A friend sent me a link to a blogger she thought was a “hottie,” so I searched around his site looking for a picture of him (obviously). While searching, I came across a post that linked to The Minimalists, a site about how two best friends (Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus) in Dayton, OH began living a minimalist lifestyle. The site sucked me in and before I knew it I read about 15 or so posts.
Though they do share some practical advice for embracing a minimalist lifestyle (including a 21-day journey you can take), the real gift of the site is their willingness to tackle the difficult topics that go along with it. When you’re living a minimalist life, what do you do about gifts? What do you do about sentimental items? What about when minimalism scares you?
As I’ve mentioned before, I sold most of my belongings when I moved to NYC in August 2011 and then threw most of my belongings away after getting bedbugs in May 2012. After theses experiences, I’ve felt a decreased attachment to material stuff. This is why The Minimalists site, and minimalism in general, intrigues me.
“MINIMALISM IS INTENTIONALITY.
MINIMALISM IS FREEDOM FROM THE PASSION TO POSSESS.
MINIMALISM IS FREEDOM FROM MODERN MANIA.
MINIMALISM IS FREEDOM FROM DUPLICITY.
MINIMALISM IS COUNTER-CULTURAL.
MINIMALISM IS NOT EXTERNAL, BUT INTERNAL.
MINIMALISM IS COMPLETELY ACHIEVABLE.”
The explanation under “Minimalism is Intentionality,” offers a simple, yet powerful definition of minimalism:
It is marked by clarity, purpose, and intentionality. At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality. And as a result, it forces improvements in almost all aspects of your life.
Hearing minimalism explained in this way makes it obvious that its about more than stuff, it’s about our values and living authentically. So now I sit here pondering, can I live a minimalist lifestyle?
In one light, it seems overwhelming and terrifying, but in another it seems liberating. Yes, the thought of getting rid of more items makes me feel uneasy, but the prospect of not wasting time sorting and organizing stuff I’m not using feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders, as does the thought of moving around my living space without tripping over anything or rummaging through piles of stuff looking for something I need.
But beyond the stuff, there’s a part of me that is scared of doing the internal work necessary to embrace minimalism. Can I really work through the part of my brain that believes stuff = security? Can I really figure out how to be comfortable enough with myself that I don’t try to silence my authentic-self with makeup, clothes, jewelry, and gadgets? Can I get over the judgements that will surely fall my way as I step further into non-conformity?
Are you living a minimalist lifestyle? Do you have any advice to offer?