Balanced Minimalism

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:

Letting go

Moving on

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.

2 thoughts on “Balanced Minimalism

  1. Jeanne

    Great post! I also love the article you are referring to. It was highly instructive for me because it allowed me to reflect on my own behavior.

    I have always been naturally inclined to minimalism so I never had to make a big purge or anything like that. I just find simplicity very appealing and I try to apply that in all areas of my life, including material possessions.

    However, what happened lately is that I have been reading far too many blog posts about minimalism because I though that a more radical form of minimalism would help me to focus more of what is important in life. As a mother of an 11 month old baby I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the practical aspects of life. Strangely all this reading about minimalism, while it helped me getting rid of some unecessary stuff, it also diverted my attention from the important stuff. I found myself spending far too much time on pondering what I wanted to save and why, what I could donate etc… Far too much of my awakened time was spent thinking about material possessions and how to have less of them.

    As the article (and you) pointed out, everything is about balance. I really think that minimalism is a great help to live a more peaceful and more serene life, but it should never become a goal in itself (i.e. when the number of possessions matters). It should be a servant not a master! I had lost sight of that, thank you for reminding me!

    1. Admin Post author

      “Servant not a master” I love that! So true and well said! Thanks!

      I’ve appreciated your comments; you have some good thoughts. (Verity)


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