The minimalism reddit's FAQ

Great multi-purpose tool for many people, and I helped. I'm also in the links list, which is nice.

Go read it.


The original version I wrote is below:

General purpose questions and definitions
Q: What is minimalism?
A word that means, "using the concept of less."
Q: Are there requirements to be a "minimalist?"
There aren't any requirements, really. Minimalism isn't some card-carrying club; it's just the concept of "being content with your life" through the concept of less. You decide what that concept means in execution.
Q: How do I make it work for my life?
Find what makes your life worth living and focus on that, and remove whatever stands in your way of doing so.
Q: What kinds of minimalism are there?
  • Reducing your possessions, or "material minimalism."
  • Removing your commitments and managing your time
  • Downsizing your technology, or "digital minimalism."
  • Focusing your mind, or "mental minimalism."
  • Reducing visual elements, or "aesthetic minimalism."
  • And infinitely more. Look below for tips on how to achieve some of these.
Q: What is the point of minimalism?
To reconsider what we think is important to us, to make sure we never lose focus on that, and to remove the barriers between us and what we love. To understand ourselves and those around us. To get rid of the cruft. To make moving and traveling easier. To increase efficiency. To remove redundancy. To beautify, enhance, highlight. To enlighten. To be content with our lives.
Q: What about the 100 Things Challenge? What about those guys who own 15 things? Is minimalism supposed to be followed like Leo BabautaThe Minimalists, or some specific r/Minimalism contributor?
It can be. Those are examples of ways to apply minimalism to your life. However, beware of holding yourself up to standards that may not fit your lifestyle and mindset. Be liberal in changing these to make it work for you.
Advice and tips for common questions
Q: Where do I start if I want material minimalism?
It doesn't matter where you start, and it doesn't matter how long it takes you. Do not be overwhelmed. Be mindful of your possessions. Make your elimination mean something, so you remember it.
Donate as much as you can, and throw away what you must. Keep a mental tally of the things you use and remove what you don't. Place stickers on your items, and remove the stickers when you use something to keep track. Focus on one aspect of your life at a time - gadgets, clothes, bathroom items, the junk drawer, the storage attic, and so on. Don't be too scared of throwing away too much or making mistakes. If you're not sure if you can live without something, loan it to a friend or put it in the closet for a period of time.
Q: How do I maintain a state of material minimalism?
If you're continually having to purge, your problem isn't your stuff, it's your habits. Focus on what you're bringing into your possessions, and stop your buying impulses. Don't let your garbage can do your minimalism for you.
Implement a "one in, two out" rule to attach a larger price to what you buy, or institute an absolute stop to any new purchases for a while. Pay for things with cash. Think about your "needs" versus your "wants" and be clear about the distinction. Is it your life's focus and passion, or is it just a minor want? To help with wants, only allow yourself to buy things after they've been on a "I want this" list for a month.
Q: Can I still have hobbies if I'm material minimalist? What about hobbies that require a lot of stuff?
Of course to both. However, consider its necessity to your wellbeing and how it correlates to the extra burden needed to deal with the extra equipment. Avoid new hobbies that require lots of new purchases until you've already made it part of your life.
Q: Can [blank] be considered minimalist?
With any number of viewpoints, probably. But you also don't have to look to this subreddit for validation!
Q: Where do I start if I want mental minimalism?
Important: If you suspect you or a someone you know has depression or suicidal thoughts, don't bother with any of this; get professional help now. The mind is not something to mess with.
That said, concentration is key to understanding how to use your mind. Learn to listen to your mind. Learn to focus properly and learn to wield your attention; it can be a very powerful tool if tuned correctly. Take up meditation, and learn relaxation techniques. Eliminate sources of stress or unneeded complexity. Make time for yourself, both for your activities and your relaxation. Consider professional help if you feel like you need extra mental guidance, and always practice safe techniques.
Q: Where do I start if I want to manage my time better?
Learn to say no to things that aren't worth your attention. Make to-do lists and break down what needs to happen in to extremely small chunks. Analyze what "needs" to be done versus what doesn't. See how mental minimalism can help you accomplish more things by sharpening your mind.
Q: Where do I start if I want digital minimalism?
Smaller ideas: Delete the programs that you aren't using, and explore other alternatives. Aim for simpler programs. Clean your bookmarks and RSS feeds. Use less browser tabs. Visit less websites. If your music or movie library is too large for you, start making multiple elimination rounds. Consider your music, movie, and book collections and decide if you want to digitize them.
Bigger ideas: Switching to a different operating system is a big step for some, but it can help to get some perspective on what you think you need. Try a free Linux LiveCD if you don't want to pay money for this experiment; a good pair would be Ubuntu or Kubuntu. If you want to make the jump from Windows/Mac/Linux to any of the others, or perhaps buy a new computer, make sure you're fully educated on the changes, be fully realistic of the benefits and don't do it lightly.
Q: What should I do about living with my parents who aren't minimalist?
Rephrasing your goals can help communicate what you want, so start reading back archives of r/minimalism or browsing other resources to help clarify. If that doesn't work, you should probably just mentally minimize if you can't convince them of your choices. You're young and you have plenty of time to explore your options later, so don't stress out about it.
Q: What should I do about living with my significant other/roommate/friend who isn't minimalist?
We don't know what it's like to be you in your situation, and no amount of text on the Internet can ever fix that. Relationships with people are weird and complicated. But, a good rule of thumb is to avoid trying to change people, because it rarely works.
Resources, books, websites
Suggest more for this part please!
Q: What are some good books either on minimalism or that inspire minimalism?
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  • Island by Aldous Huxley
  • The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama
  • Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • On the Road and Dharma Burns by Jack Kerouac
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik
  • All of those blog eBooks. See the blogs below, find ad for their eBook, click.
Q: What are some good websites on minimalism?
Q: Any other resources?
Go watch a few episodes of Hoarders.

No comments: