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4 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned from Minimalism: A Documentary

I’ve been really into documentaries lately. Like, so into them. I watched Iris, Twinsters, Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Exit Through the Gift Shop.

And then I watched Minimalism, a documentary that follows two best friends and creators of The Minimalists, Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, on their cross-country book tour. It’s crazy good and I seriously can’t stop thinking about it.

Because I don’t know about you, but the thought of decluttering and living with less is liberating. I’ve been telling myself for a year now that I was going to make it a personal project to clean house. But, I want to do it for real this time. No more excuses.

I know that a drastic lifestyle change like this won’t happen over night (I’m not making plans to toss my things and live out of a van any time soon), so I decided to start small and focus first on my disaster of a closet. A closet that was filled with clothes I never wore, but held onto because I “might need them for that imaginary event one day.”

But we all know “one day” never comes. So, why did I hang onto pieces I didn’t love? Why do you keep clothing you don’t wear?

It’s a mystery, that’s for sure.

I’ll be sharing more about my downsizing process in upcoming posts, but in the meantime, here are some of the key life lessons I learned from Minimalism:

1. Living for stuff isn’t living at all

I love stuff. Most of us love stuff. We work for a paycheck so we can buy more stuff, and then we wonder why our savings accounts don’t look as big as they should.

That’s because as humans, we’re wired to be dissatisfied. So that one new shiny thing eventually becomes that thing we toss in the trash. Not because it doesn’t serve a purpose anymore, but because it’s not “in” or fashioniable.

Which brings me to the next lesson…

2. The hunger for happiness will never be fulfilled by purchasing more things

Two words: retail therapy. I’m sure you used this coping method before when you had a bad day, right? Don’t worry, I’ve been there, too. More often than I’d like to admit.

Usually, it involves a trip to Target where I end up buying home decor, makeup, clothing and whatever else I see and feel like I can’t live without. Do I love any of it? Not really. Do I need any of it? No, of course not. Sure, I feel happy in that moment, but that moment doesn’t last for long and then the buyer’s remorse sets in.

So, what do you do?…

3. Keep the possessions that serve a purpose and bring you joy, toss the rest

This tip was key as I went through my closet. I was only wearing roughly 20% of the clothing I owned. The rest I hadn’t touched in months, or even years. And that was CRAZY to me. So I went with my gut on this. I picked up each item, took note of how it made me feel, and if that feeling was less than stellar, into the donate pile it went.

I filled four large garbage bags with clothing, shoes and accessories and all that remained was the clothing I loved. It’s an amazing feeling.

4. “Love people, use things. The opposite never works.”

*mic drop* Because this quote really speaks for itself.


Have you watched Minimalism yet? What did you think? Would you be willing to give up your stuff in favor of a more simple lifestyle?

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