Minimalist.Me | What is Minimalism?

Minimalistic pronounciation

Ah, Minimalism. When I’m in a conversation, I am often nervously asked what is meant by being a Mi-ni-ni-ma-something.

Interestingly, people seem both uncomfortable and intimidated by this perplexing word.

And even with the growing number of Minimalist bloggers and influencers putting out new content each day, people are still getting confused. In fact, some people even go as far as connecting Minimalism to a new age religion or a cult.

Hence to the general eye, Minimalism may seem “empty”, “cold” and “restricted” – or er’ something.

So here I am, giving it a stab to try and set the record straight.

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism is a tool to help create awareness differentiating between what you want and what you need. It means making conscious decisions to only keep what is necessary and functional in your life and removing any physical and emotional clutter.

Where does Minimalism come from?

Minimalism is not a new concept. In fact, it has been around for more than 10 decades. Pretty much old news.

Fun fact – Kasimir Malevich, a Russian painter may have first introduced Minimalism in 1913 by painting a black square on a larger white square. Back then it wasn’t called Minimalism, but in the following years to come, it would be born and introduced in many forms.

Let’s take a quick history lesson.

Minimalism in Visual Arts

In reaction to Expressionism, Minimalism (also known as ABC art) was introduced as an art movement in New York after World War II. Artists such as Donald Judd, Frank Stella and Robert Morris shaped minimalistic art through extreme simplicity. Stripping away from its form and only keeping what is essential.

Minimalism in Visual Art
Minimalism in Music

Minimalism was also adopted in music by the works of composers such as John Adams, Phillip Glass and Steve Reich. Its technique features repetition and gradual variation.

Minimalism in Music
Minimalism in Architecture

In the late 1800s, Minimalism made its appearance in architecture through architects such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who believed in the motto “Less is more”.

Minimalism in Architecture

But how does Minimalism fit into a lifestyle?

Easy answer –  it should fit into one box.

Just joking…

Let’s talk about one important element for a second – stereotypes.

Each person has their own individual needs, therefore the journey for one Minimalist could be very different from the next’. This often seems to be a misunderstood concept in the Minimalism community.

I recently read a blog on Minimalist types and learned that there are at least 5 types of Minimalists. The Expressionist, the Experientialist, the Enoughist, the Eco-Minimalist and the Soul Minimalist. It sums it up perfectly.

But, by no means does this mean you need to categorise yourself or feel guilty if you don’t relate to any of these “types”. Perhaps you are a combination of these types – that is okay.

To me, this is the beautiful thing about this lifestyle. It can be approached and owned in so many ways!

Therefore, I’m going to let you decide how to implement Minimalism in your life.

Why is Minimalism often frowned upon?

I would need a whole new post to cover this topic in detail. But this may have more to do with the set of rules that society creates for Minimalists rather than the lifestyle itself. Either we don’t fit the “blueprint” or we’re going against the grain of society.

Here are just two of the reasons, that I can come up with, at least in my opinion.

Because it goes against Consumerism

Since we live in a world highly promoted by Consumerism, it should come as no surprise that Minimalism would receive some bad rep in society.

The thought process behind this lifestyle is very counteractive to what we’ve been taught by generations of Consumerism and makes it an uneasy and unfavourable topic to talk about.

It may even step on a few toes – ouch.

The Minimalist Crew
Because society wants a set of rules

We tend to want to put a set of rules on everything and if a box is left unchecked, we easily disregard anything that does not make the “requirements” list.

I’ve seen so many Minimalists on the backfoot as society throws negative comments their way. “You can’t be a Minimalist because you are too colourful.” or “How can you call yourself a Minimalist, you have a 3 bedroom house?”.

Society checkmarks

Final Thoughts

Being a minimalist requires practice but with motivation, it can definitely be achieved.

At the end of the day, the goal is to find the balance between what we want and what we truly need.

I would encourage anyone who is interested or who are already transitioning into this lifestyle to explore all the different areas of being minimalist to see what works best for you.

It should definitely not be an “empty” and “boring” lifestyle choice as many would assume. As a matter of fact, adopting a Minimalist lifestyle could help you achieve a happier and more meaningful life if nothing else.

Create the life you want to need, not what society needs you to want.




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