When you open your closet, what do you see? Do you see articles of clothing that you wear often, or clothing that harbors a heavy feeling?
In the age of fast fashion, it can be hard to maintain a sense of minimalism. Many choose not to take on the minimalism philosophy of life for the reason they like their things.
Yet, what if I told you that minimalism is not about less stuff?
What Minimalism Means
Minimalism is defined as “a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity”. In today’s popularity of the craze, it is living with less things for you to freely live your life in a more meaningful way.
I recently watched the documentary Minimalism: a Documentary About the Important Things, which follows the journey of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. The documentary was in part promoting their book, but it also was showing people a different way of minimalism.
Rather than getting rid of everything you own just to gain some emotional clarity, it is revealing every person has a different idea of minimalism. The root point of the concept is to get rid of things that do not add value in your life.
Why Minimalism Is Not About Less Stuff
The word stuff can be stifling in itself, but stuff does have the power to add value in a person’s life. If you enjoy books and sharing them with your friends, then chances are you may have not approached the philosophy of minimalism with a light heart.
Even if you have library full of books, you can still approach your life with a sense of minimalism, but not in the way you think.
As a child, you may have filled out a questionnaire in school what items you would take with you if you were deserted on an island. What are those items now? Are they things you have bought while on a shopping spree, or are they things that people have given to you or have memories?
The Source of Value
In a comprehensive study about perceived value, it came to the conclusion that value is a complex concept to comprehend. Every person perceives value in different ways, based on their experience and personal nature.
The art of minimalism is not demeaning the value of the things you own, it is the process of discovering what items give value in your life. If you are still holding onto old sweatshirts from exes, or boxes you never care to look inside of, then it may be time to go through your things and let go of what is not serving you.
The point is to keep the things that add value in your life, and to get rid of the things that cause you stress, or harbor bad memories. By getting rid of things that add to the stress of life, it gives you the opportunity to live the life you want.
How to Know What is Valuable For Your Life
Do you find yourself standing in front of your belongings, wondering where to begin? Simply start small. Keep track of the things you wear often, or the items you use purposefully every day. What is serving you? What is not serving you?
Only you can decide what is valuable for your life. You have the privilege and power to determine what items you own that help you live a better life. Minimalism is in part about privilege, but it is also a philosophy that is moving away from the classic American dream of having a big house full of things.
When you get rid of things that keep you locked in a space of stress, your life has the chance to open up. You can save more money, spend more time with family, and live a life with purposeful meaning.
Find Your Own Way of Minimalism
In the documentary, they interviewed Courtney Carver, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which soon led her to creating Project 333. Her project gained thousands of followers, but it was not just the following or even the concept of the project that caught my attention.
Getting rid of things in her closet helped her get healthy from a diagnosis that was out of her control. Many people suffer from fatigue and chronic pain, and a part of that comes from a lifestyle that is stressful and demeaning.
The key is to find your own way of minimalism to live a healthy life. Find freedom by not just having less stuff, but adding more value to your life. Find balance, clarity, and better living through the power and privilege of value.
Do not just go through your things, but dive into your life, your heart, and your understanding of value to give space for a healthier mind, body, and lifestyle.