I believe that a minimalist lifestyle may have a different meaning for each person. For me, it means having more freedom, caring more about people than I do about material things and simplifying my financial life (specially now that I'm recovering from debts I made by making poor decisions in the recent past).
My life has changed drastically in the last months and not only due to external factors, but I've changed a lot of things about myself.
Perhaps one of the biggest decisions I made was when I thought “I want to live a simpler life, I want to have less stuff”.
No, I was not influenced by the documentary Minimalism (which is awesome, by the way). I only searched for this documentary and other materials and testimonials about minimalism after having made my decision to live a simpler life.
My intention never was (and still is not) to follow and spread some cultural movement or something. I just wanted to be simpler, eliminate the excesses and not necessarily cut everything out (maybe one day I’ll do this kind of stuff).
These are some of the attitudes I have taken and that have been changing (gradually and for the better) my life:
1. My life in a backpack
Basically, what I carry in my backpack is enough to make me comfortable when I’m away from home. If in the middle of the day I find out I need to stay the night away from home it's fine.
And is this because I carry a lot of stuff with me?
It's because I need very little to be fine.
Laptop, some laptop's accessories, notebook, pens, Kindle, screwdriver (well, you never know), toothbrush.
In an emergency, if I need to wash some of my clothes, I can do it in the sink or shower ¯ \_(ツ)_/¯
Do my "everyday life's kit" need improvement? Yes. Work in progress.
2. All notifications turned off on my cellphone
One of the best things I’ve ever done!
The only app that still has notifications turned on is Telegram and, even so, most groups and people are "silenced off".
I am the one that must have control over my time, not the other people around me. That way I can take a look at all the messages, emails and so that I received only a few times a day and then take the actions that are really necessary. No energy wasted away.
If something really important (or emergency) happens, people will call me.
3. More room in the closet
Those who know me know that I almost do not buy clothes and most of the pieces of my clothing are t-shirts from tech events (¯ \ _ (ツ) _ / ¯)
Even so, the last time I moved to a new apartment I donated a lot of my clothes and many shoes, which left me with considerably less pieces of clothing.
Still not the ideal amount for me, but I'm almost there. My objective? ALL of my clothes should fit into only one big traveling bag.
Easier to wash, less stuff to carry, to keep and also avoid that morning anguish that comes when you think “what am I going to wear today?”.
Have you stopped to wonder if you REALLY need all the clothes you have? For what?
To wear a different combination every day of the month?
To not repeat fancy dresses when going to different parties?
Are you doing this for yourself or are you afraid of other people's judgment?
Note that, most of the time, the judgments you fear are the same ones you make when thinking about someone else, sometimes without even realizing it.
4. Less stuff at home
I have few furniture (and a most part of it was made by my mother, otherwise I would have even less).
I avoid buying utensils in general, even decorative pieces.
I’m still unboxing some things from the last time I moved and I already have a box labeled “donations”, because I have no reason to accumulate anything, even electronics.
Even my video games: I had 2, now I only have 1.
I got rid of my desktop, now I only have a laptop.
I gave away my eletric guitar and amplifier, now I only have my acoustic one.
Do you know those things that you feel you can't getrid off because you there are so many memories attached to it your heart would break? So… I got rid of all these stuff and I can assure you that this heart ache won't last long (I dare to say: not even a day long).
5. Less accounts and cards
I used to have 3 different bank accounts and 3 different credit cards.
Today I have a single bank account, at a 100% digital bank and a single debit card. Yep, no credit card.
All my revenues and expenses are concentrated in one place and the lack of a credit card forces me to have 100% control over my current and future expenses.
Will I ever get a credit card again? Yes. But only in a few months, when my mind is well trained to my new financial approach.
I am a person with tendency to do a lot of things in life, all the time: work, communities, lectures, heavy metal band, lots of studies, travel. With so much going on and all at the same time, simplifying my life is one of the ways to lessen my worries and make room for what I value the most: people and experiences.
Of course that the sentence "simplifying life" may have different meanings to different persons, but the essence is always the same, as it's written inthis article on The Minimalists:
Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.
If you have other ideas about what is minimalism or other good tips on how to simplify life I would like to know :)