If you stepped into my house right now, the scene would
probably quickly make you question what I’m doing writing about minimalist living.
You’d be hard-pressed to find one square foot of space that looks like a minimalist lives here. Several boxes of papers and random memorabilia sit beside a desk that appears to be used more as a shelf than an actual work area. In the corner, a card table hides under more piles, and a forgotten sandwich looks at home among the crumbs left from lunch. You certainly wouldn’t need to question if the living room was lived in. Meanwhile, playing loudly in the background like an obnoxious children’s song, are the refrains of The Bathroom Renovation That Never Ends.
Pinterest won’t be calling anytime soon.
Let’s be honest, even on a good day Pinterest wouldn’t be beating down our doors. We live in a trailer that shows its age in more ways than I can count, and couldn’t pose for a picture to save its life.
But we are more happy and less stressed than we could have begun to imagine being 4 years ago – those boxes are actually already sorted into need-to-be-scanned and need-to-take-a-picture before we get rid of them, and represent only an 8th of what we already threw away in that round. The bathroom renovation means that we are moving closer to being able to rent out our home, increasing our chances of someday inhabiting a more Pinterest-ing space.
We’ve been exploring minimalism for over 2.5 years now, and all I can say is that I wish we’d started 10 years ago when we got married. It takes time to challenge an ingrained mindset, and though changing our mindset started before being introduced to minimalism, it played a big part in developing the lifestyle of freedom we are blessed to live today.
There is an aspect of life that is learning to be content in all circumstances, but there is also a time to recognize that sometimes your circumstances won’t change until you do!
If the mention of minimalism causes you to picture life in a monastery, or people who have a picture inventory of everything they own (because it’s like 50 things), or the tiny house movement where people voluntarily down-size to a 130ish sq foot home, then you may have dismissed it as something for crazy hippies.
But I wholeheartedly believe that minimalism is for everyone.
Minimalism is not about subscribing to an extremist lifestyle. It’s also not just some ethereal way of thinking, difficult to pin down and realistically apply.
Minimalism is about having the space and freedom in your life for what really matters.
I bet you’re actually already a minimalist at heart.
Lorilee Lippincott from Loving Simple Living says you can call yourself a minimalist if:
- You are consciously making choices for a simpler life.
- Don’t want your life to be defined by your material possessions.
- (You) are working toward keeping what you need and love and reducing clutter.
The Minimalists explain minimalism as:
… a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.
There are many flavors of minimalism: a 20-year-old single guy’s minimalist lifestyle looks different from a 45-year-old mother’s minimalist life. Even though everyone embraces minimalism differently, each path leads to the same place: a life with more time, more money, and more freedom to live a more meaningful life.
When you define it like that, who wouldn’t be on board?
Want to explore more of what it means to be minimalist and the resulting space and freedom it creates in your life? Let’s take simple living from something you wish for to something you actually do!