Full disclosure, my decision to watch this thought provoking documentary by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, or as they're better known, The Minimalists, was not based on an overwhelming desire to suddenly become a minimalist. Rather, a sense of intrigue about this lifestyle that seems to be picking up momentum as we're faced with a society that insists on moving faster and faster in every way, especially when it comes to consumption.
Before we start I think it's important to make clear the meaning of the word minimalism, because today it has come to signify a fashion trend as much as it does a lifestyle choice. So, in short, here's what minimalism means according to Bryan from the Minimalists:
"Minimalism is a tool we use to get rid of the excess stuff in our lives to make room for the essentials. Minimalism allows us to focus on what’s important in life—health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution—so we can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom."
The documentary follows The Minimalists on their book tour and collates stories and interviews with other minimalists that are approaching the lifestyle in their own way. The greatest impact for me came from the shockingly high significance we as a society have placed on our stuff because of its supposed ability to bring us happiness...how have I not fully realized this before?! This idea of believing things bring us happiness was touched on briefly in The True Cost documentary, but combined with the idea of minimalism a new light was shed on just how wrong the notion is.
"Love people and use things, because the opposite never works." - Ryan Nicodemus
As the minimalist story developed I started to look at consumption in a fresh light and realize that it's not a negative thing, it's actually necessary; it's being honest with ourselves on each item serving a purpose in our lives that's really important, and where we seem to have the most trouble. Throughout the documentary I was pleasantly surprised and somewhat relieved by the realization that, much like approaching a more ethical and sustainable wardrobe, the minimalist journey is a personal one and there are no rules! I don't intend to live a completely minimalist lifestyle after watching this documentary, but I do intend to constantly hold myself accountable and work towards consuming only what I perceive has use and purpose in my life.