Minimalism

More or less, I believe less is more. I first became intrigued by the concept of minimalism years ago after watching a documentary called Minimalism. It was oddly inspiring.

By the next day, I had cleaned out my closet and filled a few trash bags with clothes for donation. A few things were in bad enough shape that I trashed them. Suddenly, it seemed so stupid that I still kept one of my favorite shirts from high school even though it had a stain on it. Probably pasta oil.

My methodology for getting ridding of clothes was simple. I made 3 piles. The first was for my favorite things. I knew them well because I wore them often. The second was for the things that I sort of liked or liked a lot but hardly wore. That was the "maybe" pile. I took that pile and stored those clothes away and out of sight so that if I thought of something I wanted from it in the next few months, I could go and get it. I might have gone back for one or two things but most of it ended up in the same place as the third pile, Goodwill or the garbage.

I enjoyed my cleaner closet, and for a while, that was the only thing I minimalized. Later, I started getting rid of some more stuff. I had a ton of things that I did not need or use and was not particularly fond of. I did not dislike these things, but I did not particularly like them either. How much can one really love a pencil sharpener on their desk when they haven't used a pencil since high school anyway? And why did I need any pencils, or seventeen pens? I got rid of some things.

A year or two later, I shifted the minimalist perspective to my phone. I deleted all of the apps that I had not used that week, plus a few that I did use but did not want to be using so much. I added them back more thoughtfully as needed over time and only kept a handful of apps on the first screen. I could always swipe over to get to the rest of them, but there was no reason to have the App Store in my face every time I opened my phone when I only needed to download a new app one time in every few thousand uses probably, if that.

Getting rid of non-essential things that I did not explicitly enjoy allowed me to more easily see the things I did like and the surprisingly limited number of things I did need. I did not have nearly as many things to take care of, worry about, put away, clean up, pick up, pack up, or move. As an example of that, I lived in San Francisco for about a year and a half and was able to live in four different places in a few different parts of town because moving my limited possessions was so quick and easy and cheap. I only had to splurge on an Uber XL because of my mattress. When I moved back to New York, I left my mattress behind and moved everything I had with two checked bags and a carry-on. All I had to do was get on the plane. The mobility that is enabled by minimalism is a wonderful type of freedom. That is only one of the many benefits that I have found.

Over time, minimalism has brought me to a place where I have begun to view all of life through a minimalist lens in a way. I have applied it to my subscriptions, my activities, and even my beliefs. Minimalism is not just about getting rid of things. It is about seeing more clearly what you need and what you love and gaining appreciation for those things.

Less is more, if you appreciate it as such.

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