What is Minimalism?

/ˈmɪnɪməˌlɪz(ə)m/ - minimalism
what does it mean? who knows.

The easiest and less controversial way to describe minimalism is by describing what it means to me… My journey with minimalism began many years ago when I packed up my belongings and moved to Singapore with a suitcase and a backpack. I noticed that when I moved I had only packed the things that mattered to me and a couple of other things that I soon realised I didn’t need. Fast forward a few years and a couple more international moves later and I have now learnt so much about minimalism and consciously practise it in most facets of my life.

photo: @lupcheong

photo: @lupcheong

I find it hard to start in one particular area but I guess the first and easiest place to begin is with the wardrobe. I basically wear the same colour and style clothes every day. Almost like a uniform and I’ve been consciously practising this for the last 4 years or so now. Typically you would see me in some black jeans, a white or grey shirt if not it’d be black uniqlo ezi ankle-length pants coupled with a pair of black vans or white converse. On weekends I usually just wear gym or bather shorts, sweat pants or light blue jeans. You know, just to mix it up a little.

Sentimental items where something that was difficult at first but I quickly learnt that a lot of the items that were sentimental were not really sentimental at all. Those items that were heirlooms or given to me by my grandparents or close friends and family were luckily practical items, thank goodness for a practical family, so things like a coin purse from my opa or an enamel mug from my travels - these are items that have uses, are aesthetically pleasing and sentimental.

Practical items… this was even tougher as I had this little voice in the back of my mind that was telling me about all the things that had uses and but I needed to keep them! Take my camera gear for example, before I moved to Dubai I had a camera shelf in my tiny apartment in Singapore which had 3 film cameras that didn’t work, 4 film cameras that did, 3 DSLR cameras, 3 tripods, 2 microphones, a box of film, a box of negatives & CDs and last but not least a million chargers. When I moved I only had a certain amount of luggage and no option to upgrade and I couldn’t afford to ship any more over so I had to make some sacrifices and more importantly I had to be honest with myself… Why am I keeping 3 film cameras that don’t work? Why haven’t I donated them yet? Why do I need 4 film cameras when I usually only shoot with one?

Other practical items included things in my kitchen, bathroom, living space and so on. I’m not saying you should get rid of all the things you own but by being intentional about your belongings and your purchases you can not only save yourself money but you can help the environment and give yourself a little more mental clarity.

In my latest move I have a much bigger apartment, much much bigger and the opportunity was there to fill it with so many things. I treated myself to a proper desk space in my office but I made sure that all other areas in my new apartment were intentionally filled and with only the things I will use or will bring benefits to me, for example; it is multi use or aesthetically pleasing.

Oh and one more thing… There’s a bunch of other things included in my minimalism practice such as use of water, grocery buying and what I choose to spend my time on but I’ll write about those things another time.

Are you a minimalist or secret minimalist?