For all of us minimalist enthusiasts who have pursued minimalism full force – and then found ourselves struck by reality, the popular blog “Art of Manliness” just wrote a balanced article on the subject.
I think Brett and Kate McKay make some excellent points about what might make EXTREME minimalism unattainable for the normal person.
(I would REALLY suggest taking 7 minutes and reading their thoughts, but I’m going to super simplify what they say.)
They point out that the minimalist lifestyle is much more attainable if you have (1) money and (2) if you don’t have lifestyle responsibilities (ie: children). They then go on to conclude that a balanced person is someone who knows himself and keeps and uses what he needs.
The article addressed what many of us aspiring minimalists run into so I wrote down a few thoughts.
Minimalism is (by many definitions a reaction to consumerism and materialism.)
But like any reaction it gets out of balance.
Minimalism is great for:
Learning who you are
Realizing what you want
Realizing what you don’t want
Knowing where you are going
But like anything created by us humans, we can get consumed with it and lose the bigger picture. (For me, as a Christian, the bigger picture is Christ)
When I’m decluttering, I need to be keeping Him as my focus. I get rid of extras so I can complete my calling He gives, have time to know Him and show His love to others.
Minimalism is a philosophy:
Like any philosophy we can read about it, learn from it, reject parts of it and become better more educated people from the knowledge of it.
For Christians, it can help us recognize idols in our lives (consumerism, pride of life, lust of the eyes).
Minimalism Costs AND Saves Money
The McKays have printed other great articles on the benefits of minimalism, so I’m not going to complain too much, but while the article points out that minimalism costs, it does not touch on that minimalism saves.
As a normal person, I agree, I have to keep things (that I’d rather not). Next baby that rolls around, I’ll need to pull out a tub of increasingly thread-bare slightly stained items, but admittedly, that is all my budget can afford right now.
However, through taking a more thoughtful approach to what i keep (brought somewhat by marturity and somewhat by what I’ve read on minimalism, I’ve learned that I can get rid of many pieces of clothing, spend $20 on 4 or 5 pieces to round out the wardrobe the next time, or weigh my costs (as covered in my article here.)
Minimalism is a Means
I loved their conclusion. Ultimately, when we get to know ourselves, our faith, and our goals, we know what stays and what goes. Whether we call it minimalism or maturity or balanced, we know what to do.
PS: Be sure to come back tomorrow as Lyd has a really fascinating post she will be sharing on how their family of 5 has survived 7 months without steady income. Really great tips and approaches.