The perks of being a Minimalist

Esma Senman, Contributing Writer


That’s the article.

Just kidding. But in order to discover what minimalism is, a Google Images search probably wont show you much… and that’s kind of the point. Why are people dying to get rid of the stuff they own, downsize or completely change their lifestyle? That’s easy: for simplicity, clarity and freedom.

What began as an art movement in 1960s New York has transformed into something that transcends what can be experienced through viewing paintings, sculptures and even music. Today, people are expressing minimalism through the medium that is their very life.

To be a minimalist does not mean you must own less than 15 things, get rid of your car and no longer hold onto sentimental items. Minimalists merely appreciate the fact that an excess of material things produces distractions and takes away from life.

As British philosopher, Bertrand Russell puts it, “It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.”

Less material things means less clutter, which translates into a clarity of mind, as your environment reflects your mental state. A clear space equals a clear head. With more material items, the path to connecting with people, passions and your purpose becomes clouded.

Along with mental welfare, minimalism fosters freedom. Without having to maintain so many belongings, there is less holding you down. The financial benefits of this lifestyle are evident in that with a motivation to own fewer things, you are consequently buying fewer things. This allows one to put their newly saved money towards passions, travel, hobbies and so much more of what matters.

As if the practicality of minimalism is not enough, this lifestyle proves to simultaneously influence the environment in a positive way. The effects of minimalism are consequential, as it diverts people’s focus from materialism. This results in a chain reaction beginning with consumers. We as consumers have a voice and can vote through our choices. When you reduce the number of goods that are destined for the landfill, the result is less manufacturing. Packaging and transportation are just two factors in the cycle of modern mass-production that are effectively damaging the planet.

Some devout minimalists have even gone to the extent of ridding themselves of their cars, hence taking an active part in the reduction of carbon emissions. This decision may result in the use of public transportation or physical activity as a means of getting around. Choosing an alternative to driving, such as biking or walking, may also allow for an appreciation of nature, along with adding time to reflect and be with oneself, thus, reinforcing the mental and emotional benefits of a minimalist lifestyle.

It is apparent that the world fulfills the “needs” of people at the expense of, forests, oceans and wildlife. The horrifying truth is that all the plastic ever created is still in existence on the planet. Every fork, toothbrush, diaper and bottle still haunt us today, lying on a piece of earth waiting to decompose. However, intentional living and consuming may be able to halt the march down this road that was paved decades ago.

The world’s obsession with ease and convenience has transformed into an abundance of unnecessary items and belongings that clutter and devour our lives.

Minimalism takes the “less is more” mentality and implements it into a lifestyle, catalyzing peace and simplicity, by removing the unnecessary and distracting.

Here are some documentaries on minimalism to watch during your downtime:

“Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things,” “Small is Beautiful: A Tiny House Documentary,” “Thrive With Less,” “Happy” and “The True Cost.”