A few weeks ago I spent a rather lovely, lazy Sunday morning watching documentaries in bed. One of them was Cowspiracy, which I’ll be writing about next month. And one of them was Minimalism.
Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things follows Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists, as they go on a tour to promote their book, Everything That Remains.
(The documentary is available on UK Netflix if you fancy it.)
I was aware of the concept of minimalism before I watched the documentary — I’d read a few blog posts about it, notably on The Private Life of a Girl — but seeing real-life play out on a screen threw it all sharply into focus for me.
In a nutshell, minimalism involves simplifying your life so that everything you own has purpose and value. Life becomes less about owning stuff, or searching for happiness by buying more things (something I think we all do — who hasn’t had a therapeutic shopping trip?), and more about practicality and experiences. Quality over quantity.
|Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks may be expensive, but I use them all the time and they’re excellent quality, so I don’t mind so much.|
We weren’t barely surviving when I was younger or anything as dramatic as that, but we didn’t have much disposable income. I wore hand-me-downs, we never holidayed outside of the UK, and my dad worked extra hours so my brother and I could do the extracurricular activities we wanted. My parents worked their arses off and it never felt like we went without.
But once I started working and eventually had a student loan, I got a mild addiction to buying new things (mostly new clothes and new make-up, if I’m honest). I was on a student budget, so it was nothing crazy, but even so I had more money than I did before and I took advantage of it.
Over time, I’ve started losing the high I used to get from going shopping, and instead I’ve been trying to cut back, so it feels like I watched Minimalism at exactly the right time. It was the nod of the head I needed to reassure me I was doing the right thing.
|It was so difficult narrowing it down to just the bare essentials — I’m the kind of person who carries extra stuff, just in case.|
Incorporating Minimalism Into Everyday Life
When I was in Dubai, I had to fit everything in one suitcase and my handbag — a challenge for some who prides herself on being prepared for every possible situation and then some. But I did it, and I actually grew to enjoy having so few possessions to hand. I had a clear-out before I left the UK and another one when I came back. Cutting down feels good.
I can’t see myself scaling down as much as The Minimalists themselves (Fields Millburn packed everything for a ten-month trip into one tiny suitcase) but I’ve started keeping the idea that everything should have a purpose and add value to your life in my head when I do need to buy something new, and also when I need to get rid of clutter.
What are your thoughts on minimalism? Have you watched the documentary? Let me know in the comments!
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Beth, 25, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travel, gin, and the Oxford comma.
I write about cruelty-free beauty, vegan & veggie food, and trying to lead a less wasteful life. I throw the odd think piece in there, too.