There has been a lot of misconception about the idea of Minimalism. We human beings tend to see the world in black and white. Since Minimalism synonyms with simplicity, people put it away, quoting ‘It is a pauper state of mind’.
In this write-up, I am planning to throw some denial lights over it.
So, what is Minimalism?
There are no universal rules and regulations. There is no standard definition. From those available out there, I find Nicholas Burroughs’s quote very practical.
‘Minimalism is not a lack of something. It is simply the perfect amount of something.’
We don’t pour salt into the food because we’ve more salt or can afford more. For a perfect palate, we need a pinch of salt.
No more. No less. So is being minimalistic. No more and no less.
Let me approach this question from 2 angles, for the sake of the earth and the sake of us.
We have four more months left in 2020. But we’ve already crossed selling 1500 million smartphones around the world. In 2019, 261 million personal computers were sold all over the world.
Our electricity production and consumption have increased manifold. Air pollution and water scarcity threaten the mere survival of our species.
Non-renewable resources are depleting. We don’t have enough means to replace them with non-polluting renewable sources.
The opportunity to have education has spread its wings to the remotest nations. But the mindset of people remains focused on amassing material wealth. Even the educated doesn’t seem to make the right choice.
In fact, that material wealth is being projected as development. Nowadays, it is an indicator of one’s social status.
According to The Global E-waste Monitor 2020, ‘53 million metric tons of e-waste’ is generated worldwide. The majority of them are computers and mobile phones. It is 21% more wastes than in 2015.
We consume more than the earth can recycle. It disturbs the natural state of our environment and its relationship with human beings.
Here, minimalism doesn’t just come as an alternate choice of life. It is a necessity we should adapt to our planet’s existence.
For the sake of us
Compared to the last decade, the cost of living has increased twice or thrice in every major city. The average office hours have been extended.
People migrate to the nearest big cities for better opportunities. The population rises consistently.
To lead a decent life, the majority of people have to scrape here and there. The hope for a better future turns into material desire. That is even considered happiness.
But in fact, we are unknowingly falling on to this trap cycle. We hoard, hoard, and hoard, thinking that is our solution. Technology has advanced beyond our dreams. The size of the economy has quadrupled. Yet, are we content and happy?
Minimalism doesn’t mean living like a monk under a rock. It doesn’t wholly exclude materialism.
There is nothing wrong with having a few possessions. We need them to live. But it is crucial to understand the meaning we give to those materials.
We cannot see minimalism from a single point of perspective. There is no established path to learn it. It is a multidimensional way of living. We learn and refine by living it.
Let me explain it with real-life practice.
Japan is geophysically prone to earthquakes, tsunami, and fires. Apart from these natural destructions, atom bombs were dropped over their two cities. Also, it is a small area of islands with a vast population.
People who’ve faced these natural calamities tend to have less attachment to material wealth. They learn to think about the importance of every single item they own. Buddhist Zen culture over there is also an important reason for this approach.
That’s why Japanese minimalism has been prevailing even in this modern era of consumerism.
- The majority of their constructions consist of wood, stone, and steel. They use only these materials to get the maximum output.
- Even the colors they use to paint their homes are minimalistic. Only neutral palettes like white, grey, and wood tones are used.
- Japanese architecture gives importance to emptiness. They call it amor vacuii.
- Quality over quantity. Instead of buying many clothes at a low price, they prefer to buy a few quality clothes that’d last longer.
- Their households are not cluttered with objects they rarely use. If the house is free from clutters, they feel relaxed.
- When something is broken, they don’t throw it away. They repair the broken pieces to use it again. Even when it something fragile like porcelain. Especially when it is something like porcelain.
I am not suggesting the whole world should live like Japan. Swedes are pretty minimal people too. They even have a word in their language for being minimalistic. ‘Lagom’ – the understanding that I have enough.
Swede households reflect the minimalistic ideas in their ways. They give importance to the locally procured items over the exotic imported ones. And it is not an easy choice.
