Columnist discusses choice to adopt Minimalist lifestyle

Mary Ross and Mary Ross

Since I came to BGSU, I have been trying to pick up the habit of listening to podcasts. However, I really struggled to find a podcast I liked listening to. I looked for one that wasn’t too long and would help me become a better person, both outwardly and inwardly. It took months of trying out different podcasts to finally find one that worked for me. This podcast is called The Minimalists Podcast.

The Minimalists Podcast was created by Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. They have been in the public eye since 2010, when they began sharing their experience with minimalism on their blog.

On their website, Millburn and Nicodemus define minimalism as “a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”

This is quite vague, I know. But their podcast goes in depth on the many different areas of our lives where we can live minimally in an attempt to find that freedom.

This is what pulled me into the podcast. I wanted the freedom they talked about.

In listening to them speak, I began to see parallels to the life I was living as compared to the lives they were leading before adopting minimalism into their lives, especially in terms of my relationships with others.

After listening to a few of their episodes, I decided to try to adopt minimalism into my life.

Now, minimalism isn’t the same for everyone and they stress that in every episode they produce. The variation of minimalism makes it easier to adopt in some ways, while harder in other ways.

It’s easier because it’s unique to me. I figure out exactly how to implement minimalism to fit my life and therefore it’s easier to implement due to the flexible structure.

It’s harder because I have to figure out exactly what I need to implement.

Because of this, I figured I should start small scale with my social media. I went back through those I followed and considered if it was truly necessary to follow them. If not, I simply unfollowed them. Secondly, I turned off notifications on my phone, except for incoming phone calls and text messages.

The difference doing those small things alone has made in my life is remarkable. Without notifications, I’m not tempted to stop whatever I’m doing to look at my phone. Every time I look at social media, it’s because I made a conscious decision to do so. As a result, since last week when I first turned notifications off, my screen time is down 64%. And all that time I have gained goes into being more productive in other areas of my life, such as in working on schoolwork and my writing.

Another way I have implemented minimalism into my life is the one-for-one rule. This means for every item I decide to buy, I choose to donate or throw away an item I already own. This will not only help me keep my spaces decluttered in the future, but this has already started helping me curb my out-of-control spending habits.

The most important lessons I’ve learned from listening to The Minimalists Podcast is to appreciate life and those around me. They always end with the phrase, “Love people. Use things. Not the other way around.”

This phrase is something I carry with me everywhere now. It reminds me to attach all my emotions to those around me who I care about, not to material possessions which by themselves do not bring me joy.

So, although minimalism is different for everyone, the lessons it teaches and healthy lifestyle it supports make it something everyone should look into adopting into their life somehow, even if that means just remembering to “Love people. Use things. Not the other way around.”