If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you probably suspect that I’m a Minimalist. This is why I’ve decided to write a bit more about Minimalism, to avoid misunderstandings in the future. I also hope that some of you will consider giving it a try too.
I admit, I used to be a hoarder. I’ve never had huge amounts of clothes or shoes, I’ve never had a car (I don’t need it), or a new phone in every six months. I had my own weak points, though: art and jewelry supplies, books, and my doll collection. I often bought new things only to find motivation, or simply to cheer myself up after a bad day, but it rarely worked. Most of the time I felt stressed and anxious instead. I also found it very annoying that I had to spend a lot of time tidying and organizing all the things I bought. I wanted to spend more time creating instead.
One day I found an article about Minimalism (I don’t remember where exactly, but I guess it was on Pinterest), and I liked it. I started to read more and more about it, and in November 2016 I decided to declutter my home for the first time.
Sure, I knew about the traditional Japanese zen Minimalism with the empty spaces, white walls and square shapes, but honestly it’s not my cup of tea. If you check my jewelry or paintings, you can clearly see that my style is really far from this. 🙂
I studied art history, so at first I was a bit confused about this whole Minimalism thing. I see that many people don’t understand the difference between Minimalist art and Minimalist lifestyle either, so let me explain:
It describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. As a specific movement in the arts it is identified with developments in post–World War II Western Art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s.
In general, Minimalism’s features included geometric, often cubic forms purged of much metaphor, equality of parts, repetition, neutral surfaces, and industrial materials.
Minimalist lifestyle (or simple living):
At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.
It’s not about design, colors and exact number of belongings at all.
Minimalism is a trend now indeed, but not all trends are bad. This one is popular, because many people have the same problem, and this movement has a solution for this problem.
We have too much stuff that we often buy only to keep up with the Joneses, and often we don’t even like or need those things. We are too busy to do the things we enjoy, and to enjoy the things we have, and we are too stressed to be creative and productive.
It’s bad indeed for everyone, but especially for artists! We need time to make art, and we need to focus on our art.
The solution is to simplify your life, to discard everything you don’t need. It’s not only about physical stuff, but also about mental habits like spending too much time on social media and watching TV/Netflix, or spending your time with people who are not supporting you at all.
How to do it
- Start with the physical stuff, it’s the easiest.
- Start slowly if you want, do it at your own pace.
- Don’t stop when you’ve finished the physical decluttering, you need to do a mental one as well. (This article on Break The Twitch may help you with that.)
- You can have any style and still be a Minimalist. Actually you don’t even need to ‘label’ yourself. I do it only because it’s easier to talk about things that have a name.
- Remember, it’s a process, that never ends, and it’s very personal. What works for you might not work the same way for others. You need to find your own way of doing it by trying different things and learn from others.
Why is it good for you?
- You’ll be more tidy and organized if you have fewer things (see the previous post)
- You’ll have more free time if you tidy less, watch less TV, or spend less time on your phone.
- You’ll have more money if you don’t buy unnecessary things.
- You’ll be able to focus more on what you do if you stop multitasking.
- You’ll be less stressed, less anxious, but more creative and productive. Spending less time on social media helps you to stop comparing yourself to others, and lets you do your own thing your own way.
One thing no one talks about
I’ve read a trillion blog posts, articles and books about Minimalism, and there’s one thing no one mentions. When I finished my first decluttering session (when I removed about 30% of my things), I suddenly had much more free time than I could immediately fill. It was like when I quit my last job. I had hated that job, even though it had been comfortable. When I suddenly had the whole day to do anything I wanted to do, I felt a bit lost and empty. But a few months later I opened my etsy shop. This was in 2009. 🙂
If you’re interested in the Minimalist movement, here are a few books and blogs I highly recommend reading:
- The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own, Kindle Edition, by Joshua Becker
- Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism, Kindle Edition, by Fumio Sasaki
I hope you’ll find this useful, and that you’ll want to learn more about Minimalism. If you have anything to add or have questions, please, feel free to comment.
I’ll soon finish the lifestyle/organizing series with one last post, which will be about time management.
But before that, I’ll have a monthly review of my artist life next week.