Ok, I’m going to talk about it...Minimalism.
But first, as always, thank you for taking the time to read, share, and reply!
So...minimalism. This is not going to be a ballad of what it is, how to be one, and making you feeling guilty for owning too much stuff. If you own too much stuff, that is your issue, not mine. What this will be about, is why I have gotten into minimalism, how it has affected me, and why I continue to minimize.
Minimalism, to me, is a way of living, not exclusively measured in the amount of things you have. I started getting into minimalism about two years ago. I don’t know the exact moment it started, but I remember when my wife got into it, and my journey kicked into a higher gear. It was around the time Marie Kondo became main stream in the US. My wife told me all about her. Told me about the whole idea of thanking things for their service and letting them go. This idea didn’t live too long, but did pop up when we were getting rid of more sentimental things. Before I jump ahead, I think I need to preface this with: we did not get rid of all our stuff.
My wife and I have been on a bit of a journey the last few years. We have been re-finding ourselves a bit. I can get more into the ways we have done so, and how we have arrived at the conclusions and plans we are now implementing, but not today. If you want to know more specifics, let me know by responding to this email or commenting. Anyway, minimalism has been a big piece of this. We have assessed basically everything: physical and digital possessions, jobs, relationships, and even digital and physical personas. Not only do we have what we need and want, but we are on the path to being the people we want to be and surrounded by people we want to be surrounded by. This is the main point of minimalism for us, intentionality. When one is intentional, they tend to have less in quantity, but more in quality.
We sold and donated a lot. We are still doing so, but will be 100% done within the next two months. The kind of things that we sold and donated were clothes, extra furniture, and possessions that were rarely, if ever used. These rarely used things were childhood sentimental items, such as toys, awards, books and comics, and yes all of our physical photos. We did digitize them. I will go into digital minimalism in a bit. We also got rid of those bespoke things like suits, fancy dresses and jewelry. We kept some, but nothing that made us feel like the people that we don’t want to be. Again, more on that later. We did buy a few new things, but not in excess. These were mainly things that we knew would last us for years to come. For example, instead of a ceiling fan in each room, we bought one Dyson fan/air purifier that can be moved from room to room and also cleans the air. Remember, it is about the quality of the things, not the quantity.
Most people are very impetuous when it comes to their digital spaces. They collect things, all the things. Files, folders, duplicates, triplicates, a digital copy to go along with the physical. I, like others, did that in some places, and still do, but I have almost completely fixed this. Both me and my wife went through all of it. As we sifted through our physical spaces, we found things that could be digitized, so we did. We digitized every physical photo, only sparing a few, probably less than a dozen. We did this using the Google Photo Scan app on iOS. It worked well enough, considering we never looked at the physical versions anyway. We did similar things to our documents too, like taxes.
After moving the physical to digital, we consolidated. We consolidated emails, storage accounts, logins, etc. We audited all of our passwords and upped the security where needed. I have deleted upwards of 200 accounts for things I just don’t need. Most of these were free, “just to have” accounts, but they were something I didn’t need and are security risks. Now I only have two emails + my work email. It’s great. No worrying about old, hackable accounts. No thinking about what account is a certain login. It is all intentional.
Also, my storage solution for my business and personal creative endeavors is all cloud based and extremely minimal. It feels great and really helps focus. One of my finds during this process was Notion. It has changed my productivity flow ten fold. Give it a shot, it’s totally free!
The Other Things
I have assessed a lot. My possessions were the easy part. More difficult were the things you can’t quantify. I have stopped pretending to have fake friendships, just to have them. I don’t stop this at friends either. This fully applies to family as well. If we don’t jive, if we are faking it because we are blood, if we are toxic to one another, I stopped playing that poisonous game. I don’t have a digital persona that is different than my real one either. I am me, everywhere and anywhere. Not many people can say this.
My wife realized that social media was not her thing. It didn’t add to her life, but rather took away. It took time, energy, and attention. It made her second guess the things and experiences she had, so she deleted all of them. If she thought any could bring occasional or future value, she just put them on pause. We occasionally need Facebook Marketplace for selling things.
I don’t really get sucked into social media. The only social network I like is Twitter. It is just the least filtered of the bunch. Yeah, Reddit is probably slightly more raw, but with way more trolls, in my experience at least. I still have Facebook and Instagram, but honestly, I am getting over it. I only have Facebook for those one off things you need a Facebook login for. The only reason why I still have Instagram is exposure. I love to make things, be it films, photos, or designs, and I like to share that with the people that care. Since the most eyes are there, I continue to use them. But I continue to assess these regularly. I believe that the content that people expect on Instagram is vain and ego stroking. Most people there just want to see “Fire - 🔥” content and that is not the game I play. I don’t have many followers and I don’t follow many at all.
I have unfollowed a lot of people! If we aren’t friends or provide each other value in some way, I probably have unfollowed them. If you were a friend I haven’t talked to in years, I probably unfollowed. To the people that never post anything and only consume, I don’t want to follow you. You’re the next purge.
Next up is the job. I know my morals and values. I intend to work for a company with similar values. That means a remote first, ethical, impactful company, that is bettering the world. Not through gimmicks or immoral sales. This is a rough time to be switching things up, but time doesn’t stop for you, you have to make shit happen. I want to work with thoughtful people that care. If I can also work with people that are environmentally conscious, understand things like global warming, and provide a sustainable way of working, even better!
Like I mentioned at the start of this, now lengthy letter, minimalism isn’t only less stuff. It is also not a set it and forget it kind of method. Minimalism takes time and thought. If you just sell all your shit and rebuild, you will not be happy, you will resent minimalism and blame it for your ignorance.
If you want to truly live intentionally, only allowing in the things that matter and expelling what doesn’t, give minimalism a try. If you are still unsure of what you want, do some more internal reflection. I can wholeheartedly recommend minimalism, if you take your time and approach it like the lifestyle itself, with intentionalality.
I have written a few things that indirectly relate to minimalism. See the links below:
Link tsCreativ articles related to minimalism
If you want me to go into more detail about any of the things I have mentioned, please let me know by reaching out. If you think others would enjoy this and/or find some value, please share!