You have to get rid of all your possessions.

Don’t spend money on stuff.

Save the money on rent and live in a car.

Wear only white and black.

 

Minimalism, I always thought of it as some kind of crazy hippie lifestyle.

Practiced by a bunch of people who live in a van, have little money and shower once a week in order to call themselves Minimalists.

A lot of that bias probably emerged due to the fact that some people on youtube are doing this kind of crazy stuff and propagate a false image of Minimalism.

However, what I recently learned about Minimalism is that it’s not about living on the edge of society and trying to boycott the system.

It is not about getting rid of all stuff and a competition of who owns least. It is not about making sacrifices but rather about shifting your attention away from things that don’t matter.

The core idea behind Minimalism is to create more space for the important things in life: more time with family, more time with friends, creating deeper relationships and finding more joy in the moment.

It is about living life with intention, avoiding compulsory consumption and eliminating the noise.

The concept really appealed to me when searching for ways to travel light and stumbling over The Minimalism Documentary on Netflix.

Traveling light as a gateway to a simpler life


I didn’t come across Minimalism because I intentionally searched for “How to become a Minimalist” .

I am currently planning my next year and thinking about my big trip that is coming up. The motiviation is to travel as light as possible and only carry what’s necessary.

By searching for “travel light” or “travel essentials” you will inevitably come across the concept of Minimalism.

This is how I found Joshua’s & Ryan’s blog, theminimalists.com.

The following is just a quick snapshot of the first steps that I took to declutter my life and prepare for next year. I will create more detailed articles about it, especially about the consequences that came with it.

But for now, this article should give you an overview of the areas I tackled so you can maybe try it out yourself.

minimal_minimalist_decluttering_electronics

Step 1 – Getting rid of electronics

The first thing I did, was to sell electronics that I didn’t really use anymore and that just took up physical as well es mental space.

The greatest motivation behind that, was to make some money so I could buy a new Laptop bag because mine broke a couple of months ago. In addition, there was really no excuse to own 2 Smartphones (older iPhone 6 & S8), 2 iPads (old Gen /iPad Pro), a Nex C3 Camera and 2 Speakers (Sonos & UE).

My goal was to sell them no matter what, rather than queezing the last dime out of it.

After all my devices got into the hands of their new owners, I felt a sense of relieve.

All of the sudden I had to worry less about all the cables, the batteries that I had to charge or the software that I had to update.

Every device that I own has a purpose now and I don’t need to make a choice whether I’m bringing my iPhone or my S8 on my travels.

minimal_minimalist_decluttering_clothes

Step 2 – Getting rid of clothes

My wardrobe was next. I sorted out all the clothes that I haven’t worn in the last couple of months and donated them to charity. Left are a couple of t-shirts, 4 pants and 2 jackets.

During the process I also learned more about sustainability and our devastating “Fast Fashion” trend. Inspired and shocked at the same time by watching the documentary “The True Costs”.

I realized that I need to change my attitude towards buying clothes. In practice, this means I will avoid to purchase cheap clothes that are produced unethically and under horrible conditions for the workers.

I will start to support fair trade brands that treat people fairly and pay attention to sustainability. Even if that means to pay a higher price. I rather own less things that last for a long time than many cheap things that I never wear.

minimal_minimalist_decluttering_paper

Step 3 – Getting rid of paper

It is astonishing how much paper we manage to accumulate over time.

Especially living in Germany with all its bureaucratic structures, it gets pretty easy to amass a ridiculous amount of trees in your home.

Every year some kind of bureau will send you something that you need to archive for the next 40 YEARS. Yeaaah, right.

I decided the best thing to do was to archive them digitally, also because I don’t want to carry them around the world.

Evernote did the trick for me and I managed to digitize all my important paperwork in less than 2 days.

The image recognition software works wonderfully and combined with the fantastic camera of the Galaxy S8 everything looks like professionally scanned.

I am just really fu**** if Evernote goes bankrupt someday.

Then goodbye my dear “Meldebescheinigung zur Sozialversicherung gem. §25 DEÜV”.

LOL.

minimal_minimalist_digital_decluttering

Step 4 – Getting rid of digital clutter

This sounds like a paradox to my previous action but bear with me. While I’m moving certain aspects of my life to the cloud for archiving purposes, I’m removing unnecessary digital services at the same time.

A phenomenon that I’ve noticed in nowadays society is our ability to focus and our reduced attention span.

This is due to the exponential growth of technology and digital services that adds so much noise to our lives.

I decided to sign off from services and tools that I also haven’t used for a long time. I deleted a ton of apps that adds to the noise on my phone and on my mac, I unsubscribed from many email list that I didn’t read anyway and deleted my account from services that weren’t useful in the first place.

The process took a while, but damn, does it feel good to get less promotional emails and not having to swipe 5 times to find the right app.

What now?


minimal_minimalist_onward

I just cancelled my apartment and I’m currently looking for an old VW bus that I can turn into my next living room.

If you have any leads, feel free to get in touch.

No, I am just kidding.

I am far from being a Minimalist and I also don’t aspire to become one.

However, I found many aspects of the concept interesting and will adopt them into my life over time.

I really feel that some aspects of Minimalism can be helpful for EVERYONE. For instance removing material items that one doesn’t use anyway. Or refrain from adding the 100’s T-Shirt to the wardrobe.

What you can try out is to have a look in your home and ask yourself the question how much value you gain from certain objects.

You don’t have to throw them away, but put them in a box and see if you going to miss them after 30 days. See how it feels when your apartment suddenly has less visual clutter. Or that you don’t have to think for 30 min what you going to wear today.

If you are more interested in the topic, I put some resources together that might be a great start for your journey:

 

People to follow

Colin Wright
Joshua Becker
Joshua & Brian – The Minimalists

 

Videos to watch

The Art of Letting Go – The Minimalists
Joshua Becker: “The More of Less”
Joshua Fields Millburn on The Power of Being a Minimalist with Lewis Howes

 

Podcasts

Optimal Living Podcast
The Minimalists Podcast

 

Fair Trade Brands

Everlane
People Tree
Patagonia
Armedangels
Greenality
Grüne Erde
Bleed
Saint Basics
Kollateralschaden
ThokkThokk

 

Brand Sustainability Ranking

rankabrand.com

 

Minimalism Documentary

Minimalism – A documentary about the important things

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (Official Trailer)
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