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Change,  Economics

Minimalism as a Way of Life

Minimalists are people who consciously and intentionally try to live only with what they really need. The mantra would be: “Identify the essential, and eliminate everything else.”

The logic lies in that all those things that populate the drawers and cabinets, create stress for not having time to use them all, generate guilt for having wasted unused, tie you or make you more difficult to change (a move, for example), they are clearly an operative leverage that loses value to more time is accumulated and, in addition, its production has generated polluting waste to which you continue collaborating as you acquire new things.

A succulent in a white ceramic pot against a blue wall

While minimalism is not against capitalism, it is against consumerism. Or, at least, against consumption without control. It seems that when you have more things that you can use and want more than you can afford, you enter a vicious cycle in which your things do not work for you, but you do for them.

Identify the essentials, and eliminate everything else…

The solution? Again, identify the essentials, and stay with just that. However, it seems that the essential varies quite a lot from one person to another.

There are extreme minimalists who live with only 100 things, there is the project 33 garments consisting of the obvious: to have only 33 pieces of clothing or even a kind of game called “30-Day Minimalism Game” which consists of withdrawing from your life three things a day for a month. There is also the “one goes out one” that almost all minimalists apply and in essence it comes to saying that if you buy a new thing, you discard its old version.

It is true that most of the strictest minimalists are found in English speaking countries, however, there are also Spanish speakers interested in this philosophy of not having more than what they need, although they adapt it to their day to day life. Anita, for example, is a minimalist living in Costa Rica:

Minimalism as a way of life is a current that focuses on simplification. It is a lifestyle in which you seek to have only what you need, love and inspire you, at least from my point of view. It is a revaluation of your priorities. I believe that the definition adapts to each person and, in addition, changes over time. At first you may see it as a way to unravel that room of disorder, but as time goes on, you begin to find the philosophy behind it.
There is a misperception that being a minimalist is living on four white walls, with no more possessions than the basic ones and going out into the world with your backpack. Yes, there are people practicing it in this extreme, or so they say, but those white rooms are better for Instagram than to really live in them; Being minimalist goes far beyond the amount of things you have and neither should you go over:

It does not make sense to have a certain number of things if this limits you in the activities that you would like to do.

“The idea of ​​minimalism is to simplify, make your life more bearable. When we are very rigid it can be counterproductive, because it falls in another extreme and life gets complicated in the other direction. It does not make sense to have only a certain number of things if this limits you in the activities that you would like to do. What you are looking for is to free your time, money and energy to focus on what really makes sense, not the other way around”.

But, the big question, why should I do it? Well, it seems that it has many advantages. However, most minimalists recommend that if you are good with your stuff, do not try it then, after getting rid of them you will feel sorry for the emptiness, and you will want to acquire as a rebound new versions of it:

“In my house the 3 (my husband, my daughter and I) are allergic to dust and moisture. Having few things has made cleaning much easier, so we live without allergies. Because what we have we keep it in use, there are also things that acquire a smell when stored, at the time of cleaning everything is much easier and faster. It is also much easier to choose what to wear, everything is ordered without much effort, there is more space, you save a lot, you do not pollute so much, there is more free time, you become more critical and you also value and care more what you have … could continue all day saying advantages”.

To leave the families, we also have 29-year-old Kevin Trujillo: “I’m from Quito, Ecuador. I study multimedia design and for me minimalism is a tool that has helped me to achieve goals that were impossible to me years ago. Now, by adopting a simpler life, I can fulfill dreams and do things I did not think I could do. “

“I have been minimalist for 4 years. Before I had a fairly consumer lifestyle, I lived with my parents and worked to pay debts only. A backpacking trip to Peru made me realize that having few things helped me move with more freedom. I also learned that there are many ways to be happy and the definition of success and happiness is different for everyone.”

As for how many things he owns or owns, he declares that he does not follow rules. «I do not have 33 garments or 100 things. What I do try to fulfill is the rule of “enter one leaves another” because it makes me really evaluate what I have, if the purchase is necessary and if what I’m about to get rid of is really something I no longer need. I live in an attic room, I do not have a living room or kitchen. Only a terrace with a room and a bathroom. This has forced me to have few things and although I have been living almost 2 and a half years already here, I still think I have what it takes ».

“The main advantage is the lack of attachment to material and sentimental goods. It is favorable because instead of being dedicated to maintaining a lifestyle where the objective is to accumulate objects, now I try to dedicate myself to study the career that I always wanted and never could. And spend more time with the people I love the most. As I tell you, it is not only in terms of the material, but also I have achieved inner peace”.

And well, how to be minimalist. At first, if you have a floor of between 45 and 90 m² and a couple of things from the telemarketing or old technology accumulated, it is going to be a titmatic task, they say. Kevin believes that it is best to start small:

“You can start being minimalist by the simplest steps, start small. To clean a surface that is full of things that we do not use or ornaments that we simply do not take into account, I think that is a good starting point. Also, to realize how much we have or what things we are accumulating without sense”.

Minimalism is a daily construction, it is not an end, it is not something that you cross off the list of slopes when you get to 33 garments. You will not be a fit minimalist when you reach a point, you are as long as you are in the process. It consists of living a conscious life, with a deliberate purpose and carrying only that which helps you on that path; because at the end of the day is that, a road under construction and as Ryan Bingham said: with too much weight we can not move and the slower we move, the quicker we will die.

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