It reminded me that happiness and growth comes from within. That buying more and more clothes won’t improve my self-confidence. Those inner traits require inner work, not materialistic objects.

So to start, I tried decluttering my clothes. I didn’t get rid of a lot, but I kept chipping away at it every few months. I found clothes that I had when I was younger (that obviously at 8 years old I wasn’t in control or thinking of decluttering). From this, I was able to remove clothing that didn’t serve me anymore. I got rid of shorts I had been keeping that I hoped to fit into one day, but I realised I had grown taller anyway and no matter what those shorts wouldn’t fit. I got rid of the things that were essentially holding me back.

Minimalism, The Journey - Fit by Kat
Photo by Alin Luna

Minimalism & I In The Present

My now clean and clutter-free wardrobe led me to exploring minimalism in other areas of life. I love my current relationship with minimalism. I do not feel constricted. I’m rather focusing on making decisions with intention and being honest with myself.

For example, I still buy new workout clothes and equipment because being physically active is literally my life (I study Sport Management and want it to become a career).

My lack of spending on material objects has allowed me to put that money towards greater experiences. This includes getting coffee with friends, paying for yoga classes, and investing in this blog.

Final Thoughts

Minimalism is about creating more, not having less. It is a reminder that things aren’t scarce. Things will always be around, but people and experiences may not be. Minimalism helps you consciously think about your actions and live intentionally. It lets you be in control of your life. Minimalism benefits may differ for everyone. Continue to learn about what is important to you and have greater focus on that.