Consider this: When I was born, cameras and phones was two different products that you bought separately. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to imagine a phone without one.
Most people don’t carry around big DSLRs anymore, and while I have an old Canon EOS 450D that I’ve had since I was 13 years old, I simply do not need it anymore. It still takes great pictures with its standard issue lens, but my Galaxy S7 is the one I use 99% of the times I take a picture. And the result is not half bad, not at all.
The same goes for music. It’s either on my computer or on my phone I’ll be listening to it, apart from when I’m recording, mixing and mastering music for my band Acting Quiet. Then I’m using my studio equipment.
What this says is that minimalism doesn’t always come from removing things from our life completely, but rather incorporating more functions into one object, just like a computer has done for us for quite a few years.
Some extreme minimalists remove all their chairs, throw out their wardrobes and sleep on the floor without a mattress. While I do enjoy to get rid of stuff I don’t need, one doesn’t have to go this far to be a minimalist. Being a minimalist is equally as much being focused on function as being focused on ‘having less’.
Having less stuff in your life does equally as much for happiness as having more stuff: very little. Having stuff that ‘just works’ and provide you with the tools that you need to get the job done is crux.
The principles from business theory about having products in stock, JIC and JIT, just in case and just in time respectively, can apply here. Most businesses that try to make their workflow more efficient and cost effective subscribe to the JIT principle.
Similarly, having stuff ‘just in case’, in either your house or apartment, have simply less functional value than things that are constantly in use.
A good starting point to being a minimalist is thinking:
What tools do I need?
Putting yourself in this mindset makes being a minimalist less of a chore and more an active choice that you don’t regret that you took.
Let’s start simple. Think of your desk at home. Could be any desk as long as you use it often. What in its vicinity could you get rid of right now and take the function of that item’s function and put it on either your phone, tablet or computer?
Maybe it’s your notebook or diary? That’s a simple thing to put on your computer. You could even encrypt it. This is thinking about function.
Technology has made us able to becoming minimalists without sacrificing our quality of life.
Being dependent on technology is not a bad thing. When people on the telly complain about phone addiction and being addicted to the internet, what they are really complaint about are that most of us moved the tools to a little device that is easy to being around and is far more efficient and better towards the environment than what we had before.
Of course we use the internet all the time, as we do not have the need to have massive libraries in our homes anymore to acquire new knowledge and experiences.
In addition, minimalism can also enable, or maybe even force, technology to go a path where function is key. I wrote a piece on a similar topic a while ago where I listed tips for becoming minimalist.
In the end, it really boils down to what you do yourself, not what I our anyone else says. Some people don’t need minimalism, and I don’t blame them for not being one. Most people, however, do need at least a bit more minimalist mindset to be more effective and comfortable.
Try it! You got nothing to lose apart from stuff you probably don’t need.
In addition, Andrew Kim, more known as ‘minimallyminimal’, is a great guy to follow on social media that engages in a lot of different projects. If you like minimal, you’ll love this guy.