Chapter 1: The Mindset

As I wrote in the introduction to this guide, minimalism for me is all about the mindset. It's a simple concept and can be summarised in just one sentence:

Ask yourself the question.

What question depends on the context but the idea behind this mindset is to constantly challenge your assumptions when it comes to consumption and material possessions. Do I need this? Do I want this? Can I do without it? Are there alternatives? Can I optimise this? Does it bring value to my life? These are all perfectly valid and legitimate questions you can and should ask yourself every time you're about to make a decision that involves material possessions and sometimes even non-material ones.

I'm a fan of optimising the things I own. I'm constantly trying to find out if I can replace two items with one—usually a better quality one. Has become almost a game. It's like a game of Tetris where you try to perfectly match life needs with items. And the more you play it, the better you become at it. And like any other skill, it takes practice.

Keep in mind that the goal is not to own fewer items. The goal is to challenge your assumptions and make sure you only own what you need. As a result, you'll probably end up owning fewer items anyway. You can have fun with the number—I did it in the past and the 100 things challenge is a fun game to play—but that's not that important in the grand scheme of things.

Some people can't realistically bring the number of possessions down to 100 items. it's just not possible. If you're a surfer like Rob or a rock climber like my brother, you'll probably need dozen of items just to practice a sport you like. For them, stay below 100 is not realistic.

Which is why I think the overall number is not that important. Don't stress on that. But keep this concept of asking questions in mind. That, in my opinion, is what all this minimalism thing is about.

Ask yourself the question.

This is Chapter 1 of the Manu's Guide To Minimalism. Links to the other chapters are down below.