Throughout our lives, we face a large number of chaos; and we know that ups and downs are part of life. Maybe you are going through something right now, just like me. No matter how big or small our issues are, the clutter they create, both physical and mental, are visible. Whenever I think of finding clarity in life, I imagine the huge clutter that’s inside my mind and the goal is to go through all that mess and tidying everything up. Recently, I was reading a book called “Essentialism“, written by Greg McKeown and he had this wonderful example of a ‘messy closet’. How are you going to organize a messy overflowing closet? You would want to explore and evaluate which clothes are important and what you want to keep, you need to throw away the clothes you don’t wear anymore and for the the closet to stay organized, you need to come up with a plan to tidy it up and keep up with that routine. Now, imagine that closet is your life. How simple life can be if it stays organized! Growing up, I was always obsessed about pursuing a clutter-free life and finding clarity but little did I know it is also the the foundation of ‘Minimalism‘.
‘Minimalism‘ is around us for a long time now. Some love it and some hate it, some say “it’s basically having nothing” and some say “it is about owning fewer possessions“, some say ” it’s just boring” and some say “it’s a lifestyle“. Probably we are all more familiar about the term ‘Minimalism‘ through art and architecture. In western countries, the movement was largely emerged after the Second World War as a reaction to ‘Abstract Expressionism‘ and ‘Modernism‘ although, some examples evolved in the 1920s with art movements such as the ‘Bauhaus‘. It became a trend by the 1970s and later, the minimalist aesthetic choice found its way into ‘Contemporary Art and Design‘ and still continues its journey. Although it looks simple, it is quite difficult to stay true to the ‘Minimalistic Style‘. You may love Minimalism in Design or not; but as someone who tries to understand the idea behind it, there is more to it, there was always more to it which we forgot during its long journey. Let’s take the example of Western Art and Design. The early examples were emerged to showcase the significance of ‘simple living‘ just like architect Mies Van der Rohe’s famous quote, “Less is More“. And in the Eastern World, the idea of Minimalism goes back a long way, as old as the early Japanese architecture and is associated with the principles of ‘Zen Buddhism‘ where ‘simplicity/emptiness‘ is the way to enlightenment. In art and architecture, the ingredients to make a perfect pot of Minimalism takes light, form, space, place, detail of materials and human condition; and if you want to avoid an instruction manual, you just need to look up for the works of the Japanese architect Tadao Anto. Anyway, all need to remember is that, it’s all about ‘simple living’.
Since January 1st, there is a show on Minimalism on Netflix called “Less is Now” and as someone who follows the works of its creator Matt D’Avella, I was very happy to find a show which reveals the honesty, passion and dedication to the idea behind it. The story revolves around two minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus and a number of other people and showing the audience how important is ‘human condition‘ when you think of minimalism. In the short documentary film, they were able to cover a vast number of advantages of minimalism such as health, finding your passion, personal growth and finding freedom in life and encompasses the consequences of our false living standards triggered by consumerism and meaning we assign to material possessions. In Greg McKeown‘s book, he mentions how material possessions sometimes become a trigger to many people:
“We tend to value things we already own more highly than they are worth and thus, we find them more difficult to get rid of.” – Essentialism, Greg McKeown
In a nutshell, “Less is Now” is a good show which contains real life stories and which gives you all you need to know about the essence of ‘Minimalism’ if you are new to the idea.
More than a design movement or a theory, ‘Minimalism‘ would be a great way to build a lifestyle which provides freedom to find a purpose in life and it starts from your surroundings. A slight change in your living condition/environment can affect your routines and habits. Maybe a small experiment such as counting what is extremely important around you from where you sit right now can tell you some big truths about life and that’s the magic ‘Minimalism‘ holds. On a personal note, I consider a number of things valuable to me and right now, the way I execute this idea would not be by selling everything I own but reducing consumption and carefully eliminating what is not needed in my life. It is about creating a mindset which pushes me to gain a clutter-free life rather than trying to match my space with all the results available on Instagram or Pinterest under the hashtag ‘Minimalism‘. And at the end of the day, who wouldn’t want some quality headspace and a clean, functional, easy to maintain, aesthetically pleasing and comfortable space to live!
Wish you a meaningful life in 2021! Cheers!