What Is Minimalism?
Minimalism is an attempt to live with less.
The general principle is that everyday life is filled with clutter and minimalism is a refutation of the clutter. There is no set number of things you’re allowed to own. There is no code or no bylaws you are forced to follow. It is simply a decision to remove the frivolous things in life to focus on the stuff that matters.
Ultimately, minimalism is a means to an end. It is not the goal. You don’t arrive. It is a tool. It helps us live better lives and make a better world.
1. It Helps Us Live A Better Life:
We live with less clutter.
Minimalism is an attempt to deliberately choose what and how much comes into our lives. Clutter is the extra stuff. The stuff that isn’t in the right place. The stuff that gets in the way. Clutter is anything not being used or stored in an appropriate manner.
With minimalism, we choose to eliminate clutter. We donate, we sell, we refuse to buy stuff that will ultimately become clutter and get in the way of our better life.
We know what we have and we choose to have it.
We have conscious control over the stuff in our lives. Some things are very useful and add great value and joy to our lives. We keep those things.
On the other hand, some things are extraneous and take up excess space and resources. They could be useful to someone else, but for us, they more than likely get in the way. We don’t keep those things.
We save money.
Built into minimalism is the aversion to the “impulse buy”. When we buy something, we are intentional about it. We choose it ahead of time, not when we are in the store. Now, we aren’t perfect, but this principle has saved us money not buying things that we don’t need. Instead, we spend money on things that will truly make an impact in our lives.
2. Minimalism Helps Us Make A Better World:
We’re not hoarding resources.
As previously mentioned, some of the things that aren’t useful to us could be very useful to someone else. We don’t need to keep those things. We have a local non-profit thrift store that takes donations where we’ve donated many of our things. We’ve had a free yardsale where we’ve given people in the community things they may be able to use.
A neighbor of ours was looking for a specific electronic device. He stopped by our free yardsale and found that we had one. We saved him money and we didn’t hoard what we had but didn’t use.
We’re not buying packaged items.
When we’re constantly buying things from the store or having them shipped from Amazon, those items come in packaging. We then throw away the packaging. That is waste we feel like we can eliminate. We aren’t creating demand for plastic and we aren’t throwing any extra stuff in the landfill. Minimalism is a way for us to reduce our carbon footprint, energy usage, and consumer demands.
We use fewer resources.
With less stuff, we use less energy. We don’t need to power all the gizmos and gadgets that suck up electricity. We live in a smaller apartment and have lower heat and air conditioning needs. We use fewer one-time-use items and reduce our waste. We consciously choose to lower our carbon footprint.
Life With Intention
For us, minimalism is a decision to live with intention.
When we choose minimalism, we choose what’s important. We choose where our money goes. We choose how we spend our time. We choose what impacts us. We choose how we impact the world around us.
We choose to live simply.
We choose the stuff that matters.
(We’re not perfect, but we’re getting better!)
PS. Minimalism Is For The Privileged
At some point we must recognize that minimalism is only an option when we have more than we need. While we have more than enough, some don’t.
This should be deeply concerning. Many people are not as fortunate. Many people don’t have the choice to be minimalists. Are we hoarding stuff to provide security and comfort rather than sharing the incredible fortune that has been given to us? That is not the person I want to be. That is not the type of world and culture and community that I want to be a part of.
I am the first to admit that hard work is a differentiator. I am also the first to admit that I had great parents, received an education, was supported in my collegiate studies, and fell into a community that provided great mentors and support. I had so much help.
How much help have we all had?
With minimalism there comes an awareness.
We have been helped.
Let us help others in return.
Let us make a better world.