Netflix has recently released a documentary entitled “The Minimalists: Less Is Now” created by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. These two best friends call themselves the minimalists. They also created a similar documentary on the same topic in 2016 with the title “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things''. These guys have taken a part of the world by storm and they have already helped over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less. Their eBook 16 Rules for Living with Less can also be downloaded for free on their website theminimalists.com.
So, what is minimalism all about? Where did it come from and how can it be used as a tool to increase our overall wellness? This movement, which has mainly begun in the United States, arose due to a huge wave of people searching for more meaning in their life, beyond the things that surrounded them in their homes. These same people also wanted to redesign their surroundings, to enhance their quality of life. Some of them often piled up so many things in their closets for instance, that they could barely be able to remember what they owned. People were searching for something simpler, so they could focus on what was essential without trying too hard or struggling to do so.
Millburn suggests that a 30-day challenge could get anyone started. All we have to do is this: we must try to get rid of one thing every day for a month, something that brings no value to our life whatsoever — think Marie Kondo. And then, the snowball effect will possibly take place in that scenario since in many cases documented, it did. People that have taken on this challenge admitted that they could not stop once they began. In fact, they wanted to get rid of more stuff once they realized that they could not find a valid reason to hold on to them anymore. Some only wanted to donate or throw away more stuff because they saw that it had no place in their life, not now nor later in a hypothetical future.
The items that stick around are the ones that you most likely will need to use frequently or every now and then. The sentimental stuff can stay as well, because they also somehow bring value to our lives, especially if it reminds us of a loved one; or for example if it’s a collection that you have been working on for a while. My snow globe collection is used as decoration for example, and I consider them valuable in their own way.
The way I see it, these documentaries revealed to me that this sort of lifestyle or personal challenge can be awfully therapeutic to say the least. Just like knitting, painting, running or long nature walks. “The more action you take, the more you want to take action”.
Minimalism is not about getting rid of your belongings, but about simplicity instead. It’s about redefining what truly brings value to your life, by reducing all that is unnecessary, in order to better focus on what is most important. This practice encourages us to make space for something else, something more valuable.
If you were to look around your home during this lockdown, how many things around you actually add meaning to your life? Simplifying our lives may help us lead a more fulfilling life. By narrowing down what we truly need, we are better equipped to see what matters most to us. We don’t really need all the excess stuff.
This documentary poses the questions: do we really need more, and when will it be enough? The moral of this documentary is: the more you have, the less fulfilled you feel. But the less you have, the more you’ll unwillingly express gratitude towards the things you do have. Deep down, we are all trying to live a more meaningful life, and this could be our start.