Let me ask you, what do you think of when you hear the word ‘minimalism’?
Someone that owns 50 things, who doesn’t own or watch TV, that hasn’t bought anything new since 2012 and lives in the middle of nowhere? It is the common stereotype people think of. I once did, and often cited the seeming ‘restrictions’ above, that I could never be a minimalist.
When I first heard of minimalism, I associated it entirely to mean the reduction in what we own, to minimalise. But then as I got more into sustainability and learnt how to live in a more holistic way, I feel as though I unintentionally shifted towards a more minimalist lifestyle. I guess it has been easier for me, as I never got the buzz from shopping or never really want for stuff. I am the tricky one to buy for at Christmas or my birthday. Side note, my mum once had no idea what to buy me one year, so she bought me some birds…so maybe I should just tell her at least one thing next time. Lesson learnt.
Whenever there is clutter all around me and a lot of stuff everywhere, my mind feels bogged down…
Back to minimalism, I am someone who is really affected by my surrounding environments, so whenever there is clutter all around me and a lot of stuff everywhere, my mind feels bogged down or like I can’t think as clearly. As a student, I move into a new house each year, and it’s not fun having a lot of stuff to always pack and move around, so I think I have become more minimalist since being a student. Oh, and the fact that students are broke…so it’s kind of forced me to be more minimalist! But as I learnt more about minimalism, I learnt that is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. As I started to embrace this lifestyle, I realized that I moved away from defining or centering the meaning of minimalist on materialism, but redefining it to refer to meaning, purpose, belonging, fulfillment. I then realized that these values fill me, rather than minimalize me. So, I consider myself to be a maximalist, which I define as someone who makes the most out of everything.
Becoming a Maximalist
For me, this has meant maximising the use of things that I already own and being intentional about everything having a purpose. To no longer attach meaning to stuff or associating happiness with material possessions. I want to spend my days making the most of my time by learning, doing, experiencing, regenerating and maximising the space I give for myself for self-growth, mindfulness and to nourish the relationships and friendships that are so important to me.
Right now, we are living in unprecedented times. The things that were once mundane are now a luxury. So much uncertainty rests in the atmosphere. Since becoming maximalist, it has made me value and cherish the things that matter to us most as human beings. We haven’t been able to shop mindlessly whenever we feel like it. Rather, we are longing for family and friend reunions, so let this resonate with you. Real connections are what make us happy, not shopping for the latest trends.
I’ll leave you with this to ponder upon; what is it that you hope to maximize in your life and create more time and space for?