Indiana Area Senior High School

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By WILEY BELLE FRUMKIN –  From the first day of life to the last day of life, objects influence every decision we make. Things. Stuff. Materials. They open a world of wonder and give humans immense opportunities to grow. The right clothes can make a girl popular, and a nice car alongside a big house can show off a person’s wealth. The point is clear, buy things to show others that you… well.. bought things. Are we forgetting what’s important?

Minimalism is a lifestyle gaining attention from people who are tired of having too much of an emotional tie to materials. It has gained popularity due to the minimalist documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, in which the importance of simple-living is highlighted.

In most cases, more things equals more stress. A recent article by CNN Money confirms that most Americans as are deeply worried about their financial future.

Advertisers tell consumers “This will make you happy!” In an attempt to escape the stress that buying things causes, they actually listen and buy more things! It’s the sad trap of consumer culture, and the reason most Americans end up with way more things than they ever needed.

Boredom is a product of consumerism that is created by the over-attachment to consumer items. Society has become dependent on objects to give them joy, and when those objects are taken away, they cannot function.

With a brain as complex as ours and our superb ability to reason, boredom should not exist. Most everything we see has been thought up by the human brain, yet once we take those things away, we stop thinking.

Minimalists put less emotional value on material items and in return have more time and energy to focus on personal passions. This doesn’t mean cut every single thing out of your life and go live in a tent. It doesn’t mean live in a one bedroom home without any decorations.

It means rely less on the physical and more on the metaphysical, or being and knowing. It’s important not to rely on objects to find your identity. Exploring identity and then adding “stuff” based on what you know about yourself paves a smooth ride for a happy life.

Most minimalists reach where they want to be mentally by getting rid of possessions, and slowly adding back in things they truly cannot live without. You would be surprised how much less you have to think about when the amount of items you own downsizes.

Minimalism  can be a hard concept to grasp initially. The best way to experiment with minimalism is to get rid of a few things you “couldn’t live without” for two weeks. After the two weeks, if you want them back in your life, bring them back in. But, it can be an eye opening experience to see where the minimalist lifestyle takes you.


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