Adapting to a minimalist lifestyle is not easy especially given the world that I, and many of my peers have grown up in. Materialistic gains tend to be valued over the experiential, a mind set that can lead not only to ruin at the personal level, but also, at a macroeconomic scale. This has made way for a movement where many are asking how to live minimally, and the potential benefits of doing so.
Since minimalism as a practice can have far reaching affects, It is valuable to at least identify where this lifestyle hits the hardest for positive change.
1. Personal Minimalism
Personal minimalism is just as it sounds. It refers to anything that can be controlled directly by a persons actions. Example: If I decide I am going to limit my self to 14 t-shirts, one for each day of a two week period, that is a personal choice that affects the material around me, the implications on my workflow (such as laundry schedule) and the amount of space I should need to handle this number shirts (such as the drawer or closet they are in). In this way, I can personally affect all of these factors.
This is also what people typically think of when considering minimalism as a lifestyle. However, it goes far deeper than this.
2. Macro – Minimalism
This is bit harder to understand because it deals with many moving parts. Consider for example the same 14 shirts that I decided to limit myself to. Since I will only have the same 14 shirts day-in and day-out, I will likely want to ensure that these shirts are high quality. This could pertain to comfort, material, style, brand etc. By making this choice, I have eliminated certain lower quality options and therefore affected the economy around this product. If they are higher quality they will also likely last much longer and therefore I will be spending much less on shirts, allowing leftover budget for something else.
This concept not only affects the market that the product is within, but it allows a more intentional purchase parameter. Assuming this is how all product purchase decisions are made, as a minimalist, you can infer that more money can be leftover for experiential expenses over materialistic ones.
3. Social Minimalism
This takes the prior version a bit further. Think for a minute about the choice to buy only 14, high quality, t-shirts. What if those t shirts were ethically sourced and made, shipped and sold for the benefit of a social cause, such as helping poor communities. The fact that we have minimized our footprint, but also only bought high quality products from a socially conscious company. not only is a better proportion of our money going further, we are also not spending the rest of the money on bad product. This creates a social and economic pressure for companies to make quality products, keep prices low (as competition is high), and make the world a better place.
So there you have, if the personal reasons for becoming minimalist weren’t enough, there are two more implications to consider when transitioning to minimalism.