So what is minimalism?
Lots of people are talking about it, but it seems just as many are confused about the true meaning of minimalism.
I have been on this journey to enjoy life more and really value the things I do have.
The fact is, minimalism means something different to everyone. And I think people can have different levels of seriousness when it comes to implementing it.
Some take it to the extreme that they focus so hard on “being a minimalist” that they let it stress them out so much that they miss the whole purpose of having less. But more on that later.
While the dictionary doesn’t offer a clear definition, at least not in the context I’m talking about. It can help get a picture of what to strive for.
- What Minimalism Means
- The Joy Of Minimalism
- What Is An Example Of Minimalism
- Will Minimalism Automatically Make Me Content?
- What Is The Minimalist Lifestyle?
- Is Minimalist Living Boring?
- It Doesn't Mean You Have To Do A Radical Lifestyle Change
- Does This Mean I Can't Be Sentimental?
- Keep A Momentos Chest
- How To Have A Minimalist Home
What Minimalism Means
The dictionary’s definition refers to a few other things:
a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme sparseness and simplicity (Source: Merriam Webster)
Pay attention to these two key words – sparseness and simplicity. Those words lay a great foundation for a minimalist lifestyle.
thinly scattered or distributed: a sparse population. not thick or dense; thin: sparse hair. scanty; meager. (Dictionary.com)
Sparseness can seem like or be used in a negative context sometimes but it really isn’t as bad as you might think.
When you learn to run your life with sparseness, you’re letting go and giving up the excesses around you (things you can ‘spare’ and possessions you don’t need), and doing that will lead to a simpler and “stress less” life.
We can even take this a step further: Letting go of things in excess also means letting go of ‘busy work’ and time being wasted on things that really don’t need to happen.
The Joy Of Minimalism
In other words, minimalism is getting rid of all the excess around us so that we can live a life of meaning and simplicity—a life that brings us joy and happiness.
Think back to your childhood: Did you need a bunch of stuff to be happy or could you find happiness in a pile of library books, a single bag of building blocks, or adventuring on your bike until the sun went down?
That’s what minimalism is going to help us find again—that happiness from within that we got as kids when we didn’t have all the excess we do now.
What Is An Example Of Minimalism
In today’s world of consumerism, it’s not surprising that many of us have a lot of excess things in our homes and lives. We’re taught to want more, more, and more. Some people even define success by being able to afford a lot of possessions – a lot of EXPENSIVE possessions.
Here are some examples of minimalism in action.
- Choosing 6 chicks instead of getting 15 or 20 because you want more.
- Having 5-8 pairs of jeans instead of 20.
- Choosing to let go of things someone gave you out of fear of not having enough later.
- Not buying that new planner or notebook until the ones you have are used up.
- Seeing if a tool you have could do the job instead of buying that one specific tool to use only once.
- Ill even take it a step further. UNFOLLOWING people on social who make you feel like you need things they buy.
Sometimes we feel like we have to keep up with the Joneses. Whether “the Joneses” represent your neighbor or that influencer on Instagram you follow, buying tools, trainings (I am bad at this one when it comes to business education), bright shiny objects, tack, tools, trucks, farm utility vehicles, getting 20 chickens instead of only the 6 that you need, or other items that you don’t need.
These things simply drain your wallet, add to your stockpile of treasures, and deplete your mood when you discover months down the road that you haven’t used these items and have wasted hundreds or thousands of dollars in the process.
Will Minimalism Automatically Make Me Content?
I think you already know this. The answer is no. Contentment is a whole other battle on its own. Will it help and set you on the right path? YES.
Here is what I have seen in myself when it comes to being more content.
The less stuff I have around covering up the things I love. I am able to SEE the things I truly do love.
Having more stuff gives you the feeling of uneasiness and like you don’t have the answer to what you are looking for. Whether that means getting something done or finding a tool or clothing item.
It also adds more in your line of sight for your eyes and brain to process. Adding an extra layer of tiredness and stress.
What Is The Minimalist Lifestyle?
In short, the minimalist lifestyle is learning to live with fewer items in life. And if you want to take a step further less things on your calendar.
The level at which you take it is up to you.
You don’t have to get rid of everything you own. But instead, be more intentional about the things you keep.
Is Minimalist Living Boring?
Definitely not. This is a common misconception. Your daily life doesn’t have to be boring. What a minimalist life does is refocus your attention on something else. Ideally more meaningful and something that has more purpose.
