Is minimalism f*cking you up?
Minimalism has been around a lot longer than the Millennials who have made it trendy. Initially a 1950's art form, minimalism has become a way of life almost 70 years later but it doesn't look much different.
The Minimalists say "Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution." But is it really all it's cracked up to be?
Thanks to Youtube, stark Instagram feeds, clean & white flatlays, the Konmari Method and veganism; it has become increasingly tempting to switch the minimalist lifestyle. In fact, it's become even easier with the online hive of information and inspiration. But have some people taken it too far?
I recently watched a 20-year-old Minimalist girl's* vlog where she reduced her entire apartment contents to fit into a single backpack on her bike so she could travel across Asia. I was impressed with her conviction as she even rehomed her cat and plants (!!!). But what I found shocking was how she had minimised every aspect. She no longer washed her hair, only owned a single menstrual cup, and doesn't use any sort of hygiene product except for a DIY coconut oil toothpaste. Her strict no-waste, vegan eating habits meant she only ate raw fruits and vegetables and nothing which came in any sort of packet. Her single bowl of fruit added a vibrant contrast to the white/grey interior. Her clothes are washed by hand using only vinegar and water, apparently to preserve her entirely black-coloured wardrobe. This all sounds very impressive until she looked into the camera with dark eyes sunken into her face and lank, oily hair, with a tired, worn-out expression. She continued to preach methods of her favourite online minimalists.
Her stark lifestyle was both shocking and inspiring. I thought about all the mess and confusion brought into my life by the cluttered crap that glittered my apartment. Now, I'm not a minimalist, I'm just broke. But some may consider me to be a minimalist because of the life choices I make. I've tried it all; I've dabbled in cleanses and declutterings. I even attempted a touch of Konmari-ing in my life. Some things worked, some didn't. But that's okay and I'm happier for it.
Actually, what I learned from my experience dabbling in methods of minimalism is what works for one person won't work for another. There are some creature comforts I can't give up, bad habits I won't break, mess that I continue to trip over, but that's life. Honestly, if I held up every object I own, I'd say 95% of it doesn't bring me any joy or happiness. I'm pretty sure I would end up like Emily Gilmore. I don't own a lot of "stuff" but what I own gets me from A to B. I get my joy from myself, my family, friends and experiences. I need that ugly cup for my coffee, those tatty jeans to cover my ass and that old yoga mat for the days I feel inspired to exercise. I like having patterns on my bed sheets and old tins of peaches in my cupboard. I won't be filling my home with expensive Muji boxes or starting a Bullet Journal to condense all my "excessive" notebooks, just because some guide tells me to.
Minimalism is a healthy thing to try out but just like everything in life, it needs balance. If you go overboard it becomes bad. You don't have to stop washing your hair just to declutter your bathroom counter or wash your clothes in recycled vinegar water just to cut back on cleaning products. You can donate unwanted, ill-fitting clothes, and you can cut down on waste and animal products and start recycling. In fact, in the next week or 2, I'm going to be launching my own version of a minimalism cleanse and lifestyle overhaul so if you want to keep updated about that, be sure and sign up below.
You should always strive to be the best version of yourself as long as what you're doing makes you 100% happy. When it comes to lifestyle and eating habits I don't believe the phrase "go hard or go home" should be applied, instead, try to adopt more of an "everything in moderation" mentality. Minimalism is an excellent lifestyle if you don't have a lot of money and you don't want to feel bad about it. It's also wonderful in the sense of clear space = clear head. You just don't have to give up everything that makes you you but because that's what's trendy right now.
If you would like to learn more about my way of living you can follow my Instagram where I share snippets of my life regularly. Don't forget to sign up to the Weekly Wine Down where you can get updates, latest content and fun things to try on the weekend sent straight to your inbox.
See you in the next one!
*I won't link the minimalist girl to protect her privacy.