Many see minimalism as a fad, but this is not the case! Minimalism is not about buying specific items that make one appear simple. It is not about dressing a certain way to fit the profile. Minimalism is a lifestyle that could easily be compared to things such as healthy eating or exercising. It is how one lives and not what one lives with.
The Everyday Minimalist (a minimalist blogger) received a letter containing the following comments: “Trendy nonsense. This is just an attempt to make money by selling a lifestyle…psychological ‘guilt-free’ living.” I agree that companies are going to far lengths to sell a product. For many, minimalism is turning into a business opportunity. For instance, Cliff Kuang discusses how Apple has convinced buyers to “follow the gospel of minimalism” by purchasing their products. Many bloggers are trying to sell their own tips on how to live a true minimalist lifestyle; their books are most frequently found on Amazon. One blogger has even created a page “How to Dress Like a Minimalist” insisting on “toning down” to neutral colors and further pushing brands such as Calvin Klein.
Charles Broadway explains, “true minimalists embraced the lifestyle before it was trendy and will continue with it when the good times roll again.” He also adds, “when you cut the crap out of your life, you are left with the quality. You are left with what matters.” In all of my research, no other quote has come close to how I feel about a minimal lifestyle. I am not jumping onto the bandwagon. Instead, I am learning how to live a life based on quality.
What’s the best way to fight materialism? Find its source, and destroy it. “The source?” one may ask. Shopping.
Avoid the shops and mall altogether. Visiting stores makes it feel okay to buy! The Nest explains how visiting shops can trigger the want for more, even when window shopping is all one can afford: “Avoid triggers. Stay away from stores—except for when you actually need something […] Stop teasing yourself, and find a new hobby.”
It’s okay to splurge a little from time to time, but frequently visiting the mall and spending money can turn into a real problem! CNN further explains how people purchase things that they don’t need and fall into the trap of impulsive shopping.
Just a Little Less suggests considering the following tips before making a purchase no matter how “on sale” something may be.
- Waiting a little longer.
- Accepting yourself as being a worthy person with or without that new item.
- Realising that you do not deserve the stresses and misery that shopping can bring: the debt, guilt and clutter.
- Making a list of things you need rather than want.
- Finding alternative ways of spending your time that nourish your health and relationships.
- Being creative with your exisiting wardrobe – trying different combinations of garments.
- Being more creative in your own kitchen rather than trying that new restaurant.
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Sure, minimalism and simplifying may seem impossible. I assure you there is no right or wrong way to achieve your goal. There are many paths that lead to success, but there are a few fundamental rules to live by.
- Stop comparing to others
- Make a list, and stick to it
- Remove clutter
- Be grateful
By dismissing comparisons, you will no longer need to keep up with the Joneses, which is too much of a game anyways. Prioritizing allows you to see what is most important to you, and making the list allows you to constantly remember these priorities. The most important rule, however, is being grateful for what you do own. So what if you cannot afford all of the things you want. Neither can many of your friends. Simplifying is the first step to cutting the cord to materialism.
By living by these basic rules, you can aim your lifestyle towards minimalism. There are many other methods as well. You must keep an open mind while following the guidelines and know the difference between needing and wanting an item. Personally, I am considering either the Bare Essential Method or 21 Day Process.