Lessons I learnt from minimalism

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I talk a lot about minimalism because it really changed my life perspective. Even if I used to be a maximalist before, I was a very simple person. As I liked simple things, it’s almost like I was waiting to find minimalism and it’s nice to see that there is something that suits me so well. Other than that, minimalism taught me to appreciate more what I have now and even in the difficult moments of my life I believe that a better day will come. So minimalism is also related to optimism and faith, at least to me, and it works best in difficult moments. And now that I think about it better, it’s not wrong. Actually, in his book, Goodbye things, Fumio Sasaki says that one of the reasons many Japanese chose a simpler lifestyle is because of a catastrophe, the Great East Japan Earthquake, that affected so many people and made them change their perspective on life and their possessions.

Thus minimalism taught me as well about simplicity, about appreciating the present, about not caring about things, but caring about ourselves and the people we love. Minimalism is about reducing possessions in order to simplify our lives and have more time for the important things, more time for taking care of ourselves. There are too many things to do around the house anyway, so why make our job more difficult.

Another aspect related to minimalism that I really like is caring for the nature. I learnt about ecology in school and I really enjoyed participating in projects for environment protection. Thus, while practicing minimalism, step by step I started giving up on many chemical products (for example cleaning products, shower gels etc.) and I became more concerned about plastic use. I realized that many changes were not only good for the environment, but also for me, for my health and my finances.

Speaking of finances, minimalism can be used as a way of educating ourselves on how to do shopping. Like many other people, I used to buy a lot of unnecessary things that I thought were pretty or necessary to me. I remember that once I bought online a piece of clothing that promised to make me sweat and lose weight easier. I was foolish to believe all that marketing crap, but I gave it a chance and realized that it wasn’t working the way it was meant to. It was a foolish decision but I learnt that losing weight must be done by making more efforts, by adjusting my lifestyle and by doing the sport that I actually hated. Since then I must’ve bought other unnecessary things but at some point I started to question myself more often: you like it but do you really need it? Can’t you use what you have instead? Where are you going to place it? Are you going to use it for a long time? Is it a good quality product? I would also add the things that I want to buy on my shopping list and let them there for a few days or a week. If I still felt I need them after a few days then I would buy them, but I found myself removing a lot of objects from my list as I didn’t feel the urge of buying them. I would say to myself, I don’t need this, why did I put it on my list? It works well for me because we tend to buy based on the urge we feel at that moment, or because the marketing is so good and subtle in making us believe we need those things.

Actually we don’t need many of them and we can live just fine without all the stuff they sell on the internet or in those nicely organized stores. Buying things comes with a lot of responsibility: we spend money that we can use on something that we really need, we need more space for the things we buy, they might be thrown after a few uses, the waste they produce, we have more things to organize and clean. There are many aspects to take in consideration. I believe that minimalism is some sort of self-education. It’s easy to begin with, but it takes time to adjust your lifestyle to it and a lot of effort to maintain it for a long period of time. But once you get used to it you can’t live without it. This is what minimalism means to me.

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