I have a deep interest in minimalist lifestyle – not only to lessen the stress of the abundance of too much stuff, but the absolute freedom “less” provides. I am very intrigued by the movement and would like to participate even more than I currently do.
MINIMIALISM – THE BUZZWORD OF THE DECADE
Although it is not a new concept, the minimalist lifestyle is in high trend right now and it seems it has become one of the buzzwords of the decade. We find it everywhere: interior design, art, fashion, lifestyle, philosophy, blogs, movies, books,…The movement has inspired people to move into tiny homes, cut their wardrobes and donate their possessions. But is it just another “hipster trend” without any real meaning and will fade out soon? I for sure think the opposite.
I believe trends should not be pushed aside and stigmatised so easily, just because of their popularity. They are important, because they tell us something about the society we live in. If more and more people identify with some aspects of minimalism, there must be a reason for that and that reason now can probably be found in the overcrowded and oversaturated lives we are living.
THE ORIGINS OF MINIMALISM
First of all, minimalism is not a new concept. Cherishing simpler living and focusing on the inner self can be traced back to the beginning of human culture, both East and West. From Greek and Buddhist philosophers through the great renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci, to the Transcendentalists, Gandhi, and the hippies of the 60s, minimalist principles have been embraced and cherished by people all over the world for a long time. This just gives you an idea of how far back the principles of reducing belongings in order to gain in areas of more importance. Our current age of fast-paced living just reignited these traditions, not created them.
Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.
MINIMALISM AS I SEE IT
AN INDIVIDUAL MINDSET AND LIFESTYLE
Minimalism is about finding out what is essential to us, and eliminating everything else that distracts us from it. But the similarities between individual minimalist lifestyles stop here, as it concerns individual values, individual priorities and personal decisions. If you are interested in minimalism, yes do your research, get inspiration, but find and embrace your own way. Don’t get stuck in rules that will limit your life.
MAXIMIZE THAT ONE LIFE YOU ARE GIVEN
The only goal is to find it what is important to you and only you and minimizing or eliminating every distraction. To focus on the essential, to find what makes you happy, what matters and what doesn’t, both in your home and life. We can only live one life. But there are ways to maximize that one life you were given.
MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE IS A PRACTICE
Minimalism is a mindset shift just like any other area of focused improvement. When you decide to get healthy it requires you to change your mindset about food and exercise. Since minimalism has a strong emphasis on prioritization, it naturally continues into other areas of your life. So, while you may start off by decluttering your home, you end up also streamlining your schedule and prioritizing your relationships. Your mind begins to filter things differently from a built practice.
LESS FOCUS ON MATERIAL POSSESSIONS
That doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions. Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves. Want to own a car or a house? Great, have at it! Want to raise a family and have a career? If these things are important to you, then that’s wonderful. Minimalism simply allows you to make these decisions more consciously, more deliberately.
MINIMALISM IS AN INTERNAL JOURNEY
Finding it what really makes you happy, or what the essentials are for that happiness is more difficult than it sounds. I think that’s the reason most people start out with their physical surroundings. Decluttering is easier in a way, because you deal with tangible objects. And it’s a good starting point, if you feel that there is too much going on in your life. Try to harmonize your home, surroundings, and possessions. I firmly believe that if those are in order, it will also reflect back on and influence other aspects of our lives.
MORE PEACE OF MIND
It’s about focus. Making decisions about how you live your life, what makes you happy, how you spend your time and money. Letting go of the in-betweens, the mediocrity, the things that do not add anything to your life and well-being.
When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind. The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.
MINIMALISM AS AESESTHETICS – INTERIOR DESIGN
It’s an aesthetic as well. I would make a distinction between minimalism as a lifestyle and minimalist aesthetics. They do not need to be dependent on each other. You can be a minimalist and live in colorful clothes or home, or you can love white, empty spaces, and minimalist interiors without subscribing to the lifestyle part. For me, they don’t go hand in hand. I have always been drawn to colour, details, eclectic furniture and patterns when it comes to my living space and the way I dress is very similar as well.
The Oslo home of Nina Holtz, Photography: Nina Holtz / Stylizmo via My Scandinavian Home
Clean lines, reductive, uncluttered, monochromatic, simplicity, “less is more”—these are some of the terms and concepts that immediately come to mind when thinking about minimalist aesthetics. If minimalism is about stripping down the excess and concentrating on the essential, it’s logical that these principles manifest themselves in the aesthetics as well. Simplicity and a great level of functionality are thus important building blocks of minimalist designs.
interior by Menu, press photo
FIRST STEPS TO MINIMIZING YOUR HOME
You want to have a home filled with laughter, happy family members, good friends and positive energy. You want to have a bright, spacy and clean home, where there is plenty of room for warm relationships. That means your home needs one big cleaning. Consider getting rid of all the things you haven’t used in months or even years (that you might need some day) – all the souvenirs, broken items, old books, worn out towels. Who needs all that? Decide to do one big cleaning of your home, and then do it regularly.
CONCLUSION: THE ART OF MINIMALISM
As a movement, the destination is clear- to simplify and become intentional through less- but the path is very customizable. People crave authenticity. Aside from the clutter overwhelm and distractions, one of the worst outcomes of mass consumerism is the superficiality it breeds.
Many are coming to realize that when you peel back the layers of superficiality you find that the simple authentic core is more beautiful and complex. That’s the goal- to find beauty and freedom in the world we live in. What is minimalism if not a practice of highlighting beauty?
What is minimalism? If we had to sum it up in a single sentence, we would say, Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.