A minimalist lifestyle will help you focus more on simple living and being content with less stuff and also enable you to spend more time on the things you love doing.
Spending more time on the things you love is one of the great benefits of minimalism. It helps you create more joy and peace in your life.
Will it be easy? Nope. You are completely retraining your mind and body to do something different than it’s used to doing.
Here are some ideas for you to shift your attention onto instead of what you feel like you are missing out on.
When you catch yourself reaching for your phone for that social media app. Get out a drawing pad and book. You could create a little drawing kit that is within reach so you will gravitate towards those things instead.
You could learn to crochet or knit. Having a ball of yarn and needle within reach is also a great way to spend your time. I love doing it while I watch a show or have one playing in the background. It allows me to watch a show but I don’t feel like I am totally wasting my time by staring at a TV screen.
Sitting outside on a good day with a magazine or just watching the birds outside is far more relaxing than you might think.
Here are some kit ideas to get you started on finding an alternative to focus your attention.
- Book – CROCHET FOR BEGINNERS: A Step By Step Guide To Learn Crocheting Easily. – See On Amazon
- Crochet Starter Kit Without Yarn – Hooks Kit 31 Piece Set with 9 Ergonomic Hook Sizes, 6 Plastic Yarn Needles, 16 Necessary Accessories with case Included for Sewing, Weaving, Crocheting – See On Amazon
- Crochet Starter Kit WITH Yarn – 63 Piece Crochet Kit with Yarn Set– Premium Bundle Includes 9 Crochet Hooks, 24 Acrylic Crochet Yarn Balls, 6 Needles, eBook, Bags and more – See On Amazon
- Embroidery Starter Kit – Nuberlic 3 Sets Embroidery Kit for Adults Cross Stitch Starter Kit Include Craft Stamped 3 Embroidery Cloth with Floral Pattern, 3 Embroidery Hoops, Threads and Needles – See On Amazon
It Doesn’t Mean You Have To Do A Radical Lifestyle Change
You don’t have to completely purge your house, delete all of your social accounts, cancel everything on your social calendar, and anything else you think of all at once.
In fact, I encourage you not to.
Take it one step at a time. Slowly work your way through each of your aspects of life.
If you are reading this post you very likely have an area of life you want to change. So start with that one. Then make a list of each area or category you want to work on.
Does This Mean I Can’t Be Sentimental?
Absolutely not. You can keep those things that mean something to you but it also means you have to be strategic about how you do it.
Do you want to keep mommas living room couch? Ok well, then you need to find a larger piece of furniture that has to go.
You can also consider keeping mementos that are smaller from someone you love. Maybe jewelry or a dish from their china set.
Keep A Momentos Chest
Find a cabinet, trunk, or tub that you can use as your keepsake chest. The things that mean something to you go in that space and once it starts to get full you have to make space for the new things.
I started doing this when I was younger with an old trunk I had. Things like notes younger people would give me. Or the mugs that a friend got me as a wedding gift.
Remember that the things that mean a lot to you now likely won’t mean as much to you in 10 years. It’s ok to keep them for a time. But if they don’t mean anything to you now. Be ok with letting them go.
Material objects simply remind us of what we already have in our hearts. They aren’t the actual life event or the memory itself.
How To Have A Minimalist Home
You can still have a beautiful home and inviting living spaces with warm colors and even four cozy pillows on your coach if you want to have them.
The balance comes when you catch yourself being tempted to buy more just because you want them.
Can you switch them up? Absolutely. But you need to be willing to let go of a few of the ones you already have.
You might also be surprised at the money you will be saving if you have fewer things. BUT doing so will also bring you the ability to buy more expensive or higher quality things.
One thing I also talk about in a few of my home decorating posts is how fewer items will look so much better than having too many items in one space. The design elements should be similar in style and work together. Not be a visual battleground.
Whether it is your home decor or hobbies the key to staying on the minimalist bandwagon is moderation. Instead of 12 cozy blankets. Keep 4 (one for each member of the family). If you have a hobby that you love then give it a specific space in your home and everything you have for that hobby has to stay within that space.
That’s not to say that material possessions are bad. They’re not. But when you start to feel overwhelmed and stressed and that causes you to have to give up things that are important to you just to keep up…. then consumerism has become a problem. It’s time to make changes.
Keep in mind that minimalism doesn’t have to be complicated. All it really boils down to is this: Reassessing your priorities so that you can get rid of all the excesses around you. So that it affords you the freedom to do things you find most valuable and that bring you the most happiness!