For some of us, this may conjure up images of people who live in bare living rooms with just two chairs, and nothing on the white walls, who own one plate and one cup and have two pairs of black jeans and two black t-shirts.
Of course, this is an extreme example, and there are many forms of minimalism. I try to be a bit minimalist in my life.
This may seem strange to some people when I say that about myself, after all, I own over 1500 books, have a closet full of clothes and I have about 40 house-plants, but I did not say I am a minimalist, I said I try to be a bit minimalist. Just in certain aspects of my life.
Good decluttering is amazing. To get rid of things you do not need, letting go of things you have used and enjoyed, but you do no longer use or enjoy is all very freeing. In the past two years I have come a long way and I have decluttered almost all areas of my life. I now only have the clothes I enjoy and wear, the books on my shelves are the ones I found beautiful or the ones I very much want to read. Books (or dvd's) that I did not enjoy will be donated to a charity shop or given away to friends and family.
Items for hobbies I no longer practice are donated, as are knick-knacks that do not mean anything (anymore) to me.
I have gone through every cupboard and every shelf and every drawer and every basket, making sure there was no junk left.
The second thing I really enjoy is organisation. If everything is in its place, I feel less stressed.
For example, I have a basket where I have my handbag, but also my sunglasses and the car-papers. Every time I go out, I know that the things I might need are in this basket. I also place mail here and items like a present or a parcel I need to send. These are all the things that are going outside.
I also have a large box in my storage where I put all the things I want to donate. So every time it is full, I know I need to go to the charity shop.
Last week I bought a shoe-rack, so all the shoes I wear this season are grouped together. I no longer have to look around the house for my shoes (I tend to take my shoes of wherever I am standing at that moment).
At this moment I can say that everything has its own place in my house, and I try to put everything back in its place after I used it.
But you cannot organise junk, and to make sure things stay organised and neat, it is good to look at your consumerism and see if what you buy is actually necessary or if you are buying for the sake of buying.
I have been getting better at recognizing when I want something because I need it, or because I just want to have something new and shiny.
I do consider myself to be a minimalist in certain ways:
For example, I do not have the latest gadgets. My telephone is 3 years old and I have no intention of replacing it any time soon. My television is 10 years old and so is my DVD player. I have a laptop, but that is one from school, I never would have bought it for myself. My desktop-computer is second hand.
I do not have Netflix or another provider, since I watch series and films that are often not on Netflix. I did have Netflix, but I found I was watching the weirdest documentaries and I did not think this was good use of my time, so I unsubscribed.
I only have the items in my kitchen I really use, I have no pastmachine, no rollerpin (I do not bake), and I got rid of six wineglasses.
I got rid of the Christmas decorations since I have not had a Christmas tree in 15 years and I only own the (few) make-up items I use daily.
Many of my clothes are a necessity, I live in a climate where there are warm summers, cold winters and often lots of rain. So I need different coats and pairs of shoes, and I need enough clothing to layer when it gets colder. I have managed to declutter my clothes so I only have the items I like and wear and that make me feel great. And I have a shopping maximum of 20 items per year, to make sure I do not buy too much!
So how about those 1500 books? Well, if you are minimalist in some ways, it does not mean you have to be a minimalist in all areas of your life. If there is something you are passionate about or if there is something that means a lot to you, there is not law that says you need to get rid of it. So my books will always be a part of my life, since I get immense joy out of them.
And I have no problem of letting go of books I do not enjoy.
In short, you can look at the things you own and the things you buy and determine if you need all of it. If not, why not letting go of them?
There is no need to get rid of all your furniture and things, and to dress yourself in all-black to be more minimalist, or at least be more conscious of what you own and why.