By Melissa Hurwitz

The one commonality between us humans is that we all want one thing, to be genuinely happy. The challenge is how we achieve that happiness. Many fill the void of their constant pursue of obtaining more materialistic things. Minimalists find happiness in life, not through things.

We are a part of a culture surrounded by influences from almost every industry forcing society to buy more and more. When you buy a product like an iPhone that you are obsessed with, then a few months later a newer, more advanced iPhone becomes present on the market. These money consuming companies enforce this pressure on the consumer that what they have is ‘not good enough.’ This often translates people to feeling dissatisfied with what they currently have. These affects cause people to always be the hunt always for the best, or something better in order to feel as if they fit into society.

Our society tends to give our things too much of a meaning than it deserves. We are constantly surrounded by companies convincing us that we need more. We are always being reminded that we are ‘out of style’ unless we buy this certain product. We see celebrities and models glamourously wearing or using these products, causing us to want them more. By giving into these industries and these pressures, we are giving up our freedom to consumerism.

Minimalism is a growing movement today. It is commonly perceived as a lifestyle where someone contains less than 100 items, does not have a television, is a vegetarian/vegan, and does not possess any ‘nice’ things, living a boring lifestyle. These are all false misconceptions! Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps one find their own freedom, REAL freedom.

Minimalists have the ability to live without the envy of ‘wanting’ more and more. There are many different types of minimalists and there is the freedom to choose how you want to live your life with purpose, not things.

Minimalism gives people the freedom to take control over their own lives. They get to decide how they want to apply their energy into the world. Whether it be focusing on a hobby, traveling, or focusing on family. Whatever it may be that is necessary for your own happiness, with less ‘things’ cluttering your life, you have the energy to apply that to, rather than applying it into materialistic things.

This consumer culture that we live in according to Cladwell (a startup company that aims to create capsule wardrobes) states that in 1930, the ‘average women only has 36 pieces of clothing in her closet.’ However, today, the average women contain ‘120 items of clothing, but 80% go unworn.”

Overall, we have one short life to live. The freedom associated with minimalism gives you the freedom to your your life the way you want, without being so largely influenced by consumerism. With less stuff, there is less time applied to organizing, there is less stress from no clutter, giving you more time to apply your energy to living your life the way you want to

without feeling this void in compulsive consumption. Whether you consider becoming a minimalist or not, the basic underlying concept can be applied to everyone’s lives.