Minimalism 001. What is minimalism?

Hardeep Nagra
Hardeep Nagra

In this post, I’ll give you a brief overview of what minimalism is, my experience with it, and why I’m picking it up again.

A minimal desk set up
A minimal desk set up

Minimalism 001. What is minimalism?

I know what you’re thinking, “Do we really need another post about how great minimalism is?”. Before you decide to skip this one, I promise you this isn’t me preaching about how great and wonderful being a ‘minimalist’ is. And that’s because I’m not a minimalist. I do, however, conform to some of its principles. It’s helped me in the past, so I’ve decided to revisit it.

In this post, I’ll give you a brief overview of what minimalism is, my experience with it, and why I’m picking it up again. Who knows, you might even decide to give it a go after reading this.

What is minimalism?

Minimalism is being intentional with the way you live your life by ensuring everything you own or use has value and fulfils a purpose.

Minimalism started through art and design. It found its way into mainstream media in the 2000s and was made especially popular through the minimalists and the Netflix special on Marie Kondo.

When people think of minimalism, they think of ridding yourself of all your personal possessions and to live with just the very basics. It’s not. And it’s not all about the physical aspect, either. For me, minimalism is a philosophy whereby you make sure that everything you own serves a purpose for you that is meaningful. I apply this to everything I do, not just things I own.

Who is minimalism for?

Minimalism is for those who feel burdened by their possessions. For those who feel like their excessive belongings are causing anxiety. It’s for those who just feel like there is too much going on in their lives, and they wish they could just simplify things.

What are some of its benefits?

It differs depending on you and your needs. For example, I’m a visual person, so seeing clutter makes me feel anxious. When I first learnt about minimalism, the physical act of decluttering itself was a considerable benefit for me. Not only because I was able to get rid of things physically that I didn’t need, but it also somehow freed up space in my mind.

Minimalism can also help you to be more productive, as you only possess the tools that serve a purpose (and thus not wasting time on those that do not). It can also save you money. Firstly, by selling your extra possessions that are no longer needed. Secondly, by considering each future purchase in terms of whether it really serves you purpose.

Is minimalism a fad?

To some extent, yes, thanks largely to social media. My YouTube feed is full of individuals sharing their minimalist lifestyle and showing off their beautiful but sparsely furnished homes. It can give off the wrong impression. But equally, the rise of minimalism through social media can’t be viewed as a bad thing either because it’s helped make it more popular. And that is important because I genuinely believe that minimalism can help people, starting with those out there like me who feel anxious about the number of possessions they own. Just remember, it’s not about getting rid of all of your belongings, but about ensuring the things you own serve a purpose to you and fulfil your needs.

Minimalism is what you make of it. There’s no right or wrong way of doing it.

My experience with minimalism

Minimalism taught me that it was okay to let go of things if it no longer served a purpose. Things change; style, taste, fashion. Naturally, you change with the times, and things you once bought because you wanted or needed it are no longer required.

I can’t recall exactly how I stumbled on minimalism, but I imagine it was via a Google search of ‘how to get rid of excess clothes’. Over the years I’d bought a lot of high-end, designer clothes. I had things I hadn’t even worn before. But, after losing a lot of weight for my wedding in 2014, more than half my wardrobe no longer fit me. I had a hard time letting go of clothes, particularly when I knew how much I’d spent on them!

But through minimalism and the process of decluttering, I learnt that ‘getting rid’ didn’t mean destroying. Things in good condition went to either my brothers or to charity, and things in not so great condition would get recycled. That made me feel much better about the entire process because my things weren’t going to waste. Instead, they could hopefully find purpose for someone else.

I ended up doing the same thing for all the tech gear I’d amassed over the years. Things I had used once or twice and then forgotten about. It wasn’t just physical things; I removed apps that I just didn’t use (I had 12 photo editing apps at one point — who needs 12 photo editing apps?!).

The great thing about the process of going through minimalism is that you can apply it to different aspects of your life.

Why again, why now?

Spending the best part of 18 months at home because of the pandemic makes one appreciate their home more. And I was beginning to see that every space in our house filled with things we’d once purchased but no longer needed. Seeing this daily started to grind on me, and I found myself feeling irritable because of it.

Minimalism has helped fight this feeling in the past, so I want to remind myself of what it is and how to go about trying to live a more minimal lifestyle. Through a series of posts on minimalism, you’ll hear how I’ve used it in various aspects of my life, and hopefully, it inspires you to give it a go. Especially if, like me, you often feel anxious about the number of things you own.

End note

Thanks for reading. If you’ve got experience of minimalism, or you’re feeling like you might want to give it a try, let me know by leaving a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Want to see how I get so much done during the day? Go check out my Skillshare classes on how to boost your productivity. Want to try Skillshare premium for free and unlock access to thousands of great classes? Sign up here.

Until the next one,


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