What is minimalism? Is it just a millennial trend that has people making their Instagram feed match and be eye candy? Does minimalism only define attractive living spaces, art, design, and fashion?
Minimalism reaps much deeper results than aesthetically pleasing fads. Applying minimalism as a mindset can bring a whole different lifestyle into play.
The average American lifestyle is nowhere near minimalism. The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR), and 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32% only have room for one vehicle. (U.S. Department of Energy). British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily (The Telegraph).
Take a look into the wardrobes of Americans and you will find that the average American woman can have up to 103 items in her closet (The Daily Mail), but somehow she always has a problem not knowing what to wear. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Americans spend the least time amount of cooking, which means everyone is buying fast food which results in America being one-third obese, leading the way among other developed countries. What’s so interesting about this statistic is that American’s actually spend the least time amount of eating, but they still have the highest obesity rate among countries like Australia, Canada, and New Zealand (LiveScience). However, not only do Americans eat more than other countries, they also throw out 200,000 tons of edible food daily (American Consumer Society).
Our country has been overwhelmed with consumerism. This hasn’t been exactly our fault though; the advertising industry is worth $600 billion. Everywhere we look we have pressure to buy more products that will help us look better, work better, sleep better, eat better, live better. The more the better they say. Magazines, billboards, TV and radio advertisements, and pop on our screens all wanting to contribute more to what we have. Not only that, but social media has taken a toll on influencing people’s mindset as well. Facebook and Instagram has people posting their fabulous outfits, fancy eateries, exotic vacations, and latest sport games. Everyone is looking to show that they have a good life, and the endless comparisons that people make begin.
Why are we like this? We keep on taking and taking and the consequences do not end in happiness. Despite America having so much, 14.8 million adults are depressed. (Depression Statistics).
Less is more.
This doesn’t mean you have to own only 100 items, or move out of suburbia, to sell your car and ride around on a bicycle or to hitchhike through America. It doesn’t only apply to vegans or college bloggers. Minimalism is you not wanting more. It’s being happy with what you already have. Contentment is a concept that comes with minimalism.
It’s okay to have a calm life.
You don’t have to climb Mt. Everest, race with mad bulls in India, or base jump off the KL Tower for a sense of fulfillment. You don’t have to risk your life doing thrill seeking activities. Your heart skipping beats, the accomplishment of playing with the impossible, get this satisfaction from doing dangerous things with a worthy purpose. Don’t do it just to play with your life. Minimalism helps you display what you value most.
Treasure your time.
As Americans we are completely swamped with our schedules. We have things to do and places to go and people to see. We don’t have time to pause and realize that life is good. We don’t have time to stop and breathe. Having less helps you organize your time more wisely: you’re not spending 30 minutes trying to get dressed with the 50 t-shirts in your dresser. Choose the activities that you do with precision. Know what you prioritize in your life.
Minimalism is taking your mind off the consumerism of physical things and clearing a path to help you realize your passion, values, and worth. Apply it to your life.
Simplicity being the ultimate sophistication is something that I like to believe.