We’ve all been there – that time of year when good TV seems so hard to come by. You’ve finished the latest season of Stranger Things; the winners of Love Island have been announced and there’s nothing left but background shows you’ve seen a million times before (queue sad violins). As a seasoned binge-watcher myself, this graveyard period, as I like to call it, always leaves me hankering for more. And that’s when I find myself desperately searching for another series to keep me from washing the dishes or doing the ironing.
So, like clockwork I recently found myself wrapping up the third season of Stranger Things (I’m not crying you are) and reluctantly scrolling through Netflix for what seemed like the millionth time. Now, I’m not the biggest documentary lover you’ll ever meet but desperate times call for desperate measures! I mean, what’s a girl to do? And that’s when I came across ‘Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things in Life’. And I have one word for you: INCREDIBLE.
What ‘Minimalism’ really captures is the all-too-familiar search for happiness – how as humans we long for it and most importantly, how we try to buy it. Presented by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, these lovers of minimalism explain how decluttering their own lives has helped both themselves and those around them. At the heart of this simple lifestyle seems to be the idea of value, how when we buy something, we should try asking ourselves, will this add value to my life? Don’t get confused, this documentary is not banning you from buying anything ever, it just asks us to put more thought into the way we live our lives. In what was one of my personal highlights from the documentary, Milburn takes us around his apartment. He explains that he has all the basics: a bed, table, chairs, appliances etc. and then he has things that bring him joy such as the radio or his guitar. Obviously, the guy still has clothes, books, shoes but the point is that there’s no excess. He’s ditched all those designer suits which he needed for the corporate job that made him miserable and he’s decluttered the junk in those drawers that made for mess.
Why I’m recommending ‘Minimalism’
Anyone who watches the news will know that the last five years or so have been a huge wake-up call environmentally. ‘Single use’ was named word of the year back in 2018, Iceland’s palm oil Xmas advert was posted all over social media and veganism seems more popular than ever! As someone who tries their best to help the planet, this documentary really opened my eyes. I couldn’t believe how much we all consume on a daily basis, let alone in a single year! Watching this documentary was like having someone hold a magnifying glass up to my own life: I started to think about all those dresses I HAD to buy and then never wore again, the desire to have an iPhone because everyone else did and the pressures to get the right job with a six-figure salary.
Filmed across America, home of the American dream, Nicodemus and Millburn take us into the lives of several Americans trying to get more out of life by living with less. We meet entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, brokers and families, all with different stories and varying perceptions of what minimalism looks like. The reason why I’m recommending this documentary is because of how relatable it is – we’ve all bought things that we shouldn’t have or didn’t need or even forgot we had. And so, I challenge all of you to watch it, to see if you might recognise yourself in someone else’s story.
Watch the documentary here
Written by Megan Bull