Minimalism: What it is and What it is not

Drowning in all my stuff, I scoured the internet a few years back for decluttering tips.

That is where I learned of this neat concept going on called Minimalism.

Although I’ve in no way converted my lifestyle to reflect the extreme versions of this movement, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having my previously high view of possessions challenged by some of the interesting blogs and books out there today.

Here is an overview of my conclusions on minimalism.

Minimalism Definition: A lifestyle in which you minimize all the extras so that you are down to only the essentials.

Minimalism Purpose: Eliminate all extra weight and free yourself so you can achieve your personal goals and dreams.

Minimalism looks different for different people.

A homeowner cannot minimize down as far as a renter. The renter can call the landlord if the drain backs up, but a homeowner has to either buy an auger or spend $200 on a plumber.

The fact is Minimalism is not cut and dry. You can’t find a ‘list of essentials’ that will work for everyone (though I did look) because everyone has different goals and dreams.

One family has a dishwasher; they have eight sippy cups for their two toddlers because after every meal, they stick the cups in the dishwasher which is run during the night. Another family has only two sippy cups for their two toddlers. They hand wash, dry, and put away the cops after every meal.

A family with a washing machine can have less clothes then one that is only able to get to the laundry matt once a week.

Different lifestyles require different levels of minimalism in different areas.

Minimalism MEANS different things to different people.

We eliminate OUR personal nonessentials. For me, I’ve realized that the reason I was purge my nonessentials is specifically to spend more time with my children, be a better mom, and become organized enough to have a large, happy family. Things that I had to minimize where all the things that hindered my being a better wife and mom. That iss my dream and goal. I always wanted a lot of kids, and I was finding that all my clutter was making it hard to have 1 kids let alone a lot!

It was okay for others  to have different goals because Minimalism is not necessarily a moral choice

I say that carefully – because everything we do springs out of our moral center, beliefs, and convictions. However, someone is not less of a person if they are have a huge attic of storage. Some people can organize, care for, and keep track of a huge amount of stuff while others cannot. Having less stuff does not make you more mature or spiritual. It simply means that you have realized that life is easier and happier for you with less stuff.

Also, minimalism is not opposite of materialism.

When you make the choice to pair down your items to the most valuable, the absolutely most sentimental and most useful, you pass each item through a stringent filter.

Only the best survive.

When one of those items is ruined in the typical sway of daily life, you find yourself more disappointed then you otherwise would have been. You know exactly how important that item is. Your toddler figured out how to get the safety handle off, broke into the linen closet, and ruined her second best pants pair with a bottle of nail polish. You know that that ruined pair of pants was especially important because it was nice enough for company and durable enough for play and matched 5 out of her 6 shirts. You’ve given that pair of pants more thought then you every would have before you started a minimalistic approach to life. In order to respond rightly to that situation, you need to realize one important thing.

Arm in arm with minimalism must come a realization that stuff is not important as people.

This is NOT the moment to freak out because her carefully minimized wardrobe is now not perfect.

This is the moment to thank the Lord that she did not get into the cleaning chemicals on the next shelf and talk to her about not breaking into the linen closet again.

Remember, Minimalism is a MEANS to an end. It is NOT and end in itself.

- Verity

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