This post is a little different than my others because it doesn’t include food or chemical-free tips and tricks. Instead, I wanted to open a dialogue on minimalism as a way of life.
Conceptually, minimalism may seem like learning how to live with next to nothing. At first, I couldn’t wrap my mind around how or the movement to live in tiny houses (usually built on trailer beds), with only 10-15 items of clothing, 3 spoons and a couple forks (or sporks, for the extreme).
Before I go any further, I suppose I should mention what being a minimalist really means. Joshua Becker over at Becoming Minimalist describes his experience of owning fewer possessions as having,
“more money, more time, more energy, more freedom, less stress, and more opportunity to pursue our greatest passions: faith, family, friends.”
Well doesn’t that sound nice? Essentially, by having less, we are able to live more.
As a product of modern society, we often measure success by the stuff people have. Consumerism and capitalism at its finest has trained us to not only work hard, but to also spend, spend, spend. Genius marketing has got us lined up outside Apple stores for over 24 hours, just to get a chance to buy the latest iPhone (even though our current phone is perfectly fine). Today’s technology is a wonderful thing, but we have become obsessed with the new and unsatisfied with what we already have.
Minimalism does not mean depriving ourselves and it isn’t something that is meant to happen overnight. Gradually letting go of clothing, toys, kitchen gadgets, decorations, nail polish… while hard at first, will create more space for more experiences and fulfillment in our lives.
Owning giant homes, filled with material things, can represent wealth and success in a capitalist society. There is no problem being proud of hard work and enjoying the returns. However, justifying purchases because “we deserve it” without really thinking if we need it can lead to inflated feelings of entitlement.
I’m not saying sell your home, your cars, and all your stuff. Minimalism is different for everyone. Simple buying less or donating a bag of clothing a month are great ways to simplify your life.
When we own so many things, we find our days off working to maintain all those things. We’ve all had those Sundays where we find ourselves catching up on household chores and laundry. Organizing and re-organizing to make room for the latest kitchen appliance or Tupperware collection, or meticulously dusting the chotchkies shelf and making a space for that owl statue from Marshall’s you simply couldn’t resist (.99 cents!).
What if instead we spent our time away from work or school doing things we love with people we love. No, I don’t mean shopping the latest sales. I mean really creating memories and experiences that enrich your life and character.
My husband and I decided to embark on our own minimalist journey a few months ago. An upcoming move was a great motivator to simplify. Honestly, we have moved quite a bit over the last few years so we really do not own any furniture that we take around with us. We did, however, have stuffed closets and crowded kitchen cabinets.
Our culling began with our closets by separating things into 3 categories; Keep, Sell, and Donate. Pretty self-explanatory. I’m a sentimental person so letting go at first was difficult but then I relished in the challenge of seeing just how small I could make my wardrobe. My ultimate goal is to have a capsule wardrobe of 10-15 items for each spring/summer and fall/winter. The idea of not having to think about what to wear each day because everything works together sounds sooo freeing to me. Furthermore, having fewer items means I can spend a little more on high quality pieces that will last for years.
Maybe I will write more about our personal experience with minimalism in the future, if there is an interest.
In the meantime, I suggest you check out:
or do a YouTube search for “Project 333,” if this interests you. There are many blogs out there that go in much more depth about how liberating minimalist living can be. Each person has a unique perspective and it can be helpful to gather ideas from others when it comes to de-cluttering. Oh, and the pictures in this post were from our trip to Cambodia, where people have found happiness in owning way less than we can ever imagine.
Here’s to the simple life; thanks for reading.