The main problem I find in reading, and re-reading arguments for and against minimalism is that they seem to all veer towards one extreme or another.
Like with spending and saving, it is never all or nothing for me.
It’s a balance between the two.
As a minimalist, I want ENOUGH stuff to make me happy and not make me feel deprived, but I also don’t need tons of things to make me happy.
My best example? Clothing. I am a clothing fiend.
Clothing for me is less just about function than it is for function, beauty, and general feel-good of wearing nice things that fit well, look good and are of high quality.
Take for instance coats.
I enjoy very much having different coats for different reasons:
- For when the weather dips below -10 C (14F), rains or is warmer
- For a different look (different length of coat, colour, styling)
- Just because it’s a classic piece
All in all, I have about 5 coats that cover the gamut:
(Note: Coats #3 and #4 are the same coat, it just came with different cuffs and belts.)
Do I need all 5 coats? No. Two, perhaps three (one for rainy days) could do it, I’d wager.
But they make me happy and I see a value in them, which is why I own them.
I don’t need multiples of the same coat to be happier, but I do like having variety because I see a value in it.
In contrast, if we look at tank tops for instance, I have one in each neutral colour (grey, white, black) and that’s it.
Does having more than 3 tank tops make me happier? No.
Or how about shorts? I hate wearing shorts, and I own exactly 0 pairs of shorts.
Would buying a wardrobe of shorts make me happy? No.
It’s all in how you see and treat your stuff, and if it is valuable to you or not.
Clothing and things in general that hang in your closet with the tags still on, unloved, unworn, gathering dust, or perhaps worn only once then tossed aside, has no value to you based on your actions of how you treat what you own.
So why keep the stuff you really don’t want because you don’t even use it?
Do you really need another item, another substitute, another duplicate?
That’s really all minimalism is about.