Minimalism: the art of letting go

Written by Francesca Ernani

It was Thursday night, one of those night I couldn’t get sleep, and I was looking for a documentary to watch on Netflix. I started watching Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things directed by Matt D’Avella. It deals with the issues related to our consumer society and to the idea that buying more makes us happier. If we buy more and if we buy expensive items, it means we have enough money to do that and this is inevitably linked to achievement and success. The problem here is that we can’t buy the way to happiness. Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, the creators of, guide us on this journey into the minimalist lifestyle: living more with less. Yes, it sounds weird and tied to the past, especially if we think about these two guys who live in America. The American dream was once linked to new opportunities but right now everything seems to be more materialistic. We want to feel whole, we want to feel content. Stuff is cheaper but it’s also more available as we can order items on the Internet 24 hours a day. Joshua Becker, one of the interviewee in the documentary, states that he doesn’t know what the three most common words are in American houses, if it’s “I love you” or “I want that”. 

Simplicity is the new black 

We can also find the philosophy of Minimalism in the world of fashion. Just think about project 333: it’s about wearing 33 items, including clothing, jewelry, accessories and shoes, for 3 months. This minimalist fashion challenge was created in 2010 by the writer and photographer Courtney Carver. In 2006 she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and this made her understood it was time to change her priorities in life. When she started her personal fashion challenge, she was worry about people noticing that she was wearing the same things but actually most of us don’t even remember what we were wearing yesterday, so it’s unlikely to recall our colleague’s outfit. Then a sense of tranquility came and she started feeling calmer and less anxious than before. Every morning she didn’t have to think too much about how to dress and she became a more confident woman. 

Why you should become a minimalist 

Minimalism is often misinterpreted. Most of the people believe Minimalism is a radical lifestyle but it is not. Identifying minimalists is harder than you may think. Maybe one of the men sitting next to you on the bus is a minimalist but you wouldn’t say that because he’s wearing a far too expensive watch. Maybe your neighbor is a minimalist but you wouldn’t say that as she has a car and she’s dressed fashionable. Minimalists are not a rare human species. Joshua Millburn writes on his blog, “Minimalism is a tool I use to get rid of unnecessary stuff and live a meaningful life”. Being a minimalist is about making decisions according to what you really need and not according to what you want. It’s about giving value to yourself more than material things. 

Let’s now suppose one of your friends comes to you and recommends you to become a minimalist. You would probably raise your eyes to heaven asking what you did wrong to find yourself going out with certain people. After you have recomposed yourself, you will ask your weird friend the most trivial question: why on earth should I do that? 

Minimalism is about reducing so you have some obvious benefits such as less stress, less time spent on housework and cleaning, you can have a neat house and you can set aside money to make that journey to the North Pole you dreamt of as a child. 

Moreover, your attention will shift from material possessions to your hobbies and health and you will begin to appreciate relationships more. You'll focus more on things that really matter in life. You will be at peace with yourself and others. 

Minimalism is a choice. Ask yourself: does this add value to my life? If the answer is negative, just let it go. You have the power to choose to make the rest of your life the best of your life. As Joshua Millburn says: “Love people and use things because the opposite never works”.