Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Let's Talk About Minimalism

A few months ago I wrote about finding my kind.  Finding my place.  Feeling at home.  In the minimalist movement.

Much of that post talked about getting rid of stuff.  And having less stuff is certainly a big part of minimalism.  But minimalism is so much more than that.

It would take many posts to give you an accurate idea of the current minimalist movement.  I'm sure I will write about it again to cover various areas and how they fit into my life.  But for now, I would like to offer a small introduction to minimalism of today.

While there is a push toward minimalist architecture and decorating and design, that's not really what I'm talking about.  The minimalism I'm talking about is a lifestyle change. 

As with any lifestyle generalization there are many different interpretations on what it means to be a minimalist.  There are probably as many interpretations as there are people trying to live this lifestyle.

A few of the things I've seen people working toward:  owning fewer than 100 things; 33 items in their wardrobe; quitting their regular job; becoming location independent; giving up their car; traveling the world with nothing but their backpack and a laptop.

I do not anticipate doing any of these things.

More commonly I read about people who are getting rid of stuff, rethinking commitments, challenging the ideas that they've been told for years, defining what they want out of life and making it happen.

My definition:  Minimalism is about creating space for the things you love.  Maybe that's physical space and you're focusing on clutter.  Maybe that's time and energy and you're adjusting your work week.  Maybe it's emotional space and you are letting go of relationships that are draining.  Whatever.

It's not about living without.  It's about only having what you need and what you love, realizing that anything extra takes away from the joy of life.  It's not all about thrift shopping.  Maybe instead of ten cheap pairs of pants I want to own three really nice ones. 

It's about choosing what I want in my life, what feels good in my heart.  It's about knowing when I have enough.  It's about living with intent.  It's about slowing down.  It's about making this very moment important, no matter what I'm doing.  It's about not choosing things based on what other people say I should want.  It's about listening to my own heart and letting it help me find myself.  Chipping away at all the garbage the world has buried me in.

It's about thinking.  Choosing.  And enjoying.


Linda said...

I like that -- "living with intent". To me it implies I think about what I'm doing and how it effects everything else.

Also, about listening to myself--something I'm seriously working on.

This is a great post Robin. It says so much about how minimalism is a way of living or really quite simply about the meaning of our lives.

And, she's back!!!

Bonnie said...


For me, minimalism has been a growing thing, from getting rid of two garbage trucks full of things in a house that was too small to it, to eventually moving with what fit in a minivan around kids and a little 4'x7' trailer. *When* we accumulated again (and we did), it was conscious.

Our life is devoid of lessons or teams. Sometimes I wonder if I've taken that too far, but I know me well enough to know that I start being less a parent when my life goes too fast. Other people can handle it - I can't. That's the essence of the minimalist choice to me - knowing myself and my kids well enough to make our life fit us, not the other way around.

And it is JOY! Wahoo!!

The flowers, they own me, however ...

Broot said...

I, too, like "living with intent." Been trying to get there myself. Not always easy, though. :(

Rob-bear said...

I appreciate your thoughts, Robin. I'm sorting through minimalist intentions too. Lots to consider.

The Blonde Duck said...

I love this! It's so much better to live simply!

Caren with a "C" said...

Good thoughts Robin! I have such a hard time getting rid of items that others have given me that I don't LOVE. So it gets stacked in a pile and then becomes clutter. I really should just 'let it go' since I really do want to just be surrounded with those things I love.

Stephi said...

The simple life- more quality than quantity. For me this year has been about getting rid of a few toxic relationships. I can tell you it has ruffled a few feathers. Great post!.For me this year has been about getting rid of a few toxic relationships. I can tell you it has ruffled a few feathers. Great post!.

Running Circles said...

Loved it and I need more of it!

Lesley said...

what an awesome post....I would love to gear my life more towards that type of lifestyle....I feel more chaotic with more stuff....and work hard to keep my life as simple as possible, though lately I haven't been doing such a good job! Happy SITS day!

Day said...

I love this post.

Lisa said...

You've inspired me to do the same. I'm actually so excited about it. And have you ever heard of or read Wayne Dyer? A list of his products/books can be found www.drwaynedyer.com. He has abook called "The Power of Intention". His stuff is awesome. Give me your address and I'll send you a book of his. I think you'll love it.