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Minimalism and the Benefits of Owning Less

Grey shirts, pour-over coffee, and biceps. These are the 3 pillars of minimalism. When I first watched Matt D’Avella’s video A Day in the Life of a Minimalist video I found one of my true callings in life. The grey shirt, the aesthetic, and most importantly the TRUTH that was given in that video really spoke to me on a deep level. Ever since then I have really found myself being extremely interested in the minimalist lifestyle and everything that minimalism can do for me. In this article, I’m going to be breaking down to you guys the key concepts of minimalism, talk about some of the main proponents of it, and what you can do to get your minimalism journey started.

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What is Minimalism?

First and foremost what does it all mean? What is minimalism? What does it mean to be a minimalist? Do I have to own barely anything? These questions among many others have come to me after I started this amazing journey. To start, minimalism does not mean that you need to live with nothing. My definition of minimalism is, “living an intentional life through all things physical and digital.” If it was called intentionalism, I think the community would have taken longer to gain traction but honestly, the word would be a little more fitting towards what it means. While being a minimalist may involve owning less, the reason for that is because all of minimalism is centered around living with intention.

Due to the fact that many people live their lives and make purchases without a high level of intention minimizing the number of things a person has is one of the easier ways to start minimalism. Most of us have way too many things in this consumerist world we live in. Many voids of happiness and hard times are filled with items that bring us short-term utility and long-term stress without us even realizing it. If any of you have ever had a box of things you need to get rid of or a room filled with stored items that have no meaning then you know exactly what I’m talking about. While it may be hard to do at first, minimalism involves coming to the understanding that many of us are not living as happy and healthy of lives as we thought we were.

The new “toys” that we buy ourselves and others throughout our lives are not bringing us the fulfilled and meaningful joy we all so crave. This article by becomingminimalist.com breaks down how “minimalism is owning few possessions”. More importantly, than that, it is about removing the distraction of extra possessions so you can focus more on what matters most. If any of you are thinking about living in this kind of way then I really recommend that you keep reading this article and give it a try!

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👥 Who Are the Minimalists?

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus are The Minimalists. These amazing guys have been huge advocates for minimalism and have created 2 Netflix documentaries on the subject that have taken the world by storm. These guys along with Matt D’Avella have been my biggest inspirations in the world of minimalism and I’d like to thank them for setting me down this path. They’ve published books, have an awesome podcast, and produce so much meaningful content that I really suggest you check out any of their stuff!

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👕 My Experience with Minimalism

Yeah, I’m that guy… the annoying guy who likes to tell his friends that minimalism is the greatest thing in the world and that owning only grey and black shirts have changed my life. The thing is… it’s the truth for me. I really believe that the shift in my wardrobe and in my life overall towards minimalism and intentional living has really been amazing. While I may not be the perfect minimalist, I know for a fact that I am grateful for its existence. For the past 6 months, including as I write this blog, I almost exclusively have worn a grey or black shirt as I go about my day.

Owning only these two types of shirts really helps me narrow down my choices when I am confronted with starting my day. Often times I will just opt for the grey shirt as it’s my slight favorite and that’s okay. Essentially, my life has one aspect of it where the decisions have already been made for me before I even have my day started. I just roll into my closet and am essentially grabbing a shirt rather than making a choice. This lack of choice has decluttered my mind to a certain extent because as many minimalists will tell you, the physical is just a representation of the mental/internal. What I’m getting at is, the more things you own the more stuff that’s going on in your head, and the more you have to worry about things.

This type of almost philosophical thinking can seem over the top at first but it really holds true. Outside of my wardrobe I have gone through many other aspects of my life and narrowed down items to what matters to me and then given away the rest. This also includes the layouts and applications that are present on my computer and phone. I have a home screen with only 4 apps on my iPhone and those 4 apps bring all the meaning and utility I need when using it. While this minimalist lifestyle across the board may not be for everyone, it’s the right thing for me and I thoroughly enjoy it. If you want to hear more about my experiences with minimalism definitely check out my previous article on the subject here.

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How to Get Started

Go into your closet. No seriously open it right now, I’ll wait. Now that you’re in your closet I want you to find a shirt that you haven’t worn in the past month or two. Now take out a bin or something to collect this shirt… and any other shirts that fit the same criteria. Throw all of these shirts in the bin and continue on doing the same thing with all of the other types of clothes you have. Do you have “fun socks” that you haven’t worn in over a year, consider throwing them in the bin? Do you have jeans that aren’t your favorite and honestly you don’t think you’re going to wear the pair for a while if ever again? Throw them in the bin. Rinse and repeat until your wardrobe is a little less cluttered. For me, this was my first step towards minimalism.

It began with getting rid of things and then figuring out what I had in my life that I enjoyed and what intentional living I could continue to have through my wardrobe as well as many other physical and digital aspects of my life. For those of you that really want to dive into minimalism, I would recommend trying out the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge. This challenge is one of many that takes a goal-based day by day approach to reaching a better level of intentional living.

Some examples of the goals for each day include: clean out your closet, turn off notifications, clear one flat surface from clutter, and more. There are plenty of other challenges that involve getting rid of A LOT of your things and if you’re interested in that sort of thing then check out the link to the 30-Day Minimalism Game right here. Whatever way you start minimalism it’s important that you at least give aspects of it a try. You don’t need to live with nothing, but you sure as heck don’t need to live with everything that you have. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all in the next one!