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  • Writer's pictureZoe Maheras

Sustainable Minimalism; Why Decluttering is Necessary and "Freeing"

The denotation of Minimalism is the following: “a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity”. In the documentary “The Minimalists: Less is Now”, Minimalists Joshua and Ryan connect the term “minimalism” with “freedom”. Minimalism isn’t about decluttering your life simply for the sake of not hoarding, but is rather the act of removing invaluable items, and only holding onto sentimental items that give you value. Being a minimalist is being someone who can “thrive with less”.

Throughout the documentary, we hear the perspectives of many, credible psychiatrists, authors, students,etc. However, we really hone in on two stories; the stories of Joshua and Ryan (the Minimalists). We quickly understand that they didn’t immediately become minimalists, in fact, they learned rather recently. Both coming from poor backgrounds, things were getting dysfunctional. They met each other in the fifth grade, and as the years progressed, they made a promise to earn a 50K salary per year to live the “American dream”. With hard and long work hours, both eventually reached this goal, and got the big house, and the decorations, and filled the spaces of their homes with knick-knacks and such. They believed owning a bunch of stuff would make him feel happy and free, “all in the pursuit of the American dream”. Both discerned they were living the American dream, but not their dreams. Ending up having a gaping void in life, they filled that void up with “stuff”; like working long hours. They were living for a paycheck. Living for stuff. To maintain a lifestyle they never really enjoy, but just to be successful financially.

Both realized they became “organized hoarders” at different times in their lives. Ryan figured out that conceptually, you have to indoctrinate your brain to “contract” your needs to create a buffer in your life. He asked questions such as, “What is essential? Necessary? How much stuff is adding value to my life?” and went on from there.

Joshua discovered minimalism when packing his mothers belongings after her passing. Originally, he planned to take boxes of his mothers stuff back with him, but he realized that those boxes would end up sitting in closets for who knows how long. He left his mothers house with a small box filled with only sentimental values. Coming back home, he applied the concept of minimalism to his own life and home. He decluttered and only kept things that really were meaningful to his life, and ended up giving away much.

The average American household has 300,000 items in it. The average American has 4 credit cars, and the average credit card debt would be approx 1600 dollars. Reflecting back on their lives, both minimalists came to the same conclusion, that their habits before transforming into minimalists were compulsive and desperate. Shopping habits before minimalism were compulsive. They would buy anything that seems appealing or beneficial towards changing their lifestyles. It was a bad ongoing cycle. It was easy to fall into a trap of trying to buy our way out of hard things, when in reality, it was just inescapable to avoid. Now Joshua and Ryan focus on prioritizing a clutter-free and simple life to their audience.

Although minimalism may seem easy to us when thinking about it, there are certain platforms that interfere with your progress. Corporations for example, are structured to keep progressively growing and expanding. The problem, however, is that people aren’t really free to choose institutions that have artificial monopolies (large firms that dominate smaller firms), since these institutions manipulate people to believe they are free to choose when the reality is they aren’t and those institutions are choosing them. Do you notice how often the ad’s on your devices are very similar to your interests and wants and needs? This is because your devices saveguard all of your searches and construct a profile based on your psychographics. They release ad’s targeting and predicting what your next moves are, based on your past moves. That way, it seems like it was your choice to click on these ad’s, but in reality, these ads are purposely sent to you. This is an example of Deficit advertising; Sending you emails that make us feel inadequate if you don’t buy it. The end goal being manipulating people into thinking they need to buy more stuff.

There was much I got out of this documentary, as it was incredibly inspiring to see how these people were able to navigate themselves and get control of their lifestyles. We are always so focused on success, especially on the accumulation of stuff, because we believe the more the stuff, the merrier it will be, and the more accomplished we will feel. Dave Bruno, Author of 100 Thing Challenge concurs, stating “We place unnecessary burdens on ourselves to sustain some type of image”. But one saying stated by Joshua that I will really cling onto goes a little bit like this; Our memories are not in our things, our memories are inside us. You are not going to get any value by keeping stuff. If you are willing to let go, it would contribute more to you. Understand by having fewer sentimental values, you get to enjoy those items much more. You have to let go of what was weighing you down before moving on.

As a minimalist, every possession serves a purpose or brings joy, happiness and value to our life. The purpose being if you simplify your life, and additionally allow more time to focus on your health, relationships, it can contribute beyond you in a much more meaningful way. Now, we ask you. Would you consider yourself to be a minimalist? Or an organized hoarder? Do you do things to be successful? Or to feel free? And how can you start making a change to declutter, and remove the unnecessary in your life?

Mezés Artisan made many decisions and choices to ultimately become minimalists. Let us know, how do you think Mezés Artisan applies minimalism into their products? Learn more about the choices Mezés Artisan makes with its products and recipes.

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