MNLM: The case for a minimalistic lifestyle

Ethan Pham

Unsurprisingly, we live in a consumer-driven society with a rapid cyclic need to constantly upgrade. A lifestyle like this is something I believe to be unhealthy.

I distinctly remember moments when I first became more concerned about our environment. I began to concern myself with the well-being of the planet we all call home, especially after seeing studies by the EPA that the average American produces around 4.4 pounds of trash a day—not a small amount of trash by any means.

One of the environmentalist mantras I try to live by is, “reduce, reuse, recycle.”

Repeated enough, one can easily begin to question what we can reduce, reuse and recycle. Recycling is easy: toss your recyclables in the recycling bin. However, I always question what more I could be doing to help our planet. The words reduce and reuse began a journey for me to live more minimalistically.

Minimalism may seem like a lifestyle in which one owns the bare necessities and might live in a tiny home. If this is something you want to do in life, then pursue it.

In actuality however, minimalism is a philosophy in which we live a life not dominated by convenience and the need to buy and consume all that we can.

I will admit it seems insane to me to have to give up the luxury of convenience, but after seeing amazing stories such as Lauren Singer going zero waste in her life and the minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, I knew living a minimalistic life rather than a consumerist life was for me.

For me, minimalism started because of environmentalism, but minimalism is a lifestyle meant to combat our cultural norm of constantly buying stuff. Stuff we cling to for reasons we don’t know. It can help us declutter our lives and free up space in our lives both physically and mentally.

Asking yourself the question, “does this add value to my life?” makes us think about what we truly need and what we do not.

This lifestyle isn’t saying to get rid of everything you have or to abandon the material objects that define you, but to ensure what you own becomes a part of your life and not  meaningless objects just bought out of impulse or held onto because you didn’t know what to do with it.

Living minimalistically means maximizing life by simplifying it, rather than making it more complex and cumbersome in order to fulfill our lives.