Sometimes it is easier to describe what something is NOT in order to clarify what it is.
- cannot be quantified by having 30 pieces of clothing or just two towels per person
- is not about having white walls and sparse furniture
- is not about throwing out things that you love
- is not about living in a 150 square foot space
- is not restrictive
- does not limit hobbies nor collections
- has no strict rules
- is not just for childless, young people.
Personally, I’ve toyed with the minimalist principles in the past but have been unmotivated to embrace them. Generally, I can justify most of the things that I own and feel comfortable in my home. I have long-standing hobbies (that I love) that require tools and supplies. I keep a home maintenance supply inventory to avoid frequent trips to the hardware store. I maintain some paper files for legal reasons and for convenience. There are resource books, magazines and supplies used in my business. I have extra towels and sheets for ease of laundering ... and because I have a cat who messies things up!
Now, I wonder how it would feel to consciously analyze what I do and what I own. To embrace minimalism I would find it easiest to start by decluttering. As I look around my home, I imagine that I would feel much freer without the things that no longer serve me. I could easily purge things that have accumulated over time: books, papers, china and silver, clothes, crafts, kitchen items, stored items and duplicates. Indeed, since doing some research on minimalism, I have been eyeing my stuff in a new light. Here and there, (closets, basement, garage, porch, and living spaces) I have begun selecting things that can go. I pile them near the door for my next trip to the donation center. I admit that I may miss some items for a bit, but I focus on appreciating the part they played in my life! I truly luxuriate in the extra space.
However we view minimalism, it is worthwhile to contemplate the possibility that intentional living may make us happier. Let’s not judge ourselves by the image of minimalism. Rather, let’s think daily about what we value and ask ourselves what things do and do not support those values. Eventually, when we are ready, our thoughts will turn to actions. We’ll get more time, space, freedom and peace, whether we call it minimalism or not.
Has anyone played around with minimalism? What were the results? Share your comments!