The concept of minimalism has been growing in popularity among over the past few years, especially among Millennials like myself. According to Google Trends, Singapore ranks fourth worldwide for the number of times the word “minimalism” is searched.
For those who are new to this term, Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.
If you’ve been following my previous entries, you’d know that I am personally a huge believer of Minimalism. It helps us escape clutter, live simply and inexpensively.
Netflix’s recent reality show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” has also inspired many others to embrace minimalism and tidy up their homes.
Since premiering on January 1, several of my friends have shared Instagram Stories and posts of themselves clearing out the clutter, organizing their items and choosing only to keep items that “spark joy”.
If you are new to Minimalism, here are some benefits you can reap from adopting such a lifestyle.
1. Minimalism can reduce stress in your life
We’re living in an age of consumerism where we can easily afford inexpensive disposable consumer goods. As people begin to buy more stuff, this leads to greater clutter in their homes and collectively leads to a more “chaotic and disorderly” living space.
Little do they realize that all these
Author of the study, Professor Darby Saxbe explains “One thing that was really striking to everybody that worked on this study was just how much of a clutter crisis our families are facing right now… They were surrounded by stuff to the point where it seemed emotionally and physically stressful and taxing for them.”
In her book, Marie Kondo offers readers a vision of the uncluttered home as an oasis of calm.
“I have time to experience bliss in my quiet space, where even the air feels fresh and clean; time to sit and sip herbal tea while I reflect on my day… Although not large, the space I live in is graced with only those things that speak to my heart. My lifestyle brings me joy,” she describes.
2. Minimalism improves focus and productivity
Besides reducing stress levels, Minimalism can help you become a more productive worker. If you are in a work environment which values efficiency over face-time, this could complete your tasks as soon as possible and spend more time at home.
Researchers from Princeton University found that those who purged unwanted items from their home and workspace – were less irritable, less distracted, more productive, and were able to process information at a better rate.
From their report “Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex”, when your environment is cluttered, the disorder makes your brain multitask and work overtime. The chaos around you leaves you distracted and unable to process information as well as you would in an uncluttered, tranquil and organized environment.
Another study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that people who sleep in a cluttered room or hoarders have problems making decisions and executive function.
This can affect their daily productivity as so much time is spent organizing, sorting or dealing with the chaos, which could otherwise be spent working productively.
3. Minimalism helps you to save money
We come from a generation where we’re told to study hard, get a good job and acquire things as symbols of our success. However, Millennials are increasingly aware that happiness does not come from physical objects but from wonderful experiences such as travel.
When you are focusing on minimalism you are often limiting what you own.
When I was younger, I used to buy new clothes every two months. However, over the past few years, I decided to unsubscribe from mailing lists of several online shops and also stopped following them on social media. This has helped me save around $100 – $200 every month.
4. Minimalism helps save the environment
Overconsumption has led contributed significantly to climate change.
According to a study titled “Environmental Impact Assessment of Household Consumption” published in the Journal in Industrial Ecology, what people consume is responsible for up to 60% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Even Pope Francis, in his encyclical, has blamed the “culture of consumerism” for climate change.
Clothes are one of the items that we’ve been overconsuming. People are buying 400% more clothes than we did 20 years ago, and the environmental impacts are staggering. In 2014, it was found that 85% of man-made materials found on shorelines were microfibers, synthetic materials used in clothing.
In her book, This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein explains that if we want to live within ecological limits, “we would need to return to a lifestyle similar to the one we had in the
Adopting a minimalistic lifestyle can definitely be one of the ways for us to reverse the negative impact of overconsumption on this planet.
5. Minimalism reduces the time you spend on housework
Housework is basically taking care of the things you own. Moving them around, putting them away, cleaning them, organizing them, etc.
By very definition, the more stuff you own, the more housework will be necessary to keep your space clean.
With minimalism, you can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on tidying your home. Fewer things on your kitchen counter
By reducing time spent on housework, we have much more to dedicate to what really matters in life – spending time with those we love, rejuvenating ourselves and on our hobbies and interests.
“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important – so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”– The Minimalists
With numerous benefits to yourself, your wallet and the environment you live in, there are few reasons not to embrace minimalism.
Here is how you can get started.
1. Reduce your exposure to advertising. Remove shopping apps and unsubscribe from mailing lists. This would reduce your own temptation to buy stuff.
2. Do not take free gifts you don’t need such as
3. Avoid giving physical items as gifts and focus on perishables (food, flowers etc) and experiences instead. Encourage your peers to do the same.
4. Give away what you no longer need. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. As Marie Kondo said “To get rid of what you no longer need is neither wasteful nor shameful. Can you truthfully say that you treasure something buried so deeply in a closet or drawer that you have forgotten its existence?”
5. Surround yourself with like-minded peers. Join Facebook groups such as Minimalism in Singapore, Journey to Zero Waste and Seedly Personal Finance
You can design a life of less. More of what you love, less of what you don’t. It’s a process and we are all learning together. Should you have any other suggestions or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. 🙂