In recent years, the word “minimalism” has become viral, turning into a massive trend hyped by millennials around the world. I first came in touch with this concept quite a few years ago, back in 2016, when I first read a book called “The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo. The book was nice and all, but I wasn’t too impressed with its content other than the message “keep only the things that spark joy for you”.
During that time, I was obsessed with house-cleaning and organizing videos on Youtube. Later, a bit of Youtube browsing introduced me to Sasaki Fumio – the author of “Goodbye, things” (I didn’t know he wrote this book until a year ago, though). I was extremely impressed by how minimal his house is and how little he owns in his life. Inspired by his lifestyle, I started to discard, give away and sell a lot of redundant things inside of my rental house, and immediately began to feel better.
But I never considered myself a minimalist then.
So what makes me different from where I was four years ago?
No, I’m not kidding. The pandemic truly changed my views on some aspects of my life that I no longer find satisfying.
Apart from the fact that my income dwindled during these past few months and I had to be more conscious of my purchases, I also found out that after all this time, consumerism has taken hold of me. All these marketing messages and social media advertisements have nudged a part of my subconscious mind, telling me to “Buy this!” or “Snatch that!” just because it has some sort of cool functions, is currently on sale, or that it will somehow heighten my self-esteem.
Staying at home almost 24/7 with my boyfriend, who never considered himself a minimalist either but haven’t bought a new shirt for over three years and rarely ever purchased anything unnecessary, also affects my view about conscious consumption.
So now, after such a long, long time, I am finally announcing to the world my intention to live frugally and pursue a more minimalist lifestyle.
Okay, so I have decided to live like a minimalist, now what?
Minimalism. Frugal living. Easier said than done. But perhaps it might be better to break down exactly which part of my life I can make a change and make it more minimal.
Below are some categories in which I can add some elements of minimalism:
- Be conscious about every purchase. Ask myself: “Do I really need this?”
- Check for sales and potential discounts
- Sell stuff I rarely ever use
- Delete redundant social media apps on my phone (Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter)
- Perform “friend check” on Facebook – unfriend anyone I don’t know personally
- Reduce contact with people I don’t get along too often, focus on my family members and close friends
- Meet-up physically or perform virtual meet-ups instead of texting
- Organize my thoughts by writing/journaling everyday
- Do yoga, cleaning or cooking more often (I consider cooking and cleaning my personal meditation)
- Eat more fruits (mandarins, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, etc.) and incorporate vegetables into every meal
- Don’t eat more than one portion
- Reduce the intake of sugar, salt and animal fat
- Read a book for 20-30 minutes everyday
- Learn on LinkedIn for at least 30 minutes per week
- Check-up on news sites 2-3 times per week
I know it seems like a lot to push myself into doing so many things at once. And it doesn’t look too “minimalist” without all the throwing stuff away or selling all my belongings until all fit nicely within a bag or something like that. Believe me – I could feel all those pressures looking at fancy minimalist room tour videos on Youtube.
But really, it’s not truly minimalism until your mind think that it is.
I don’t think pursuing a minimalist lifestyle a competition and start making things all fancy (and technically, empty) at once. Just as Sasaki Fumio said in his book, “Minimalism is not a rite of penance, nor is it a competitive sport. It is simply a means to an end.”
I can own all the items I currently have, and can still be happy and live a minimalist life.
Trust me – it all boils down to your mindset.