Brian O'Dea is a longtime friend and is currently traveling abroad for an open-ended amount of time. Written from Sarajevo, Bosnia, this post comes from a place of experience in traveling light and making decisions about what matters. We hope you enjoy Brian's words, as he'll be guest writing more posts in the future. Enjoy!
Words like quality, quantity, and value all can be confused with one another these days. Somehow the scales became tipped so we all want the best and most of everything, but where does this path get us in the long run? The growing trend of intentional minimalism, having less possessions not out of necessity but by choice, offers an alternative that echoes the sentiment LIVSN is all about. So let’s dive in for a bit as to why cutting down on what we own make sense – physically, mentally, and beyond.
We all know the signs your stuff has taken over your life. The shameful closet crammed with objects of unknown origin, the cluttered drawers of despair, and perhaps the worst offenders – the wastelands we call garages and attics, which stockpile so much stuff entire ecosystems form around them.
Life doesn’t have to be this way. It sounds obvious, but what you own can weigh you down.
Shuffling stuff around takes your valuable time and energy, and junk is the sworn enemy of organization. There is something supremely satisfying about walking into your personal space, and being able to point to a clear use for everything within it. As much as some items can give a sense of value, they conversely can take away space.
Your mind probably has enough on its plate at any given moment. The whole living thing takes constant attention, and every day you probably encounter and solve a number of unplanned problems. Having more stuff provides life an avenue to pile more concerns. There are only so many hours in a day, and little tasks like locating, cleaning, and fixing things can quickly snowball into unnecessary anxiety.
When you cut the nonessential from your life, there’s simply less room for these problems to sprout up.
You will find yourself with more time to appreciate what’s left in front of you, which usually matters far more. So while minimalism might seem on the surface purely concerned with physical matters, the mental side is just as important.
So you have the gist of the mindset down, candles of the purge night blown out, and want to give minimalism a real chance in your life. Inevitably though you you will stand at a crossroads of idealism and practicality. It’s all fine and dandy to sing the song of minimalism, but when Winter comes and you have no jacket, those same words will do little to keep you warm.
Of course you still need some stuff, but how do we stop ourselves from slipping into the same trends that led us to the clutter we just cleansed?
The answer is to limit yourself to buying things which are durable, versatile, and will actually see the light of day more than a couple times a year. Of course there are other valid concerns like comfort, product sourcing, and style. Go wild defining and balancing these values for yourself. After all, the purpose of minimalism is not to rid yourself of all possessions, but to whittle them down a bit.
Becoming a purveyor of high quality, whatever that word means to you, is the ultimate goal of intentional minimalism.
When you commit to only owning a few items which fit your lifestyle, you are forced to come to terms with what matters to you. The options out there are nearly endless, but somewhere among them is your perfect match. Whether those things can be found at LIVSN, a thrift store, or any other company depends entirely on your taste. Starting to think about what you truly use and need, rather than just getting more for the sake of more, is just the all important first step.