As I go on about four months of staying at home where I truly love to be I find myself reflecting on my values yet again. Pretty much my entire life I’ve taken a minimalist approach to many areas in my life in order to simplify save money and Live more intentionally. Over the past few years while making YouTube videos, I have noticed a trend of minimalist content that has been almost dogmatic in its approach. I have seen people conform to dogmatic approaches of minimalism and then sing the praises of joy when they finally are released from its grips–as if it was something that was a punishment rather than a flexible lifestyle to suit their needs and reflect their personal core values.
We are all very different people and thus we should all have different approaches to what minimalism looks like for us. I wanted to share some of the things that minimalism is not to me:
- Minimalism is not a bare kitchen: For my family and I cooking has always been a central an integral part of our family values. Having the tools we need in our kitchen to not only cook but prep our food for maximum health and financial returns is our ultimate goal. We do not remove items in our kitchen because we may have too many, rather we get and we keep what we need to be able to cook and prepare our food at home 99% of the time which is of the upmost importance to us.
- It is not about ‘counting’ items: Intentionality is at the core of a minimalist lifestyle and intentional living looks different for different people. Intentional living is value-driven living. If a big wardrobe is important to you but cooking isn’t then your lifestyle should reflect that. If having a big collection of books brings you joy, but you despise owning any make up, well then that is legitimate and you’re no less of a minimalist than someone who doesn’t own one book – and vice versa. Minimalism isn’t only about letting go of things, it is also about making room for the things that matter most. For me, this doesn’t come in the form of counting the number of items, but about evaluating the actual value the items bring to my life.
- It isn’t about decluttering: Minimalism is more about the slowing of accumulation of things rather than the sudden an instant purge and decluttering of our possessions. When we focus on slowing the accumulation we can seek contentment in what we already have. We can then also begin to reflect on the things that truly matter in our lives rather than distract ourselves by the constant feeling of voids, distraction of perfectly Pinterest worthy spaces, aesthetically pleasing visuals, and replacement / substitution of things we had for newer things that external influences tell us may be “better”.
- It’s not about stark spaces: Minimalism does not mean that we cannot have throw pillows and blankets if those things make us happy. It doesn’t mean we can’t have a wall full of pictures or artwork if those very things are truly what matter most to us. Minimalism is about mindful consumption, slow accumulation, and our space doesn’t have to be empty and void for us to call ourselves minimalists. To me our space is more about management rather than minimalism. If our space gets to a point where it is too much to manage and we have too many things that we cannot easily tidy and or put in their place, we need to reflect. Clutter-free living is not about living without, it is about being intentional about what we bring in, how we use the items and the intentional purpose behind each of them. This will look different for everyone — in every season of life.
- It isn’t about limitations: Minimalism to me as about mindful consumption, slow accumulation, and thoughtful value-based decision-making rather limited, dogmatic and scarce decision making. We constantly hear that minimalism is about living with less, but I would argue that it truly is about living with more. More time, more presence, more love, more joy, more connection, more space, more grace, more money, more impact, more purpose, and so much more. It is about more NOT less.
These are all the reasons why I think minimalism could perhaps be called something like “Maximalism” because this lifestyle truly brings more amazing benefits than it takes away. What are some of your reflections and takeaways from this lifestyle that leave you feeling more inspired and less deprived?