When I tell people I'm a Minimalist most think I'm just using a fancy word for being poor, lol. And that simply isn't true. In fact, if all you have are your possessions, then you truly are very poor indeed!
Nine years ago I literally sold up everything I owned and hit the road with my sixteen-year-old son to become a Digital Nomad. People thought I'd completely lost the plot. "Mid-life crises?" my friendly neighbor inquired at the time.
But how could I explain to people that my material possessions did not define me and that I wanted freedom from the material world for a while to travel and
give my son some life experiences that school was never going to give him?
At that time I had just started a very successful online training business that funded our international travels and allowed me the luxury to home-school my son along the way. Initially, it was quite an adjustment to go from a full 2 bedroomed house with a large garden and swimming pool to a 23-kilogram suitcase. But we adjusted quickly and I was very relieved to be free from all the headaches that came with running a large home.
Fast-forward to nine years later and although I am no longer a Digital Nomad as such (I settled down a bit), I'm still a die-hard Minimalist.
Minimalists realize and embrace the philosophy that less is more, that we don't need to fill our lives with possessions to be happy and that possessions don't actually define us. We believe that experiences are more meaningful than things and we tend to fill our lives with things that money can't buy. But more than this, we also realize that Minimalism has a positive impact on the environment.
Consumerism is a huge contributor to climate change, responsible for up to 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The fast fashion trend also makes people buy a lot more unnecessary clothing, which requires a massive amount of water to produce and contributes to materials being dumped, causing harm to plant and animal life.
It's vitally important to the future of our planet to be aware of your personal carbon footprint. We have to start taking drastic action to combat climate change. Becoming a Minimalist will certainly minimize your personal carbon footprint without a doubt.
For example, I very seldom buy new clothes. I generally shop at 2nd hand or vintage stores. I am not a fashion-addict and the latest trends don't influence me in the slightest. I never buy fashion magazines and I send my "old" clothes to charity organizations or recycle them into shopping bags, cleaning cloths and the likes. As for appliances, if they break, I get them fixed and if I can buy 2nd-hand, even better. I no longer live in a mansion and my new abode is a small fully furnished and equipped studio apartment so I literally didn't need to buy a thing before I moved in almost 2 years ago. I can up and leave whenever I want and I won't be saddled with a ton of crap to get rid of.
As for shopping, I avoid buying things I don't need, anything wrapped in or made of plastic and have recently started making my own eco-friendly toiletries and cleaning goods. When my friends find out what my monthly overheads are they are blown away that anyone my age could possibly live on so little. But seriously, why fill your life with crap you really don't need that is most damaging to the environment? I don't use much power since I have so few lights and electrical appliances. I seldom switch the heating on in winter, preferring to dress warmly and on very hot summer days, I'll use my fan to stay cool.
The worldwide push for eco-friendliness has also created many other factors that are causing businesses to embrace sustainability and that's a good thing!
The less we buy the smaller our carbon footprint is.
Which brings me to the concept of Circular Economy.
"A circular economy (often referred to simply as "circularity") is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. Circular systems employ reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a closed-loop system, minimizing the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions."
It's this philosophy that has spawned the sharing economy and all the amazing innovation that has been born from it.
Why buy when you can rent and keep things in circulation?
I dare you to try Minimalism. Downgrade, buy less, recycle, rent instead of buy and shop for experiences, not things. I guarantee you that your life will feel more fulfilling.
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IMAGE CREDIT: Imani Clovis