Why minimalism?

Three years ago, I went through a difficult time, when a dearly loved one was ill.  I felt helpless, angry, upset, out of control and frightened.  Then, I realized, it wasn’t about me.  My focus and energy needed to be channeled where it was needed most but everything seemed so complicated.  It wasn’t really or at least it was as complicated as I made it.  Fewer complications meant more time and energy available, which is what I needed, but I took the scenic route, not the direct one, on the way.

At first, I thought I needed to be ultra-organized.  I’m quite a structured person anyway (I’m a ‘J’ for those of you interested in Myers-Briggs!).  So, I organized.  I had a container for everything and if a container was ever empty, then I ensured I filled it.  Every minute of every day was planned.  Every article on every shelf was straight.  Funnily enough, this didn’t help!   But I didn’t understand why.

At some level, I knew I needed more simplicity and fewer distractions.  So I started to search the web.  My searches focused on ‘simplicity’ as I had never heard of the term ‘minimalism’.  But it kept popping up.  I stumbled across a site called ‘The Minimalists’ hosted by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.   I read a few of their posts with interest and then saw that they were due to visit London, just a train ride away. 

On Wednesday 8th October 2014, I made my way to Parkgate Road in London, somewhere I didn’t know and had never heard of, a prospect that would have daunted me before.  (I’m Irish, living in the UK, so usually everywhere is different and new!).  However, different results needed different approaches.  That evening was a watershed moment.  By that stage, I had read many articles by The Minimalists and even had one of their books.  However, hearing them speak brought the whole concept of minimalism alive for me and more importantly, within my reach.  They also mentioned some of their friends, Courtney Carver, Leo Babauta, Colin Wright  …. I realized there was a whole world of minimalism and alternative views out there.

The weekend after, I looked around my carefully organized belongings and saw them with different eyes.  Yes, I was fortunate to have so much – but I also had so much distraction, so much anxiety and so much excess.   How much did one person need, for goodness sake?!  I saw the difference between organization and minimalism, which is probably quite obvious to many others, but as I said, I took the scenic route to this realization.

My loved one is now so much better than I ever thought possible.  And the dark days which I hated and feared at the time, showed me a less conventional but more satisfying life.   I’m still on a journey to simplicity but I know why I’m doing it.  As Jim Rohn says, ‘ When the why gets stronger, the how gets easier’.


Photo courtesy of http://www.freeimages.co.uk

  5 comments for “Why minimalism?

  1. onyx-natasha
    June 23, 2017 at 10:08 am

    You mentioned Josh and Ryan in your post, their TED Talk a few years (maybe more) ago introduced me to minimalism. I’ve observed it takes a life changing event to sometimes get the minimalist ball rolling. Without over analysing, I feel minamalising allows for prioritising what you really value in life. I think it’s awesome you quoted all the inspirational minimalists out there, fantastic blog you have here- Onyx..Natasha 🌸

    Liked by 2 people

    • June 23, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Onyx..Natasha, thank you so much for your very kind comments. I really value how you defined minimalism – I think it’s spot on – it’s so great to interact with like-minded people. I found Josh and Ryan very inspiring – I also watched their TED Talk – and I look forward to their podcasts every week, Lorraine xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. June 15, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    The part about organization v minimalism is what people struggle with. I don’t want to be neat and tidy. I want to get rid of things I have to keep need and tidy every day all day. I don’t even “need” most of those things anyway! They don’t bring me happiness. I love this. I’m so glad that others share my way of thinking. I don’t feel “crazy” anymore even though society wants to make me feel bad about not wanting “stuff”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • June 15, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      Hi there, thanks for stopping by. Yes, I really struggled with the difference between organization and minimalism and totally agree with what you say about not having to be neat and tidy, as less stuff means this happens automatically. You’re absolutely not ‘crazy’! In fact, you’re in very good company here in the minimalist community 🙂 Lxx

      Liked by 1 person

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