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Grab a duster and declutter this summer  – my thoughts on Minimalism

We’ve all heard the famous saying – less is more right?

When it comes to minimalism, the essence of this movement is exactly that but with a twist. I’m someone who is really interested in the psychology of the consumer. In an era where the digital climate is spreading its tentacles deep into most aspects of our everyday lives, the title consumer is an apt description for the average person in today’s society.

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The average child aged two to eleven years old sees on average 25,000 advertisements every year, while adults see around 52,000 yearly. Marketing has a powerful stance on the average consumer psyche. Advertising is widespread – from TVs to newspapers, magazines and billboards – there’s no escaping it.

Consumerism is a concept that I find fascinating. Consumerism is essentially a socio-economic model that anchors its founding premise on materialism and the inherent link between materialism and happiness. So essentially, it’s a mass movement driven by the consumer where from the moment we step out of our houses, we’re met with messages such as “buy this, buy that”, “60% off” using slick yet smart manipulative slogans such as “you know you’re worth it”. As if to imply that you’re worth can be correlated to the contents of a small perfume bottle. When we start to think about sustainability, preservation of natural artefacts and the state of our natural environment, I start to wonder the exact state in which our planet will be in when the next generation.

Contrary to popular beliefs, adopting a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t translate to throwing out every single belonging in your possession. Minimalism is essentially quality over quantity. It’s re-assigning the worth we give to our possessions and reconstructing the relationships we have with materialism.

Minimalism is less to do with scarcity and reduction but re-assigning value and slowly decluttering.

Truth be told, arriving at such a lifestyle is one that seems interesting but yet very logical. In life, a lot of the things that we can easily deem logical happen to be the most overlooked or underestimated. It takes a sense of awareness and a willingness to adopt a receptive mindset where attaining an understanding about what we don’t know as well as questioning the concepts that we gravitate to. We live and (for some of) thrive in a world where consumerism is the badge that many wear. Our wardrobes lay laden with articles of clothing that for some haven’t been worn in years. We surround our living spaces with artefacts and objects – a lot of which hold little value beyond taking up space. We cling to inanimate items with the notion of “but what if I need it one day?” Interestingly enough, that elusive “one day” never seems to arrive.

Get your basic “uniforms” lined up and ready?

>We’ve all been privy to situations like this. Your wardrobe is bursting to the seams with clothes and yet not one article of clothing seems to be acceptable. Before any fashionistas and fashion lovers have a panic attack, don’t fret! By uniforms, I simply mean categorised items of clothing that you can pair together as one outfit. Have five or six of these outfits laid out. With the exception of your formal go-to dress, activewear, swimsuits etc. scour through your wardrobe and start to select the clothes that you haven’t worn in a while. Give the rest to charity or donate them. Say goodbye and adieu to hurried, panic-riddled mornings!

Less clutter and space to breathe.

Whether it’s trying to find your wallet or darting around the living room for your keys in the morning, there’s always mess in our way.

I think a beautiful aspect of minimalism is that it’s more of a lifestyle and less if a regimented/structured scheme. A good habit to incorporate would be to let go of an item every time you purchase something. This way there’s a constant cycle of almost “decluttering”. Minimalism is unique in the sense that as you remove unnecessary possessions, you, in turn, add value to things you already own. You learn to appreciate what you already have and the space that you’ve managed to create.

Remember less is more!
Getting organised will be a breeze.

The best way you can organise your belongings is first attempting to tackle the laborious part first – get the things you seldom use out of your room/flat. Normally when we own so many things, we cover up this problem by organising. We go out and buy boxes, files etc and we essentially just compartmentalise our hoarding tendencies.
Now, in saying this you don’t need to have an empty echo in your room with just you, your desk and your wallpaper staring back. The key is ensuring that you engage in the task of cutting down and removing the “extra’s”. Categorizing and organizing becomes a breeze at this point and everything is ultimately in eye’s reach. Your valuable essentials will ultimately be the extent of your possessions.

Clear the air and your mental space.

Adopting minimalism serves its purpose both in the physical and mental sense. There’s a premise in the ideology of materialism where we essentially look at the release and letting go of something as an art. Advertising is a multi-billion pound machine designed to hardwire our minds to settle on the mindset of dissatisfaction. With the myriad of messages we take in on a daily basis, there’s a lot of energy and time we subconsciously lose. There’s almost a pull and push battle in our mental space. Then by actively engaging in buying things we don’t need, we ultimately verify the social construct of materialism.

We are somehow hungry for a food that we didn’t know existed. It’s the art of turning down the volume on this “noise” so to speak that is the key.
Today, social media is the typical millennials modern-day pacifier.

Social media is engineered to disassemble our attention and give us temporary bursts of limiting pleasure. The action-and-reward system is a revolving cycle where ultimately the tweets, the likes, the favourites are the rewards. The dopamine release when we attain these “rewards” leads us to want more. The internet is a great tool but the over-abundance of anything never proves to be beneficial. Perhaps, next time when you’re eating a meal put the phone out of sight. When you’re going on a walk, leave the earbuds at home and take in your environment.
I love minimalism because it allows me to be comfortable with silence or a “visual silence”. It also allows me to gain a perspective on how I assign value to material things. It’s important to note that the idea of minimalism will differ depending on the individual. What I (a university student) would consider a necessity will most likely be different to what a 25-year-old would consider such.

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