less is the new more

Minimalism is a trending topic these days, at least in the United States, thanks in no small part to the work of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus -also known as The Minimalists.

Joshua and Ryan are American authors, podcasters, filmmakers and public speakers that began pursuing a minimalist lifestyle back in 2010 and who decided to share their experiences after significant improvements in their quality of life as a result.

To do that, they use a number of different channels, among them a website, Twitter profile, Facebook page, Instagram account, YouTube channel, books, a documentary and the “Less is now” tour. If you ask me, a bit too many for a minimalist lifestyle, don’t you think?

But don’t get me wrong: I think they are doing a great job spreading the word and wholeheartedly agree with their message. In fact, if you don’t, I highly recommend that you follow them – plenty of channels to choose from 😉 – and that you watch their documentary:

It so happens that I have been a minimalist for the last 20 years, even if I wasn’t aware of it at first or if I wouldn’t have labeled myself as such at the beginning. Around this time of year in 1997:

  • my mom lost an 8-month-long battle with cancer
  • I was feeling trapped in a bad relationship
  • I was extremely unhappy in a job I had always wanted to do

So when my mom finally passed away I decided to break up with my then girlfriend, to quit my job and to relocate: in other words, to start a new life, to re-invent myself. I had a long summer break (June, July and August) to pack all my things and move to a new home -and then it happened.

As I started going through all my stuff (and believe me, I did have a lot of stuff back then), I found that a lot of it was meaningless (part of a past me) or useless (for the new life ahead of me)… so I started to throw things away, or sell them, or give them to charity. A process of de-cluttering my life that started 20 years ago and that continues to this very day.

A process that included getting rid of old newspapers and magazines, clothes that I didn’t use any more, books that I wasn’t interested in any more (I donated so many to the local library I was even sent a thank-you letter), videocassettes/DVDs that I didn’t really like or cassette tapes/CDs that I didn’t listen to any more.

A process that included not buying new stuff to replace those things I was getting rid of (as the First Law of Holes states: if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging), either in a physical or in an emotional sense.

How I did it will be covered in an upcoming blog post. Stay tuned!