Defining minimalism

By Kate 

Various bloggers have blogged about minimalism.

According to The Minimalists, minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.

According to Colin Wright of Exile Lifestyle, minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff – the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities – that don’t bring value to your life.

According to Leo Babuata of Zen Habits, minimalism is simply getting rid of things you do not use or need, leaving an uncluttered, simple environment and an uncluttered, simple life. It’s living without an obsession with material things or an obsession with doing everything and doing too much. It’s using simple tools, having a simple wardrobe, carrying little and living lightly.

According to Courtney Craver of Be More With Less, minimalism comes in many shapes and sizes. While there is no one, right way to live a minimalist lifestyle, you do typically choose to live with less. In her minimalist approach, less spending, less stuff and less obligation, are all part of being a minimalist.

While this shows that there is no one single definition that defines minimalism or what being a minimalists is about. There is also no textbook reference that if you follow through steps A-Z, you will become a minimalist. Minimalism is not a science. Each individual craft their own set of parameters and approach, just like how the above bloggers defined it for themselves.

For me, minimalism is a concept of living with less, living with the essentials, and getting rid of the clutter that doesn’t add value in your life.

Very similar to the various definitions above. Pretty easy to understand as well.

But this is all subjective.

First and foremost – the concept of living with less. How do you define less?

Courtney Craver piloted the successful Project 333, to show that we could live with 33 pieces of clothing in 3 months. Is 33 the magic number? Does that mean that if we live with 34, 35 or more clothing within this timeframe, you are no longer a minimalist?

The answer is no.

You define what is less. For you, less could be 100 pieces of clothing. Don’t be too harsh on yourself if you are not able to pare it down to 33 like what Courtney did. You define what you need and do not. It doesn’t make you happier if you are forced to cut down your wardrobe just for the sake of making it to a number, and forced to discard what you really like. If you happen to like 100 out of the original 500 pieces that you have in your wardrobe. Sure, why not, it’s definitely a huge pare down compared to before.

What minimalism is to one, might not be the same to another person. 

As readers of the blog might know, this blog was started by myself and my husband Dave, as we seeked to progress our journey towards minimalism.

We started at different points, journeyed at different pace. And at this point in time, he definitely owned much lesser possessions than I have.

Dave have always felt that I have failed to comprehend the essence of minimalism, due to having too many possessions (I did cut down tremendously though!), and perhaps my bad habits of leaving things everywhere, and not putting them back in their proper place. I don’t blame him for thinking that way, as this often adds to clutter in the house.

However, does that mean that I am not a minimalist?

Maybe no.

Maybe yes.

Minimalism is a journey, and is unique to each individual. We define our own parameters but more often than not, enjoy the same benefits (feel lighter, more focused, happier).

Yes, I have a bigger wardrobe.

Yes, I own more possessions than Colin Wright (he only owns 55 items according to this post).

But I did declutter, and am still decluttering.

I do reassess my shopping list.

And because my life is relatively more clutter-free compared to previously, I feel lighter, and find that I have more resources to pursue in my interests (like writing and contributing to this blog).

I might not be a hard-core minimalist, but I am a minimalist in the making.






One thought on “Defining minimalism

  1. Pingback: The not-so-positive remarks about minimalism | Minimalist in the city

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