I majored in marketing at university and one of the tenets drilled into us was the difference between features and benefits. Consumers care about features but they buy based on benefits. And as it relates to minimalism, one of the biggest benefits in our book is the clearance of headspace, or bandwidth, for better decision making. It is true: a cluttered life is the sign of a cluttered mind.
As artist Jenny Odell writes in How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, “If it’s attention (deciding what to pay attention to) that makes our reality, regaining control of it can also mean the discovery of new worlds and new ways of moving through them….It can open doors where we didn’t see any, creating landscapes in new dimensions that we can eventually inhabit with others.”
All of which is to say: garbage in, garbage out. And part and parcel of clearing out the clutter from our consciousness is decluttering the detritus from our lives. Reducing the stuff you own literally helps you to rethink your beliefs and redesign your lifestyle accordingly. One of the biggest compliments I have gotten about our journey came from a fellow artist recently, who commented, “It is remarkable how much your philosophy and lifestyle align.”
But trust me: it did not happen overnight! While we feel that living at a lighthouse epitomizes our lifestyle philosophy, it came about by a steady series of conscientious choices. And the key to jumpstarting our journey was visualizing an ideal lifestyle and adopting the motto of “minimize to mobilize.” Suffice it to say that until we embrace a new way of thinking, we can never experience a new way of living.
I cannot help but agree with renowned travel writer Pico Iyer, who states in The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere, “Simplifying one’s life to extract its quintessence is the most rewarding of all the pursuits I have undertaken.” So, I encourage each of you to clear the clutter from your mind and life until you experience the contentment that comes with being satisfied with your contents.