Minimalism: The Key to Happiness?

Today, consumerism is at its peak, especially with Christmas closing in. After being employed at a well-known, big-box store I began seeing it daily: people purchasing materials to feed their endless hunger. It made me wonder: are objects negatively impacting our lives and is minimalism really the answer to it all?

Upon said thoughts, I quickly began researching people who practice minimalism and what they had to share about the process, as well as some tips and rebuttals to misconceptions.

One website, theminimalists.com, showcased a pair of well-known individuals, Joshua Fields and Ryan Nicodemus at the center of this movement. They stated minimalism is, “Freedom from the trappings of consumer culture we’ve built our lives around.”

Fields and Nicodemus continued expressing that the unnecessary emphasis we place on objects makes us forget about the things that matter such as: our health, relationships, passions and more.

In another online article, Joshua Becker also expresses concern for object idolization. He states that media portrays celebrities and their expensive luxuries as the highest achievement. However, the media does not showcase minimalists in the same light, therefore, idolizing consumerism even more.

Upon further Googling of the subject, I found a Buzzfeed YouTube video of an employee attempting minimalism for a week. Before starting, she interviewed a minimalistic friend about what the hardest part about minimalism is. The friend chuckled and replied, “It’s easy. That makes it easier, because it’s harder to have more items.”After beginning the process of de-cluttering her room, the Buzzfeed journalist stated that she had preconceived notions that she would feel empty once her room was bare. However, after removal of the clutter she felt optimistic about the week to come. Upon reflection of her room she realized, “It’s not that I was buying more stuff, I hadn’t been letting go of anything.”

During the duration of the challenge, she interviewed another woman named Melanie Pensak. Pensak considers herself minimalist, yet she had more items than one may qualify to be minimalistic. Pensak explains that, “everything I have I love it, or it has some sort of story behind it or serves some sort of purpose.”

At the end of the week, the company journalist described the experience as a positive one, that she felt better with fewer things. She also came to a similar conclusion as many others: there is no cookie cutter way to go about starting minimalism, one must find what works for them.

A couple from a minimalism how-to video elaborated further, explaining that minimalism is a personal process and does not have a set time span for success. It can take months or years.

In an age where we are targeted for products and consistently purchasing more and more I believe the minimalists have something right. Making sure one is buying for purpose and not excess is vital, because less really can be more.