There’s a lot of people out there that have interesting ideas about what minimalism is and is not. That’s because it is subjective. I’ve been listening to podcasts and visiting websites trying to see how everyone’s ideas on the subject compare to mine.
There’s a lot of patting-self-on-back. Some of it comes off as a bit pretentious. I really don’t think that any of these folks are trying to come off that way so try not to pay that any mind. They’re proud of what they’ve accomplished and that’s a good thing I think. Although I do think It’s kind of funny that they call themselves minimalists but a half hour long podcast has intro music, sponsor/ad, and then a few minutes of rambling before they get in to anything viable.
I think if you’re going to blog or podcast, especially about a subject like minimalism, you need to get right to the meat and the taters.
And that leads me in to the meat and taters of this post.
Minimalism IS about value. It’s not just your stuff that has value. Your time, your heart, your soul, they all have value. The person who sees the most value in these things is, of course, yourself. Do you love yourself? How many of you work jobs you hate to pay bills you don’t want or need to deal with? Why do you put yourself through this? If it’s not making you happy then it’s time to move on or take steps toward moving on. If you don’t know what happiness it then it’s time to take steps toward figuring it out. Life is too short to be miserable. Self-love in Minimalism 101.
Minimalism IS about simplification. If you don’t need it. If you don’t want it. Consider getting rid of it. Done and done. Your time is precious. If you have no interest in your own life or how you’re spending your time and hard earned money, then you’re doing it wrong. Cut the things out of your life that don’t matter. The more I do this, the more happiness fills the empty space that was left behind. Deaccumulate your bullshit, not just physical belongings.
Minimalism IS NOT about throwing your stuff away. Why would anyone do this? It’s so wasteful. Minimalism is supposed to be about NOT being wasteful. If you have too much stuff, do not throw it away just to get rid of it. Wait for it to go bad or break and just don’t replace it. How hard is that? If you can get some cash out of old things you aren’t using, then do it. The last time I owned a television was 2007. I hadn’t watched it in almost a year so I sold it to a crackhead for $50. Haven’t bought a tv since. Why? Netflix. Spending hundreds of dollars on a nice television and over $1,000 a year on cable/satellite doesn’t make sense to me when I can pay $8 a month for netflix and watch it just fine on my seven year old laptop. Need/want to get rid of something now? Donate it.
Minimalism CAN be a spiritual thing. It doesn’t have to be. It isn’t for me. But I certainly understand the spiritual side of it. When I started making things for myself, I felt something. I suppose it could have been spiritual, but I really don’t think of it like that. What I felt was hype. I was like “Wow, I made something. I want to make more things. I want to be self-sufficient.” And I’ve experimented with several things. Toothpaste, for example, was something that didn’t work out. I tried multiple times and I just didn’t like it. But I save a ton of money by making my own stuff and it makes me happy.
Minimalism IS about maximizing happiness. If having lots of clothes truly makes you happy, then have yourself lots of clothes. As long as your wear them all. If it’s buying the clothes, or shopping in general that makes you happy, then you have a problem with consumption, and that is NOT minimalism. If guns are your thing, then have guns. As long as you shoot them. If you just want to collect them you’re wasting your money and space in your home. if you just want to talk to other collectors about all of the guns that you have to try to impress them, you’re wasting your time on top of the previous two. Once again, NOT minimalism. Bragging about the things that you have/own really isn’t proper adulting in this day and age. It’s not the 80s…
It ISN’T just about the what. It IS also about the why. Why are you buying that? Why do you think you need it? Why do you think it’s going to make you happy? Ask yourself questions before spending money or making adult decisions impulsively.
Slightly off topic: For anyone looking for a fresh start, minimalism is great. If you think getting away from your town/city/friends/family is gonna do the trick, it won’t. Running away is never going to work. Trust me. I know. I tried. Six or seven times now. Happiness truly comes from within and once it’s there it will usually shield you from outside shenanigans. Force yourself to not worry about the things you can’t control.
These are just a few things that come to mind when people ask/wonder about this buzzword that I’m sure some of you have heard the last few years. It isn’t for everyone. But if you’re into giving it a try and would like some advice, contact me or leave a comment and I would be more than happy to help or answer questions.