mnmlist: paring down

One of the things I love about minimalism is that it doesn’t end. You don’t get to a minimum of things and say, “I’m done.”

It’s a constant paring down. And that’s a good thing.

Why would you want to keep doing it, instead of just completing the process? Because the process of paring down is really the process of asking yourself, “What’s important?”

We tend to forget what’s important in the din and tumult of daily life. We need a mindfulness bell to bring us back to the essentials, and paring down is that bell for me.

There are numerous examples of paring down — I whittle down my clothing collection, for example, on a regular basis. I will look at a room and remove unnecessary objects. I’ll clear out programs on my computer I don’t use.

On Zen Habits, I pare down the design regularly. A couple years ago, the site was considered an example of clean design, but since then I’ve removed most elements.

Recently I removed numerous links in the sidebar and footer, and then removed photos. It was like breathing out a sigh of relief, to be able to let go of photos. No one seemed to mind — I didn’t get any comments. I love it when paring down is met with the approval of silence. As on mnmlist, I’m removing almost everything but the article, which is the only thing that’s important.

Paring down has been a beautiful way to hone in on the essentials, to be mindful each day of those essentials. I think that’s a necessary thing these days.