We spend half our life working to earn money, so we can spend our free time spending that money on things we don't need. Things that end up make us feel suffocated. Rooted. Imprisoned. Imagine if tomorrow you were to wake up owning just a few things -only the things you really need and love. It’s kind of exhilarating, isn’t it? Can living with less make you happier?
At some point between our six months road trip in New Zealand and our life being constantly on the road, long-term travel has turned us into minimalists. Or so we thought. Since we settled down in Hong Kong, we've started to accumulate a bunch of crap we don't need. Last year, I stumbled upon Marie Kondo's brilliant book "The life changing magic of tidying up" and started to declutter following her mantra : keep only the items that spark joy. And it felt INCREDIBLE. So good I decided to take it to the next level. That's when I discovered that documentary about the important things... [photos ©TheMinimalists]
Can living with less really make you happier? Let's talk minimalism!
minimalism: the recipe to happiness?
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle is as simple as it sounds. It's a zen-living where you own less materials and objects, only to focus on LIVING life. We often create attachments to inanimate objects, making them seem like they represent something big -when they don't. We think the more we have, the happier we'll be.
The truth is, living with only the bare essentials does not provide only superficial benefits such as the pleasure of a tidy home, it also lead to a more fundamental shift. Getting rid of the clutter in your life creates more opportunities for you to pursue your passions. For me, that means traveling, running, creating more and consuming less. Attachment to too many things create clutter and can block our freedom to do whatever we want, whereas minimalism helps us start new projects.
My experience : living out of a backpack for years
Living out of a backpack changes you. First, there's the packing situation -it always feels extreeemely difficult the first time, letting go so many things. How could I throw this away? And what if I need that one day? Then you realize what really matters. After six months on the road with only a few outfits, a tiny computer, my notebook, camera and watercolors, I didn't miss the things I left behind. Actually, I didn't care at all. Life was suddenly so easy. It felt right being so light, free from any clutter.
I thought coming back home and retrieve all my belongings would make me feel happy. To soon realize it didn't. If my stuff was a reflection of life, my life seemed to be filled with junk. Thus began the purge...
the purge : less is more!
It's crazy how sometimes you think accumulating things makes you happy, when actually, getting rid of possessions brings you a lightness and joy that's hard to name. I'm not saying you should throw away everything you own. In fact, I love Marie Kondo's philosophy: only keep things that bring you JOY. Because that's what life is about, isn't it? The pursuit of happiness.
Once the clutter is done, try not to give a meaning to possessions anymore, learn to avoid excess and adopt the 'one in, one out' rule.
about the important things -by the minimalists
Here's the trailer of a brilliant documentary examining many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less. - The film is now available online.