Minimalism is something that has been on my radar for a while and to some degree something I have practiced in my own life. That being said, I really don’t know that much about it, so last night I decided to watch the documentary Minimalism on Netflix to see what all the fuss is about. To start, I want to say I enjoyed the documentary and would recommend it to anyone who wants to find out more about Minimalism. Also, The Minimalists do a good job on their site of explaining the concept of Minimalism. However, in my opinion, the documentary dropped the ball on defining Minimalism. Although towards the end the filmmakers tried to make it clear, I feel like they fell short in explaining that Minimalism is what YOU define it to be. It is not what they (The Minimalists) define it to be nor what I define it to be nor what Joe Bob down the street defines it to be.
Especially if you watch just the beginning of the documentary, you will get the impression that in order to be a Minimalist you have to sell all your shit except for just a few pairs of clothes and the stuff required to wash your ass. No T.V. No car. You must Rent. Hell, even I was surprised when they get in a car to drive to their speaking engagements (Granted the car was old enough to have a tape player, so I can argue if that qualifies as actually owning a car). Regardless, it surprised me.
I feel like the truth is Minimalism is not what you have to get rid of, but more of the idea that you do not have to “keep up with the Joneses.” You do not have to buy tons of shit to make you happy and, in all actuality, all that shit is probably making you unhappy. Life isn’t a game of who can accumulate the most stuff. Life is a game against yourself to accumulate more life experiences, more happiness, more relationships, more smiles, and more love.
That is the realization that most people will fail to have because of the perceived hurdle at the beginning of the documentary that they have to sell everything they own. Let’s be honest to most people that is a ludicrous idea. Most people are done right there.
Take Home Point
Go into the documentary with an open mind, the idea that the there is no true definition of Minimalism, that no you don’t have to live in a tiny house, and that removing a bunch of the shit that surrounds you may actually make you happier and I feel like you will be pleasantly surprised.
P.S. The guy’s in the documentary are “Huggers.” If that gets on your nerves like it does mine, try to let it go. Trust me I know it’s hard.