What I’ve Learned From Minimalism

As a highly sensitive introvert, I’ve always felt like the world was too much. Noises were too much. Lights were too much. People were too much. Too loud or inquisitive, when all I wanted was to be left alone with my ideas.

As a kid, I used to long for even more noise, either for dreaming of singing for crowded arenas or for wanting to live in big cities. How little do you know about yourself as a teenager.

When I found out about minimalism, I had a vague idea that it originated from Japan or something. All I knew beyond that was Muji, the store.

At one point in my life, I felt disconnected — as if I didn’t belong this fast, noisy world. I began searching for answers in buddhist books, which are quite essentialist at their core. I fell in love with ancient eastern philosophies. They resonated with me immediately and every word felt wise. It all made sense.

Minimalism gave me space, time and quality

After realizing that more is not necessarily better (which went against any advice from my family), I began to go through the items I had. Most of them were old purchases that I no longer liked, or unwanted gifts that didn’t add any value to my life. Throwing them away or donating them felt liberating.

The minimalist mindset shows me what I need and what I don’t need. What’s essential, and what can be removed, and I realize how much more peaceful everything is when I don’t have too much. Now, I curate my items instead of just buying them on a whim. I ask myself if the appointment, phone call or meeting will add any value before saying yes.

We don’t have to live surrounded by stuff and feeling remorse for recycling gifts. What’s the purpose in storing one more meaningless item, or throwing it in the trash while it may be meaningful to someone else?

Asking the right questions

I now ask myself a few questions before buying or keeping anything: Have I used this in the past six months?, Will I use this in the next six months?, Do I feel well/confident wearing this?, Is this comfortable/practical to wear?, Does this item reflect who I am, and who I want to be?, Will it last?

I value different things in objects or clothing and choose to buy less but better. Some items may cost more, but if they last longer and their quality is better I prefer to spend a little more.

Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life, as defined uniquely by each individual.

Linda Breen Pierce

These questions may also apply to personal finances, food, your time or work. I’d say balance is always key. Don’t spend more than you can, don’t eat too much or too little, have a mindful approach to work and stress, cancel the appointment if it’s just filling your schedule.