Devin Brooks

Minimalism can be a confusing topic

Minimalism seems to have an abundance of lore and myth surrounding its inner workings, and a lot of it isn't good.

I became a minimalist in early 2017. I've often had people since then look at me and ask, "Wait. So you got rid of all your stuff?"

No. Not even close. Minimalism is different for everyone. While the essence of it is living with less, for most of us it isn't the dire overhaul that some people might think it is.

Let's get into 3 things minimalism isn't, and 5 things minimalism is:

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Minimalism is not - 

1. Counting what you own

Minimalism is not about hitting a quota. There are a ton of posts out there that suggest how many items you should have for a capsule closet, how many items to have in your office, etc. 

These are fantastic jumping off points, or, if you're really stuck, follow them word for word. I used so many of these posts when I first started my minimalism journey.

They are not, however, the end-all, be-all. Minimalism is a personal and subjective choice. Minimalism means different things for different people, but the gist of it (how I see it, anyway) is that you live with less because you only keep what is useful, meaningful, and brings you joy.

This may mean that you have more items than the blog posts or guides you've read. That's fine, just work on eliminating the things in your life that are truly extraneous, irrelevant and aren't authentically you.


2. A lifestyle of restriction

Minimalism also doesn't mean that you can't ever bring new items into your life. 

You're not perfect. Sometimes there will be things that you don't absolutely need, but perhaps they bring you a sense of personal joy. Go for it.

I find minimalism to be a balance of practicality and passion: invest in what you're passionate in, even if it means owning more items, but leave the rest as minimal and functional as possible.

One example of this could be books. I've received a lot of advice to get rid of my physical books and go completely digital. I did it because despite a few books, it makes no difference to me whether they are hard copy or on my Kindle. 

For others, physical books are important. If it doesn't sit right with you, then don't do it.


3. a lifestyle of judgment

Minimalism is not a cult. Becoming a minimalist does not mean that you judge others who aren't minimalist.

Be proud of your choices and your accomplishments, but don't impose yourself on others and how they decide to live.

Same goes for the other way around: if someone finds it okay to judge you for your choice to live with less, then perhaps they aren't the best people to include in your life.


Minimalism is - 

1. A lifestyle

Minimalism isn't a once and done kind of deal. It's about building a mindset and habits into your life to enjoy living with less.

It takes some time to get used to it, especially if you're like me two years ago, who was obsessed with stuff (read this).

Minimalism becomes a part of not only your home, but the rest of your life as well. You learn to think about work, shopping, your relationships, everything in terms of what's important to you. You learn to pick out the frivolous extremities for what they are and decide whether or not they belong in your life.


2. A way to practice self-love and wellness

Minimalism, surprisingly, is a way to look inwards. Living with less denotes that you are comfortable with yourself. You accept your needs for what they are and decide not to pursue collecting things for the sheer purpose of owning them.

When you first embark on minimalism, you'll learn a lot about yourself. You'll learn why certain items make up your necessities, and, even more importantly, you'll learn what you don't need, and even what you don't need but find hard to let go all the same.

When you become comfortable with minimalism, you're on your way to acknowledging that you're more important than the things you own.


3. A way to focus on what's really important

Minimalism frees up your time in your life and also streamlines your focus. You'll find you have very little distraction, which can be a blessing and a curse. 

Now you have more time than ever to devote to what truly matters. If you're unsure what that is, then you have more time to explore and discover it for yourself.

Minimalism also helps in terms of relationships. When you're spending less time running after what's not important, you have more time to devote to the people who do. Better yet, the clarity minimalism brings helps you see who truly belongs in your life and who may not have your best interests at heart.


4. A way to save money

Living with less equals spending less. You'll be amazed at how much you can save by learning to resist the great retail dragon.

This new financial freedom can be applied to other goals in your life, such as savings, travel, retirement, etc. Even better, you can use some of this money to pursue something you otherwise couldn't, such as writing classes, starting a business, and more.


5. A way to live in the present

Minimalism is a great way to promote mindfulness. So many of us are slogging through each week and racing towards the weekend. Some of us (hand raised) experience burnout.

We all have dreams and goals, and sometime we can get too caught up in them to experience what's going on around us now. Minimalism helps us take stock of what's important in our lives today, and that clarity contributes to experiencing appreciation and gratitude for what we have.

Are you a minimalist or considering becoming a minimalist? What are some questions you have about minimalism? Let me know in the comments below!



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