Sure! Talk about Minimalism! How about all these possessions and junk I’ve been accumulating for almost five decades!
I understand what you mean.
You think it’s another fashion.
You think that getting rid of all your material possessions is almost like erasing your story.
But it isn’t.
The objects in your life don’t define you.
You, the people you love and love you, and your environment – that’s what defines.
Plus, think about it.
Try calculating what percentage of all the clothes currently hanging in your wardrobe do you actually wear regularly.
I personally, don’t even come close to a 15%!
Possibly, neither do you.
That’s why, – and because the planet cannot tolerate that much consumerism – I invite you to read this article and take the concept of minimalism at 50 very, very seriously.
Because, as the great Scottish author Richard Holloway says, “Simplicity, clarity, unity: These are the attributes that give power, liveliness and joy to our lives, and they are also the marks of great art.”
Not our material objects.
Why and how should I practice Minimalism at 50+?
You’re right, it’s quite the challenge!
On the one hand, it’s super hard for us to free ourselves from the sentimental attachment we feel towards our possessions.
On the other, in some cases, we believe that by having less, we are less.
And that’s obviously not true.
Applying minimalism to your life in your 50 (or at whatever age for that matter!), you’ll move away from the excesses of consumerism, from material possessions, from disorder, from the avalanche of tasks that usually overwhelm us, from excess debts, from distractions and from noise.
Thanks to minimalism we create more and consume less.
We avoid the “non-essential” and focus on what brings meaning, value and joy to our lives.
Minimalists seek happiness not through things, but through life itself.
And, in addition, our planet and future generations will (hopefully) be grateful!
It’s important to clarify that an afternoon spent attempting to eliminate the chaos in our homes and giving away a lot of things for which we no longer have any use, doesn’t make us a “minimalist”.
Just like buying a Buddha statue and placing it on our bedside table, doesn’t make us Buddhist.
To embrace the philosophy of minimalism we must make a very conscious decision having weighed all the consequences for ourselves and for our loved ones.
Minimalism affects our relationships, our lifestyle, our vision of society, our work and our way of life.
Minimalism is a matter of priorities, and it is a matter of applying it to all aspects of our lives.
Or because it seems to us an alternative way of life that makes us look very “cool” in social media.
We must respect our life, our loved ones, our clients, collaborators, friends, living beings and our wonderful planet.
I repeat, always.
We must learn to intentionally enjoy everything that has value in our lives and to eliminate what distracts us and moves away from it.
Whether it might be travelling or launching our own business.
But where do you start?
You start by deciding what is necessary and what is superfluous in your life.
Ouch! That hurts!
I know, my friend!
But try looking for those objects that bring you joy right now.
And those that don’t, simply recycle them, give them away, or reuse them.
Why don’t we start with your closet?
No, thanks! What if I need the flora maxi dress one day?
How long has it been accumulating mites?
More than a year?
In that case either reinvent it or give it away.
And if you don’t dare, you might want to try starting with Project 33.
What is Project 333?
Project 333 proposes we dress with only 33 items or less for 3 months.
Underwear and work clothes don’t count, but everything else does: jewellery, shoes, clothes, etc.
It is a gentle way to get into the minimalist way of living.
Interestingly, you’ll be surprised to see that 33 items of clothing in a closet are a lot more than most people think.
In fact, it has been calculated that these 33 garments allow for up to 25,176 possible combinations!
That is, you could wear a different outfit every day for the next 69 years and you would not repeat the same combination!
If you don’t believe it, let’s imagine, for example, these are your 33 clothing items:
1. Denim jacket
2. Black jacket
3. Long black pants
4. Black Capris
5. Denim pants
7. Black skirt
8. Pink printed skirt
9. Denim shirt
10. Check shirt
11. Printed shirt
12. White shirt
13. Cream/black print T-shirt
14. 3/4 sleeve V-neck black T-shirt
15. Flower print blouse
16. Polka dot blouse
17. Blue sweater
18. Black scarf
19. Floral scarf in blue, red tones, etc.
20. Black and white scarf
21. Long necklace
22. Chocker necklace
23. Flower necklace
24. Earrings 1
25. Earrings 2
26. Silver bracelet
27. Silver bracelet
28. Black boots
29. Black platform shoes
30. Black Sandals
31. Black flip flops
32. Black narrow shoes
It does feel like a lot of clothes, right?
And you can replace things like earrings, for example, with a polar jacket or a coat!
Or one of the floral scarves for a woolen sweater!
It’s all up to you.
But you’re still not ready to live with 33 items of clothing?
Not a problem.
But why not extrapolate the notion to your travels?
How to be a minimalist traveller in your fifties
The key here is to the type of activities you’re planning on doing.
It’s not the “how long” but the “what”.
Because, that’s what washing machines are for!
So, make a list of the activities you want to do on your trips whether you plan to travel for a week, a month, or five.
Are you going to hike and climb mountains?
Are you going to spend most of your time at the beach?
Are you going to practice sporting activities?
Are there going to be any romantic dates?
Will you be going out quite a lot at night?
Next to each activity, write the clothes you need to perform it comfortably.
Are you going to do a little of everything?
That’s why it’s so important to have a versatile closet!
A closet that suits your activities when you travel and when you are at home.
In summer or winter.
In the tropics or in the Arctic.
Speaking of which… if you are as fascinated by colder destinations like I am, you’re going to need quality clothing.
Forget about layer upon layer upon layer!
What you need is merino wool underclothing.
A good hat and wool socks.
And a coat or technical jacket that cuts the wind and maintains body heat.
That’s all you need.
They take up too much space?
Zip bags, my friend!
Are you leaving too many things behind?
Surely you’ll find them in your destination.
And if not, oh well! It’s not the end of the world!
Surely you’ll survive without that chunky necklace you always wear with the black dress?
But that’s it for today!
We’ll continue with the topic of minimalism for 50s adventurer in future articles.
For now, remember Maya Angelou’s words:
“We need much less than we think we need”