I finally watched Minimalism.
Man it was good. I am proud to say this was a goal I was starting to approach before I watched the documentary.
The documentary was about taking an approach that was not only more sustainable for the environment, but one that was more sustainable for your wallet also. We live in a world where we spend carelessly just to keep up with the Joneses. We spend money on fast fashion, constantly needing to keep up with the trends only for the same items to be hidden in the back of the closet within weeks to months- and never seen or worn again. We live in a world where we have to keep up our decor with the season/upcoming holiday. Our car has to be nice and often we get bored with driving the same car so then we buy a second. These are all things constantly manufactured, bought, and eventually thrown away or put on the side of the curb for pick up, and these are all things that our environment cannot break down. The scariest thought is that we keep buying these things just to fill up our home. We have so much space we have to fill, that we don’t even use.
The documentary gave another aspect to this which was really interesting to look deeper into. The happiness of the people that had it all, was nowhere to be found. Instead, the more they purchased, the less they felt like their true self, and the less real happiness they felt. You always hear money doesn’t buy happiness. However, how many CEO’s, Directors, business owners do you speak to that actually harp on it and say, “I worked so hard and it was worth nothing to me because I was not happy”.
Not that you should not work hard. What I picked up from the documentary is that you should work hard, but work smarter, AND work at what you actually enjoy doing. What do I mean by work smarter? It is about the smallest of details… all the way down to your closet. I once read some of the most successful people where a similar uniform every day. For example, Steve Jobs was known to wear a black turtle neck and jeans almost daily. Tom, Facebook’s creator, is known to regularly wear a short sleeve tee-shirt daily with jeans. The reason behind this philosophy? They kept their mornings simple, not stressing the first thing they undergo in the mornings, choosing an outfit for the day, means they have a better ability to prioritize what they will give more thought to to more important issues later in the day. Other perks? Their morning are more stress free, leading to more happiness. Their closets contain basic yet functional items, that they like, so they do not have to continuously spend on “something new” for every occasion. This means less money spent and also, more happiness.
I have slowly started taking this approach in a few areas of my life. It really started when I went to Europe 3 years ago. I have vacationed in Italy every summer the past 3 years exploring more and more of its land. What first impacted me on every trip was the fashion. It was the same everywhere I toured, and it never changed all through the years I visited. It was something you would NEVER find in the U.S. Everyone wore basic, very functional clothing. Sneakers were a must, usually converse or a plain white tennis shoe and it was worn with everything from dresses down to a ankle length black dress pant. Shirts are usually of basic color, no crazy or extreme designs, and a light coat, sometimes even a peacoat for chillier weather. Accessories I have noticed are limited to a scarf or a bracelet but I have yet to see a native with bracelets, a ring on every finger, and a choker to match. Hey, if accessories are your thing go for it, but I was just mesmerized at how basic yet cute everyone looked, and still looking like they were going to work and not to play ball on a field. I quickly wanted to adapt this form of style and ease and started focusing on it immediately- huge perk- it became much easier to pack for these trips!
Another way I started incorporating a minimalistic style was by reducing the clutter in my home. Originally an interior design major, I love all things decor. I am very known within my group of friends to always have my home decked out in colors of the season, with fake and real flowers to match, and changing my vases or decor items to match. Sometimes these changes can take place in just a matter of two weeks and other times every two months. Then I realized it is costly and stressful. Much more stressful than just picking a basic palette of colors that can go with everything and any season, and maybe just making the difference with switching the fake floral arrangement on the dining room table.
Minimalism is the way to go. I do feel more free and like I can actually worry about issues that really matter with just the few changes I have made. I am happy with my 3 tennis shoes, two boots, and two pairs of heels… I do need to incorporate a pair of flats though… maybe. I am still working on minimizing my closet but I have gone through strides on not continuing careless purchases because I am bored on a Saturday and decided to window shop. And as far as my home, I have noticed significant less seasonal trash and a more comfortable, sustainable, yet lovely on the eye, environment. I hope to continue my journey and dedicate more to the really important matters, including my actual nonmaterial happiness.
I love learning about your progress on this journey, Rose! I’ve never been to Italy before, but, now that I think of it, I did notice a similar thing with fashion in Spain. People wore a lot of very classic, comfortable clothing that seemed high quality. I’m inspired now myself to find ways I can de-clutter and live a more stress-free existence.