How I Became a (Kind-of) Minimalist
Updated: Feb 14
Yeah, minimalism is all the rage right now--especially if you feel like you have too much stuff in your life.
Well, I'm not a minimalist. Not really. I mean, the idea of sleeping on a wooden floor and eating nothing but lettuce and Sunchips isn't quite my style.
Besides, despite much of it's protesting, minimalism is really just the other side of the coin that is crazy materialism. The latter says your stuff makes you happy, and the former says your lack of stuff makes you happy.
Most of us, though, tend to lean more towards materialism than minimalism, I'll wager. If nothing else, then, maybe there are a few aspects of minimalism that might help us out in day-to-day life.
Here's a few I thought of:
Necessity: There's nothing quite as exciting as going shopping, is there? Once upon a time, Americans pretended that women had a special proclivity for shopping. today, it's abundantly clear that both of the sexes enjoy perusing the aisles (whether that be in-person or online). Minimalism, though, isn't much for shopping. Instead, it's more focused on procuring. Unlike shopping, procuring is only interested in fulfilling an already identified need, rather than discovering the newest, coolest thing. Once a need is identified, it can be fulfilled, bringing us conveniently to the next point.
Versatility: Life is incredibly complex, so it makes sense to simplify it where you can. I like to use "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps," for example, for everything from body wash to stove top cleaner to shaving lotion. It's a great product, sure, but it also means I spend less time comparing options at the store. In other words, less time shopping. I've also noticed that a few less shirts in my closet makes it a lot easier to decide what I'm going to wear to work each morning.
Sustainability: I've never thought of myself as being especially environmentally-minded, but I've noticed that my experimentation with minimalism has made me more aware of the resources I'm utilizing. Having a single reusable water bottle makes it painfully clear how many plastic bottles of water or soda I was consuming, and I never realized how many trash bags I was using until I realized that I hadn't needed to buy another roll in over two months. Less money spent, more environmentally friendly--I'd call that a win all around.
Like anything else, minimalism can become an obsession--and an unhealthy one at that. In small doses, though, some of its principals can be used to free up a lot of mental and emotional space in your life. Just imagine how many great things you might be able to do for others, for example, if you didn't need spend quite so much time in the mornings choosing your outfit.
Do you have an experience with minimalism? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org might even be featured in a future article!