Because as they are in the arctic region, they need light. Also, swedes need heat to protect them from the cold. Even in these conditions, they practice a minimal living.
Their basic principle is to use fewer resources to cover most needs. It is as simple as that.
It is difficult to say No.
Those who think it is impossible to practice Minimalism in our day-to-day life need need to check this YouTube channel.
‘Living Big in a Tiny House,’ where the host interviews people who are living in minimal spaces. Let me show you some of the screenshots I’ve grabbed from that channel.
This is a container remodeled house: a minimal design requirement, minimum space occupancy, and least resources.
One of the most challenging aspects of implementing minimalism in home décor is kitchen. We always tend to overestimate our cooking necessities. But if we estimate correctly, we can reduce a lot of money and utensils from the kitchen.
As discussed earlier, it is a fine line of understanding between what we need and what we want.
Yes, it is tough to say No to material wealth. Peer pressure, societal norms won’t let us pursue this way of living. They’ll expect us to run behind materials all through our life.
We go to the gym to shed our physical excess. We detox our bodies to remove the internal toxins. Minimalism is such a detox to our daily life.
The only people who’d be happy in this life are those who know what they want because they are content with what they have.
We’re living in an era where digital technology cannot be sidelined. But at the same time, it leads to the production of lots of toxic e-waste.
On the topic of Digital minimalism, there is one person who comes to my memory. The-shooting-star.com’s Shivya Nath.
A nomad, she’s been traveling for almost a decade. Most of her works are done through the internet. So, digital tools are essential to her. At the same time, those should be travel friendly. Else it would defeat the whole purpose of being a nomad.
In one of her posts, she gives insight into her digital needs. This is a screenshot of the said post.
Yes, it cannot be one size – fits all scenario. It would vary according to our independent needs.
Someone who’s an animation specialist would require powerful processors and graphics cards. For video editors, they may require multiple screens to overview the process. A photography person may need different types of lenses for their projects.
But even those people can make a wise choice of shedding those extra pounds and keep their set-up minimal.
The longer we hold onto something makes us think that it is necessary for us. Even if it serves a minuscule purpose, try to beat that guilt and break the barriers.
Minimalism is not the latest fashion fad. It’s been there for more than 70 years. ‘Less is more’ is the practical approach to becoming minimalistic.
Minimalism is not an end purpose. It doesn’t end when we shed all those extra weights carrying around all our lives. It starts there.
On average, we may spend at least 10 minutes a day searching for something among our possessions. Owning fewer things saves us time. It helps us to keep ourselves in order.
When we get extra time, we can de-clutter our work schedules. The Depression rate among the millennials has been increasing due to the disappearance of Work-Life balance.
From a financial perspective, minimalism boosts the money-saving mentality among us. It promotes absolute necessity over luxury. With the global economy becoming unstable, financial independence is a crucial aspect to consider.
There is also a hesitation among married people with kids. It is comparatively easy to deal with the needs of adults. But with Children’s, it is a slow process. Yet, it is not unachievable. It teaches the children to grow that mentality from a very young age.
Art is filled with a variety of colors, hard lines, sharp cuts, perspectives, and precise details. But artists have shown even there is scope for minimalism.
I’ve seen people’s computers, where files are scattered all around the desktop without proper labeling. Being minimalist is not about depriving ourselves. It is about having a clear intention of owning less. To search for the meaning of life through life, not through material wealth. Everyone’s needs vary. But that’s not an excuse to hoard. Start with your desktop. Organize and label your files. Connect your mobile to your laptop and transfer the pictures to the cloud. Sit down and write down your absolute needs. Open your cupboards and note down the things you haven’t used in the past 90 days. Think about whether you may need it or not. Donate or sell it to somebody who may need it. Start small. Start today.
Would you like to know what does your soul reading says about you? Here.
To learn how to lose weight by practising yoga, read this.