“Less is more.” Do you agree with this famous minimalist phrase? I genuinely do. That is the reason why I have always loved minimalism in architecture, art, design, interior decoration, and in some way, also in lifestyle. However, I have to admit that there is one area of my life where I am a total minimalist disaster.
What is minimalism?
Merriam-webster dictionary defines minimalism as:
A style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity
Vocabulary.com defines minimalist as:
When you call a person a minimalist, you’re describing their interest in keeping things very simple. A minimalist prefers the minimal amount or degree of something.
Minimalism is a word that we have been listening to in lifestyle trends more and more in recent years. However, “minimalism” started to become popular around the 50s and 60s in music and art.
Minimalist music consists of simple repeated patterns or the repetition of very short phrases which transmit kind of a hypnotic feeling.
Minimalist art is a simplistic art that wants the viewers to see only what is in front of them. It can be a representation of the word “truth” because it is a “no pretend” art.” A perfect way to explain minimalism is with a famous phrase used by minimalist artist Frank Stella that says, “what you see is what you see.” Minimalist art only represents what you see, and it has three essential characteristics: order, simplicity, and harmony.
I love minimalist art because of its clean lines, the clarity of what it shows, the extensive use of blank space, the order, and the contrast of colors. I enjoy the harmony and simplicity this art uses to transmit with total transparency what we are seeing.
What about minimalism in lifestyle?
In lifestyle, just like in art, minimalism is also based in simplicity, but it expands its meaning in the “why we need simplicity.” It is based on the phrase “less is more” suggesting that when we have less of something, we open space to have more of what really matters.
For me, minimalism is a way to live we can choose, just like eating healthy is a way to eat. The idea is to program ourselves consciously to practice minimalism by keeping our lives simple so that we can enjoy more. (Read my post about Let’s Go and Enjoy)
Benefits of being minimalist:
After reading about minimalism, and reflecting why I love so much minimalist art, I realized that two of the best benefits we can obtain from having a minimalist lifestyle is harmony and clarity. Two feelings minimalist art generates in me.
- Harmony: Having harmony in life means that we have a peaceful and balanced live where all things feels right.
- Clarity: Knowing who we are, what we want and where we want to go is the meaning of clarity. One of the best way to find clarity is through simplicity.
In order to have a minimalist lifestyle we have to work on making our lives simpler, and this means getting rid of the excess that only brings noise to our lives. When we have excess in our lives, we tend to lose focus on what is most important. We become so cluttered with possessions, thoughts, feelings, and emotions that we don’t leave any space for the simplest things that are usually the most fulfilling ones.
Practicing minimalism opens space to having more time, creativity, order, enjoyment, satisfaction, money, and health.
6 Tips to put minimalism into action:
Minimalism is usually linked to material possessions. However, it should also be linked to everything that brings noise to our lives: our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and even people. (Read my post about How to Control our Thoughts.)
Here are 6 tips to put minimalism into action:
We all have things we don’t use, don’t need, don’t like or don’t serve their purpose anymore but still keep them. Getting rid of stuff is where I am a total minimalist disaster. I always say to myself, who knows, maybe I will use it in the future, or my daughter may use it someday or what if I need it later. If you are like me, here is a list of 4 things we can do to start a decluttering process:
- Get rid of duplicates
- Get rid of anything ripe, torn or have a spot
- Take out of the closet everything we haven’t used this year and put it in a box out of our view. If after 30 days, we haven’t needed it, it is time to donate it.
- When taking out things, don’t think about how much it is worth. Instead, think about how good it is going to be to someone else.
2. Only buy what we need:
Every time we are going to buy something, let’s ask ourselves the following questions:
- Do I need it, or do I want it?
- What use am I going to give to it?
- How frequently am I going to use it?
- Do I have something very similar to it?
- What would happen if I don’t get it?
- Is it worth it?
3. Buy quality instead of quantity:
It is much better to buy something good that will last longer than to buy a bunch of cheap stuff that we will have to replace after a few uses.
4. Detach ourselves from material belongings:
We all have things that have a sentimental value to ourselves, and that is fine, some of them are worth to keep. However, there are some other things we keep that instead of doing any good to us, they become a weight that we have to carry. Remember, minimalism is about simplicity; any material thing that makes our life more complicated is something we need to evaluate.
Thoughts, emotions, and feelings:
5. Declutter our mind:
Just like with material possessions, we also have to declutter what we put in our minds. We have to get rid of thoughts, ideas, emotions, and feelings that complicate our lives like:
- Exessive past or future
- Wrong beliefs
6. It is ok to say no, or enough.
It may sound too harsh, but sometimes we also need to remove some people from our lives because they don’t do any good to us. I truly believe we have to help and give to others in the best of our possibilities. I also think we have to support and care for the people around us, but there are sometimes that we have to say “enough” for their own good and our own good.
We all have that feeling of wanting to have more and more things because we think that having more will make us happier or more fulfilled, but that is so far from the truth. In my opinion, having more don’t make us happier. Instead, having the right things, not in quantity, but in quality is what can make the difference. It is like entering a store packed with millions of things or entering a boutique with an exclusive selection of the things we need.
For me, being minimalist is being selective of what I want in my life and not filling my life with everything that is out there. Like minimalist art, our lives should be simple and reflect the phrase of Frank Stella “what you see is what you see.”
Here are two questions for you:
- Do you agree with the phrase “less is more”?
- What aspect of your life makes you a total minimalist disaster?
Here is a link to a great TEDx I enjoyed about minimalism from the founders of TheMinimalists.com a blog that has very interesting information about this topic.
I will be sharing minimalist art, design and lifestyle ideas on Instagram and Facebook. Please check them out!
Get this FREE Printable Design about MINIMALISM to remind yourself that less is more.
Easy to download, high resolution image to print at home or favorite local or online print shop in any of the following sizes: 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 11 x 14, 16 x 20 and 18 x 24. To download, click the green bottom bellow.