In a fast-paced era of technological advancement, we have become engulfed in consumerism. We have surrounded ourselves with plentiful heaps of everything. Clothing, food, household items, are all collected in excessive amounts. We fear falling behind so we keep up with trends. The latest iPhone. A sweater vest in another color. We wait hours in line for a pair of the latest sneakers. However, there is a solution to our consumerism dilemma.
What is Minimalism?
Minimalism is the practice of living simply. It involves letting go of worldly possessions until someone is left with only what they need. This does not mean throwing out older items and replacing them with a spontaneous shopping spree. Instead, a minimalist lifestyle encourages us to give up our consumer habits by being grateful for what we already have.
If a closet is overflowing with come-and-go trends, minimalism can encourage us to get rid of the pieces we don’t normally wear. After all, most people only wear 50% of their closets. Instead of holding on to that extravagant gown in the back of your closet, maybe it’s time to offer it to someone else. The concept of minimalism applies to everything, from clothing to household items.
Why is Minimalism Necessary?
Minimalism prevents us from feeding into toxic consumer culture fueling our society. It preaches that happiness doesn’t stem from material possessions but rather through what you already have. Similar to hedonic adaptation in psychology, minimalism recognizes that consumerism is a tedious cycle of dissatisfaction. A newly purchased item quickly loses its value in our minds over time until we purchase something else. Soon, purchasing items become the norm as we struggle to fill the bottomless pit of greed.
The average American household encompasses over 300,000 items. We don’t need all of them. If we focused less on excessiveness and lived in satisfaction, life would be more content.
Minimalism does not promise happiness. It is not a magical solution. We should not expect to feel overjoyed after getting rid of our belongings and feeling the urge to replace them. Minimalism is simply the practice of being satisfied with what we already own. To become effective, we must apply gratefulness to our daily lives by focusing on the intangibles.