The Art of Throwing Everything Out
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Most of us are taught to consume, so why are some of us discarding much of what we own in favour of a simpler life? Keegan gets to the heart of what it means to be a minimalist, and the results are surprisingly (ful)filling.
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The Art of Throwing Everything Out

by Keegan Thomson See Profile
Sydney NSW, Australia
21st Jul 2017
The Art of Throwing Everything Out

Humans naturally love to hoard and collect things, but after all the of years of letting stuff pile up under our beds and at the back of our wardrobes, we are finally being told it is okay to start throwing stuff out. 

Reusing, recycling and reducing is a part of a major new trend which is spreading through the western world like wildfire. It is called minimalism, also known as the art of throwing everything out.

Joshua Fields-Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are two Americans riding the wave of minimalism. Their films and books have inspired millions of people worldwide to throw away their excess possessions and live without the burden of aggressive, restrictive consumerism.

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The pair have made it clear that minimalism isn’t about throwing away everything you own in the pursuit of a specific idea of happiness. Instead, it is about living within your means and appreciating what you have.

For example, if you really love your record collection of vintage Bob Dylan albums, or your stuffed teddy bear collection, then you should keep them. However, if you only use your coffee machine once every 24 months, or you have a massive collection of unwatched DVDs under your bed, then perhaps you should think about giving them to charity.

Both Joshua Fields-Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus claim that by decluttering their lives they have improved their mental health and have become happier people. Check out the trailer for their film and you'll see what they're talking about.

Adopting a lifestyle of minimalism isn't a completely new concept. Historically, minimalism has gone hand in hand with religion; with a number of biblical figures in Christianity simple leading simple lives. It has also been used as a weapon of protest. Two Americans, both pacifists, led peaceful protests in the form of tax resistance. Ammon Hennacy and Ellen Thomas lived frugally so they could push their personal incomes below the tax threshold. They believed the government was using tax payers’ dollars on unethical, immoral and destructive activities including war.

Many Australians have embraced minimalism, with one homegrown Aussie minimalist vouching for the benefits of a simple life and its positive impact on mental health. 

Wellness blogger and Sydney local, Brooke McAlary, lives in the Blue Mountains and blogs about her minimalist lifestyle with her family.

Brooke transformed her family home into a 'Slow Home' with the aim of turning it into a place where life is easy and stress-free. She says her life has become more focused after the transition.

“Over two years I decluttered more than 25,000 items, created a Slow Home and rediscovered my health, my passion, my energy, my spark,” she writes on her blog.

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Minimalism and decluttering is a staple of the Japanese lifestyle with many art forms, cultural and spiritual traditions based upon the concept of less is more.

Marie Kondo is a best selling author and avid minimalist who has published numerous books about minimalistic living.

Her latest book, Spark Joy, offers up illustrations and tips on how to tidy up your life. Spark Joy also includes the details of her KonMari Method of Folding. Believe it or not, this method of folding clothes has taken the world by storm and has been featured in numerous publications and television shows. You really have to see it to believe it.

Embracing minimalistic living can also benefit those of us who are less fortunate. Instead of simply throwing out what you don’t want, you could donate to your local charity shop. This small act of recycling reduces your personal carbon footprint and can also have a significant impact on the lives of others.

According to Oxfam, a large number of popular brands, including Bonds and Just Jeans, produce their clothes in sweatshops. Economically speaking, if you're not buying cheaply made, poor quality sweatshop clothing then you'll be curbing the demand and helping to fight the growth of sweatshops across the world.

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One Australian organisation is helping to connect Australians to sustainable and ethical clothing manufacturers and providers. Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) helps inform consumers by working with Australian manufacturers to map out their supply chain in a transparent and ethical way. 

Adopting the art of minimalism can positively affect your mental health, reduce your environmental footprint and improve lives of those less fortunate. It isn't hard, all you need to do is to start with a little spring clean...  

Learn more about how you can join The Minimalists.

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Keegan Thomson

About Keegan Thomson

Keegan Thomson is an assistant editor and journalist for The QUO. Keegan has had his work published in The Guardian and The Sydney Morning Herald. He is a community-minded journalist who is always looking for the next story, no matter how big or small it may be. As well as working for The QUO, he works for a number of independent newspapers in Western Sydney including Western News and Nepean News.

More from Keegan Thomson

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Our Environment
Sydney NSW, Australia
21st July 2017

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