A few months ago I came across minimalism when researching ways in which to reduce the waste we produce while travelling. It seemed so simple – waste less by consuming less in the first place. Of course I had heard of minimalism before but in my mind it was a boring monochrome world filled with boring monochrome things. But minimalism means something different to everyone – an art movement, fashion, a lifestyle. For some people it is monochrome, it’s having simple surroundings that are less distracting, that take less time to care for and in turn give that person the freedom to do more of the colourful things in life. For others it’s more extreme, owning only the absolute basics and not a single duplicate or unnecessary object. For others it’s taking on a minimalist mindset.
There’s a common understanding in this world that new and better things will enrich your life, make you better. I think it’s generally accepted and understood that physical possessions won’t make you happy, so why do we still do it? What do we get out of upgrading a phone or buying another shirt when we already have twenty? Considering these things has enabled me to associate with a minimalist mindset, an alternative understanding that while possessions can indeed enrich our lives by making it easier and supporting what we really love, they can also have a negative impact. The constant battle of ‘stuff’ is so time and thought consuming. I always used to reason with myself – ‘but what if I need this one day?’ and store it, either somewhere where it would sit for years untouched or with similar possessions where I would have to push it aside everyday to find the things I actually use. I felt like I was being responsible, mindful of the future when really holding on to that item meant physically and mental clutter.
Of course there are other aspects to being mindful of consumerism – spending money on things that you don’t need and that don’t make you happy means you have less to spend on actually living. The experiences I have travelling will stay with me forever, I can’t say that any physical possession will ever impact my life in the same way.
Living and travelling minimally for the last few months has made me so much more aware of how I live and what I do and don’t use. I now realise that things are just things and for me I don’t need that many to live comfortably and happily. Having said that, I feel that it’s silly to discard things for the sake of having less. I won’t be getting rid of my blogging notebook even though I easily write on my computer because I feel more productive when I physically write things down. It adds value to my life so of course I’m going to keep it. Does everything you own have a positive impact on your life? What does minimalism mean to you?
Interested in learning more?
Check out the Ocean Travelling hub of minimalism