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Minimalism: More with Less

By Beatriz de Souza Neves

Photo Via The Minimalists 

Living in a western materialistic environment makes it is harder to look away from big sales. Minimalists, however, break this pattern and go against our excessively consumerist culture.

Minimalists are people that decide to live comfortably with the fewest belongings as possible. Their philosophy is to get rid of things that do not add value to their life. A minimalist lifestyle does not mean sacrificing all the modern benefits, living alone in the woods without TV and the internet, or a set of rules that must be strictly followed. Anyone can do it and decide to what extent. Embracing minimalism means living only with the things you really need and existing outside of mass consumption.

An easy introduction to the topic for anyone who might be interested would be the Matt D’Avella’s documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About Important Things, available on Netflix. The documentary follows the story of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus’ book tour through the U.S. The film introduces the minimalism movement by showing their journey along with other important voices in the movement. 

Once you have adopted this lifestyle, it is not always easy to sustain it, especially in the beginning. Knowing that, Joshua and Ryan initiated the free local meetup groups that now take place in over 100 cities around the world, including Montreal. Currently, the Montreal group is administered by Clarissa Fleck and Jason Perez. The meetup is a safe space where everyone supports each other through the obstacles that this journey brings forth.

Along with the obvious financial benefit, adopting a minimalist lifestyle helps to refocus yourself, the house becomes easier to clear, the productivity goes up, and, consequently, there is less stress. The benefits go beyond the materialist side of it.

According to  Jason Perez, for instance, “I just love the idea of how my life is now versus what I know it could have been. I have freedom that I never had before with all this stuff”.  

Yet, we are constantly being exposed to advertisements that try to convince us to buy more and more every day. This aspect of modern culture has created this myth that happiness is directly connected to possessing as much as possible. For this reason, it requires focus, courage, and determination in order to apply this massive change to your life. According to Clarissa Fleck, “It takes more self-control […] Sometimes it is harder in moments when you don’t have that energy to put in self-control to go through the simplest path.”

On the other hand, once the first step has been taken, the easier it gets to follow this path. Starting with a messy drawer or looking at the clothes you have not used in over a year are  probably the best ways to start this change.

Minimalism seems like a simple answer for numerous problems that would set us free from the passion to possess, modern mania, the desperation to upgrade and the necessity to hold on to things. Why not give a minimalist life a chance? As Socrates once said, “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”



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