I first stumbled upon minimalism a few years ago when I saw “The Minimalists” on Netflix. From that moment on, I was hooked.
I read every blog I could find, especially those from Joshua Becker, The Minimalists, Courtney Carver, and Leo Babauta, among others. I combed the library for books pertaining to minimalism. Read about what I learned from one of them here.
I looked around at the ridiculous amount of things we owned, taking up valued space without providing any actual value. We started working on each room, removing those possessions that really served us no purpose.
I started thinking about consumerism, commercialism, and materialism. All the bad -isms. I thought about the millions of dollars that are spent each year getting people to buy “stuff” and decided I was out. I had a new -ism: Minimalism.
So What Is Minimalism?
There is flexibility in how one interprets minimalism because the purpose of the idea is to bring you happiness. What brings me happiness might be completely different than what brings you happiness.
There is no single, all encompassing definition for minimalism.
One minimalist may purge themself of all of their books, while another keeps 400.
“Well how can a minimalist keep 400 books?”, you may ask.
The answer: Those books provide value to them. Maybe they are often referenced, maybe they bring back fond memories, or maybe they make for a nice look in a room. And that’s okay!!
Minimalism is the purposeful reduction of excess and unwanted aspects of your life so that there is more space and time for the things that matter.
Jane’s Version of Minimalism
Let’s tell the story of a co-worker, we can call her Jane. Jane’s classroom is constantly cluttered. She keeps old tests, old worksheets, Tuesday’s attendance, faculty meeting notes, everything. Papers, papers, papers — there are stacks of them everywhere you look. She has multiple large file cabinets with papers that probably date back to 1997. Her room has become notoriously well known throughout the school.
Sounds like a hoarder, right?
Well, in many ways, Jane is. But, I would also consider her a minimalist.
“Wait, what? How’s that possible? You can’t be a minimalist and a hoarder at the same time!”
Or can you?
While Jane has enough papers and manila folders to light a bonfire you could see from space, she also lives in a modest home, drives an older, reliable car, saves tons of money, dresses simply, refuses to sign up for any social media, and prefers walks and bike rides over trips to the mall.
Jane avoids consumerism, sees value in simplicity, and most importantly, she is happy.
Okay, Now What?
Start by figuring out what is important to you.
I normally ask people this question:
Name the top ten best/most impactful memories you have.
90+% of the responses are memories of events, experiences, and time spent with family members and friends.
Material possessions such as that new car, new phone, or new television provide only temporary happiness. When you figure out what is important to you and what truly makes you happy, then you can start to remove the objects/people/technology that distracts you from your happiness, giving you more time and energy for what matters.
I created this blog as a means to encourage others to move toward a happier, and healthier life. The backbone of the blog revolves around minimalism and money, but I’d like to think that there is more to it than that. While being more financially responsible was great, resetting the priorities in my life is what truly made me happy.
I’ve learned that by living a frugal, intentional, minimalist, organized life, I am as happy as I have ever been.
More clearly than ever, I can see that life is not about what you have, but who you have. It’s about forging stronger bonds with friends and family, doing things with a purpose, and taking care of others. I’m not sure if I could call this the “be happy” blog, but I could call it the “be happier” blog.
What made you interested in minimalism? How did it start for you? I would love to hear in the comment section!
4 thoughts on “How It All Started – (Part II – Minimalism)”
Hi Dave, I saw “The Minimalists” and loved it also!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I totally agree with you that most of our good memories involve experiences and not things and that people are what we should focus on and not things. Good for you for starting this blog and having a space to reflect on this!
I started decluttering in 2015 after reading Marie Kondo, but after getting rid of 1,000 plus items in over 3 years and not really seeing a difference in my home, I got discouraged and stopped.
Then my husband was hospitalized for 11 days and we spent all that time in the hospital room with just some clothes and snacks. And it reminded me that the most important thing in my life is Dragon Guy. So it renewed my interest in decluttering and I’m currently embarking on a challenge to get rid of 1000 items in one year.
Look forward to reading more! All the best, Dragon Gal
I’m glad Dragon Guy is doing better now. I think that decluttering can be really tough to maintain. Our busyness gets in the way and we lose sight of what is important. That’s an awesome challenge! I look forward to more updates as you progress. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
The Minimalists is also the reason I’m interested into minimalism and simple living.
I accidentally met those guys when I was searching for a podcast about how to write better for my blog. Their podcast called Writing, was the first podcast I heard. Not long after, I started to listen another podcast and finally the audiobook of Minimalism : Live A Meaningful Life.
From that moment I took a decision to become a minimalist by focusing on making more contribution and self growth.
I haven’t declutter my kitchen and closet yet, but I have started with removing all social media apps on my phone and replacing all of those apps with browser.
It surely is a long journey, and I’m glad find another person who share the same interest on minimalism like you.
Thanks for the comment, Prima. I think that the digital declutter is even more important than the decluttering of your home. You are absolutely right, it’s a long journey but well worth it!!