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Commentary: Benefits of minimalism in today’s consumerist world

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Andrew Herzog, host of “Bonfire” on TheBlaze Radio Network, discusses the growing popularity of minimalism:

Minimalism: a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives.

I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, but I can see the appeal.

When people first hear the term, they might imagine someone bumming around his day with 25 items to his name, wearing the same t-shirt over and over again, avoiding all extravagance, just making a showy statement about his lifestyle. Sure, some people do that. But you don’t have to.

You can apply minimalism to your life however you’d like to! It’s more of a spectrum of dedication, not a binary choice.

For instance, after watching a documentary on Netflix called “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things,” I’ve discovered a new approach for myself. Whatever I own or experience, I just ask, “What value is this bringing me?” In other words, if I don’t personally find value in it, I won’t waste my money or time on it. I don’t get rid of things for the sake of getting rid of things; I just make a deliberate choice. I will spend money on quality food, because I believe that’s one of life’s greatest simple pleasures. I will avoid wasting my time at dance clubs; I place great value on food and no value in clubbing.

That’s exactly what Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, leaders of the minimalist movement, say in the documentary. If you find value in something, don’t feel pressured to throw it out! If you love your library, don’t trash your books! Minimalism isn’t about getting rid of stuff — it’s about deliberately picking and choosing the right things. Books matter to me, so I’m proud of those possessions and what they represent. On the other hand, I was not proud of a pile of clothing I wasn’t regularly wearing or enjoying, so I donated them to charity. It’s all about customizing your lifestyle to the values you wish to live out and share with others.

Some may want to sell their house, their car, and the majority of their possessions. Great, go for it. That’s your business. Others will want to reduce the number of monthly subscriptions they spend their money on, or the number of commitments they have in order to focus more on family or career goals. Find what matters to you and reduce the number of distractions.

That’s the beauty of what I found: the ability to make a deliberate choice in the things and people I want in my life. This can be the first step in a long journey of personal growth that yields happier, healthier results for you. This method of questioning value allows you to put your limited time, money, and attention back into the substantial things.

Look for ways to buy less crap, save more money, spend more time with people, and do something important.

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