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How is minimalist living a lifestyle and a mindset?

Key Takeaway: Minimalist living is a lifestyle and a mindset that presupposes freedom from unnecessary worries and anxieties, leaving you with peace, serenity, and the ability to focus on the things that truly matter. It is simple but smart living, glorified.


First of all, I want to wish my mother a happy birthday! I love you! 🙂

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When we talk about “doing things for a purpose”, or purposeful living in general, we sometimes inexplicably do things that might make others react like, “What the…?” In fact, my brother always said that there was a purpose for our father’s untimely and tragic passing twelve years ago.

In this increasingly consumerist world, paring down on your things – and I don’t mean just your possessions, I mean your environment in general – can be seen as strange, though obviously it’s a lifestyle that’s attracting more and more people, most of them young. Kondo Marie, the professional organizer whose KonMari method, immortalized in her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is fast becoming a spokesperson of the youth when it comes to minimalist living.

What is minimalist living, anyway? Why bother?

Imagine a life of peace and serenity, free of worries and anxieties. Imagine that, instead of chaos, there is order. Instead of being “strangled” by so much around you, you feel light and free from having less around you, but instead of making it look empty, it makes it more beautiful. Imagine that, faced with only the least, you can make the most out of things and really draw on quality rather than quantity.

That is the magic of minimalist living.

(Read more: Simple living, parts 1 and 2)

You can’t get more purposeful than this. Minimalist living is both a lifestyle and a mindset that you do not need – or want – much to live a truly good life. But what you do have is maximized, its value fully made used of, to play a role in making your life well. If the worker of today is called to work smart, not hard (or rather, work smart and hard), the minimalist lifestyle calls for a “live simply but smartly” mindset.

And what a mindset it is, once you understand the full implications of it! It overlaps with the mindset of mindfulness or awareness, because the minimalist is effectively saying, “By being freed from so many earthly worries or anxieties, I can focus on the things that truly matter; I can focus on being others-oriented instead of being self-oriented.”

Minimalist living understands that money, possessions, and prestige is not true wealth, and that true riches lie in relationships with others, in knowing yourself in and out, in seizing the day, in making the most. Less is more.

(Read more: Where making the most matters)

In the aforementioned book, Kondo writes that your stress and anxiety may be rooted in an untidy or cluttered home. This makes sense: With so many possessions or intricacies to worry about, you unknowingly, in the subconscious, keep fretting about these things, thereby dragging yourself down without knowing it.

But with a tidy and clutter-free setting, you experience peace, joy, and the optimism to focus on what really matters. Again, it makes sense: there’s nothing to worry about anymore, and you are freed to love and serve. In fact, getting rid of those things the right way (by making sure someone in need of something to love and use gets it) is already a step towards living in awareness and service. You would already be intentionally others-centered instead of inadvertently being self-centered.

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Aloy Chua is the Co-Founder and CEO of TDY. His column, Today, discusses everyday living in relation to TDY’s philosophy of Higher Purpose Through Love. He’s also the co-founder of the Roots Collective, a community hub for entrepreneurs, and a freelance systems consultant and writer/editor, and loves reading about fashion, technology, travel, entrepreneurship, and healthy living. His first love is Pokémon. Find out more about living The Daily You on our About Page.
Follow Aloy on Instagram at @royaltruchua and Twitter at @TheDailyAloy.
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