I’m a minimalist, but I’m thinking that’s not the right word to describe myself any more.
I say minimalist with some trepidation because I think that word conjures up images of someone who lives with a teacup on a mat in a single room with 2 neutral outfits to rotate, which is 180 degrees away from who I am.
(Only 2 outfits? IN NEUTRALS? Are you crazy?!)
What I’ve been noticing for a while, is people are taking swipes at the lifestyle to gain what I like to call a herd mentality of other folks who all brandish pitchforks and scream in unison:
BURN ALL THE MINIMALISTS!!
I WANT TO SHOP LIKE CRAZY FOR STUFF I’LL NEVER USE, BUT WILL KEEP FOREVER!!!
SO SCREW THEM AND THEIR HIPPIE, NEW AGE DECLUTTERING!!!!
I ABSOLUTELY NEED THOSE 20 BOXES OF JUNK I HAVEN’T OPENED SINCE 1990!
Admit it, it’s what you may have thought deep down inside at one point or another.
EVERYONE FEELS LIKE A MINIMALIST AT TIMES
What’s funny, is that these folks are probably slightly minimalist themselves.
If you think about de-cluttering, getting rid of stuff you don’t use any more, or cleaning out your basement of boxes filled with stuff you haven’t touched in years — you’re a hybrid minimalist, like me (for lack of a better term).
If you think about not buying something because you’re not sure if you can get enough cost-per-use out of it, you’re a hybrid minimalist like me.
If you get a headache thinking about moving from your current place because you can’t stand the thought of how much stuff you own and have to pack, you’re a hybrid minimalist like me.
(And you also vow to never accumulate all that stuff again, but we all know you will… 🙂 )
The same way that someone who keeps 50 boxes in their basement, neatly labeled and never opened is not a Hoarder in the truest of sense; someone who lives with stuff, but not just a teacup and a mat, is not an Extreme Minimalist, but perhaps a Hybrid Minimalist.
Or one with tendencies towards it.
You probably think you’re just a person who thinks you’ve wasted a lot of money over the years on disposable crap you have never used, and worst of all, paid for the space to store all that junk.
You call that frugality, I call it minimalism.
THERE IS NO MINIMALIST RULEBOOK
Unlike the hard fact that if you don’t save your money consistently, you’ll never be able to retire and will end up eating cat food, being a minimalist doesn’t really have hard and fast rules you have to follow.
If you’re focusing on the (fake) rules like that minimalists have to:
- live with only 100 things
- be young and childless
- not buy anything
- not watch TV
- shun cars in favour of bicycles
- turn into vegetarian/vegan/whatever doesn’t involve a face
- go green in all aspects of their life, even at the cost of functionality
- eat out frequently because they don’t have any pots or pans
- mooch off others by preaching how consumerism sucks while sitting on their couch with an i-Thing
… you’re focusing on all the wrong things that don’t even matter, and completely ignoring the actual benefits that come with having minimalist desires and tendencies.
Less than of those things on that list are applicable to me right now, but…
- I won’t be young and childless forever
- I won’t stop cooking at home (95% of my meals) to get rid of my pots and pants
- I certainly will not be giving up watching my favourite TV shows any time soon
- …nor stopping my purchases
I know one guy who calls himself a minimalist, which is how I started thinking a bit about it during my college days, although I didn’t start getting into the idea until after college.
He’s not young (in his 50s), he’s not childless, and he lives in a home, and rents out the other 3 that he owns.
He also works in a regular job that he goes to, and he doesn’t want to own excessive amounts of unused stuff, waste his money, and have to pay for the space of it to boot!
He just isn’t blogging about it, so what you’re reading is a one-sided view on the internet, which doesn’t show the range of the people who call themselves minimalists.
(He also refers to it as living a very Spartan lifestyle)
I JUST DON’T NEED/WANT AS MUCH AS SOMEONE ELSE
So yes, I can fit my household and my stuff into one car (along with BF’s stuff), but I have 5 boxes of kitchen equipment and utensils that we actually use to make food, not to leave lying around as decoration because it’s cute.
I am not really into decorating my home with non-functional items either, but I can appreciate it and even want it. I just don’t want to carry it all over the place.
I don’t have furniture except for a futon, but this works out because I live in hotels that already give you a table, chairs, a closet and drawers.
I don’t have hard assets like a house, but that’s because I’d never be living in it (my job takes me to different cities).
I am also not 100% adverse to ever owning a home, I just don’t want one right now to live in.
I’m thinking it makes more sense for me to buy a simple place in wherever I plan on retiring, in cash. Or live in, buy, and fix up one of the existing properties owned by our immediate and extended families.
I don’t have 20 boxes of tools to fix my home, because I rent an apartment or live in a hotel, and I don’t have to do any of the maintenance.
I’m just someone who only has what she wants to use, and what she needs.
I just don’t happen to need a lot of things that people feel are important for them.
It doesn’t feel like a sacrifice at all to me, even if people don’t see it like that.
I feel worse having to tote around, pack and have things I don’t use, than not having them at all.
Plus I don’t like wasting money that I could be saving instead.
What’s so wrong with that?
( Unless of course, all of this makes you feel bad about yourself, but that’s your problem, not mine. )