Minimalism is commonly associated with house interiors, solid colours, simple organisation often portrayed in soothing Pinterest mood boards. American duo The Minimalist, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus go way beyond the material aspect.
My Physical Clutter
I came across their Instagram account during the start of the pandemic and it soon evolved into an escape route from life’s cacophony. It was also at that point when I realised that my poor mental state was precipitated by the clutter I was holding on to in my room and life.
I remember one particular night when I gave in to a sudden surge of motivation to clean my room.
Turning my place upside down, I found my collection of sentimental items from different periods of my life.
Filled with bookmarks, birthday cards and sticky notes with inside jokes I no longer remember, I had two small boxes of high school memory.
In my closet, there were clothes from various events I participated in, most of which I outgrew in size and fashion taste.
Furthermore, I kept two drawers worth of study notes. They were my prized possession, a proof of my effort in school.
When I laid those things out Marie Kondo style, I realised with a painful reckoning that none of them sparked joy. Over time, they had become things I forgot I had; trophies I no longer admire.
Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less.
We focus on making room for more: more time, more peace, more creativity, more experiences, more contribution, more contentment, more freedom.
Clearing the clutter frees up the space.The Minimalist
So, I got rid of them. Today, I have no recollection on what I threw out.
Success and unlearning it
Since discovering The Minimalist, I have gone through a long process of learning how to (ironically) unlearn the things I grew up learning.
As Mcluhan once quoted:
“We do not know who discovered water, but we know it was not a fish.”“Someone” – Marshall Mcluhan
To me, studying their methodologies was similar to a fish learning about water and how it doesn’t need an ocean. The analogy is ill-fitting but the general idea is there; we don’t need a 8-bedroom house nor do we need that extra pair of shoes to fit an outfit we rarely wear.
What you need, you already have.
Recognising the difference between needs and desires make it easier to minimise clutter; be it things, people or goals that were never truly yours.
Judging for yourself
Minimalism is not THE way to a happier lifestyle. However, it differs from the philosophy majority of society preach.
One might think with a name as such, The Minimalist would be promoting house designs, colour schemes and whatnot. Conversely, The Minimalist promote methodologies of looking past consumerism and unnecessary possessions for the purpose of creating real value.
It is a lifestyle in which you are consciously aware of your needs and what you may be substituting the needs for.
However, it is important to recognise that although Minimalism has a central idea of simplifying your life, there is still a range of intensity that one can ultimately decides for themselves.
After all, the goal of life is to create value; there is endless possibilities regarding how one can achieve that.
Cover Images via The Minimalist
Editor: Anna Wong
Proofreader: Grace Choong