“The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity.” – Douglas Horton
You would think that there would be little to say on the subject of minimalism, but ironically this isn’t the case.
Minimalism isn’t simply about throwing out everything you own, or about boycotting purchasing new things altogether. Getting to the stage where you only have what you need is a difficult battle, but it doesn’t end there. You have to be constantly aware of accumulating more stuff and the consequences and futility of perpetually pursuing material posessions.
On top of that, depending on people’s preferences and situations, there isn’t a cookie cutter criteria for a minimalist. I’ve always believed that minimalism can’t be measured, you can’t take a number like ‘100 things’ and apply it to everybody. Compromises have to be made for preferences, jobs, children and other lifestyles.
So, minimalism isn’t simple, but who cares? Arduous journeys lead to great goals, that’s what makes them so great. I don’t want to put anyone off, but I know it takes a certain level of commitment to begin and maintain a minimalist lifestyle. The secret is to make baby steps, and work out what works for you.
It’s gets easier when the complexity of minimalism is broken down into smaller steps. A minimalist should consider weighing the pros and cons of each item’s:
1. Versatility. If something can be used for two functions instead of one, you have automatically halved the number of things you would have needed and perhaps saved some money in the process. Versatile clothing is the key to a minimalist wardrobe.
2. Durability. The longer it lasts, the less you spend fixing it or replacing it. Durability is what dispels the myth that all minimalists are frugalists. Sometimes, it’s worth paying that extra amount for better quality so that you don’t have to constantly replace it. But be careful, durability should not be mixed up with perceived quality achieved through marketing and brand names.
3. Availability. It’s better to avoid relying on things that are too rare or extravagant that would be expensive and/or difficult to replace, since you could become stuck if it gets lost, broken or stolen. The point of minimalism is that you don’t have to constantly worry about your material things.
4. Portability. For people that travel a lot, the portability of an item is extremely valuable. Ideally, most items should be easy to pack, light and have multiple functions so that you can take a smaller and more manageable suitcase.
Walking the life of minimalism isn’t done without making sacrifices and difficult choices but every right decision, no matter how small, contributes somehow as one small step forwards, instead of backwards, towards happiness. And you never know, the impact you make may inspire others and can create a revolution.