It's true what they say — minimalism isn't a phase or a trend, it's a lifestyle. It's a mindset and a way of approaching your every day.
I was fascinated by the concept of minimalism when I stumbled on it last year. It was at first through friends, bloggers that I follow, and seeing the word tossed around online, then through The Minimalists documentary that I watched intently on Christmas Day.
I was hooked. The idea of living with less things and more intention, the breath of fresh air I could already feel, lifting the burden of having so many "things" surrounding me every day...it was a feeling I wanted to immediately infuse into every aspect of my life.
Since then, I've found ways to incorporate minimal living into my surroundings, including my home and office, as well as in my mindset.
During this process, I've determined that it's rather difficult to approach minimalist values for only certain aspects of your life.
That's a great way to start, sure. I started with the most basic approach I could think of: by cleaning out my closet. And the task wasn't about just getting rid of things for the sake of making space; it was about looking at what's left and feeling nothing but joy, contentment, and gratitude for those things I chose to keep. It was about seeing purpose and value in those items, and ridding of the ones that no longer served a purpose or provided joy.
However, that was only the very first step. Little did I know that this entire year would serve as a journey to living more minimally and with more intention.
The truth is, the basic principles of minimalism are applicable to all areas of my life...and yours, too.
I started by focusing my efforts on the spaces around me — those were the easy targets. I organized and minimized my work area, my drawers, my bookshelves, even our guinea pig cage and supplies.
But I soon recognized "clutter" in other areas of my life — the less tangible things, like my morning routine, my reactions to and interactions with others, my mindset around my own business, just to name a few. I started focusing my attention there, with the intention of creating a healthy, joy-filled mindset and fulfilling routines and behaviors that could become a part of my every day.
However, without even realizing, I was already exploring this inner journey.
Around the time I started on this path to living more minimally, I also started a book called "The Daily Stoic." This book, a Christmas gift last winter, has a dedicated Stoicism reading and interpretation for every day of the year. Each month focuses on a different overarching theme (Clarity, Awareness, Problem Solving, etc.). While I didn't start reading this book for any other reason than a new adventure to try and the approachable style of writing that is used in the interpretations and expanded thoughts sections, this too, has guided my journey to living and thinking with a calmer, more stoic mind.
I associate Stoicism with minimalism because it focuses heavily on a thoughtful, intentional mind, clear perspective, and being a good human — rather simplistic ideals that turn into action and habit through practice. Similarly, minimalism is a practice, something you continue to work toward and live every single day. It's a simple, yet disciplined approach to life...which is exactly how I think of Stoicism.
Now, I have no degrees in philosophy or professional, intellectual opinions to provide here, but I do know this — throughout this journey of mine, finding ways to live more purposefully has crept into both my surroundings, through practices of minimalism, and into my mindset, through teachings of Stoicism.
Together, the two disciplines of minimalism and Stoicism have been crucial in helping me weed out the unnecessary objects, thoughts, and emotions, and replace them with intentional, valuable things, practices, relationships, and ambitions.
If you're interested in learning more about my journey or have any questions, I'd love for you to say hello! Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.