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Minimalism has been a recurring term for quite some time, but what’s it all about? I believe, it’s pretty complex – I know, I know, I’m contradicting what the world really means here. But again, the definition of the word is pretty layered, hence complex. Let’s figure that out later, shall we?

What is a minimalist lifestyle?

Living a minimalist lifestyle involves consciously having fewer belongings and concentrating on the ones you actually need. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by clutter, want fewer complications, or want to reduce your expenditure, living with less might be the best option for you. Clutter does not just happen in our surroundings, but happens within our minds too. We are complicated beings and very deeply connected with our surroundings. If your room is messy, for example, it is very much representative of how you might be feeling on the inside. Just as messy, and jumbled. Minimalism lets you escape from a situation like that.

So, basically, people who live a minimalist lifestyle only own things that have a purpose in their lives and do away with things that detract from the clothes, accessories, hobbies, and equipment that are actually important to them. The key word here is “purpose”. For a hoarder like me, I could find a purpose for every little thing I owned. But all it did was take more space, meant for other important things, and would often result in a dirty room. So, it was time for a little self-intervention. I had to prioritize what things I truly ‘needed’ and a few of the things I really (REALLY) wanted. The second I was able to figure it out, I did mourn throwing away things but when I got over it, I was glad to know I had more space for myself, to breathe, to relax.  So, it is up to you to decide what to keep and what to get rid of based on the things that are essential to you since everyone’s definition of minimalism is different.

Do you see how synonymous it is with your mental health? And letting go of things, people, and MOST OF ALL, PEOPLE. The most human thing to do is to form attachments with other living beings. When we form these attachments, we care about them, and we worry about them, so naturally, they take up space in our minds. It is positive to have these thoughts about them, but when it turns negative, it leads to more overthinking, and more questions, so more space is taken over.

Minimalism took over in India, during the British Raj. When all of the riches were being drained by the British, people had to naturally adapt to managing with lesser resources. But mainly, it was Mahatma Gandhi, who encouraged simple living. Him being one of the most influential leaders at the time, was himself living a minimalistic lifestyle. He held the view that one should only own the clothing, sandals, watch, eyeglasses, and utensils used for eating and cooking. Any present he was given, he would either give away or auction. Some historians contend that at the time of his death, Gandhi had no more than 10–20 items in total.

Minimalism, the word might be new, might be ‘trending’, but this way of living has been encouraged and followed for a very long time. Now, let’s go back to the beginning and understand why I used the word ‘complex’ to explain minimalism. Probably, the dichotomy of it? How it applies to both physical and mental things, even though its meaning is often used unidirectionally, and its historic relevance. Minimalism is more than just room décor, for me. It can apply to every aspect of our lives. 

Author: Pavitra M – A bit quirky and a lot inquisitive with the strangest humour ever. Basically, she laughs at anything and everything. Pavitra is currently pursuing her Masters’s in Media and Communication Studies and has an incoherent but deep passion for self-care and ultimately on a quest to understand the best ways to do it. 
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author.

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