What is minimalism?

There is so much information around the web about what minimalism is. Some definitions and descriptions focus on stuff. But it isn’t just about stuff. It is far easier for me to tell you what minimalism is not.

Materialism.
Minimalism is not about the race to owning the coolest and newest gadgets available on the market. Advertisers want you to buy, buy, buy, buy, and buy some more. They tell you that gifts are only worthy when they come in the form of a material gift. They keep telling you that unless you buy whatever they’re selling, you somehow aren’t complete, you cannot be happy, you are not handsome/beautiful enough, you are not worthy of love, and you cannot have a fulfilled life. Minimalism is the complete opposite of that.

Stuff.
Minimalism is not about owning the most toys, minimalist get rid of some of their material possessions in order to focus on what matters to them and only keep the essential, or only things that bring the most value to them. It is not about comparing yourself to others (especially with your neighbors and family members) about who owns the coolest stuff. Stuff is not what matters to a minimalist. Stuff can’t tell you who you are, quite the opposite, it’s about who you are in the absence of all the stuff you own and owns you.

Clutter.
Minimalism is not about living mindlessly distracted 24/7. It is about becoming aware of those day-to-day distractions and removing one of them at a time, so that you can do what makes you happy. Minimalism is not about spending hours and hours of your day cleaning or picking up your stuff, or worse, picking up someone else’s stuff. However, clutter is not just material stuff such as junk mail and stuff that covers every surface and storage space of the house, it’s also in a digital form, mental form, psychological form, as well as in the form of people… pretty much anything that is there but doesn’t serve a real purpose in your life.

Busy-ness.
Minimalism is not about being busy 24/7 either. It is not about filling every hour of your day doing something to keep you from being bored. Minimalism can be about what is truly precious in life when you remove all the day-to-day coming and going. It isn’t about rushing through life quickly and realizing that you didn’t enjoy the trip. It isn’t about running around like a chicken with your head cut off, but instead, it’s about taking the time to be conscious about the here and now, being present. It isn’t about what/who others want you to be, but about who you truly are when you cut out the noise.

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