1.Minimalists only own the bare essentials.
The way I define minimalism: A clutter-free and nourishing flow of things into and out of your life. Maybe owning the bare essentials for a chapter in one’s life can be nourishing. But I’d guess that most of us never need nor desire this. Most people who identify as minimalists own quite a lot! The difference is, they know what they own, why they own it, and they love what they own.
The point is not to own less. The point is to conscientiously choose the appropriate volume of items to own, so that they never cause overwhelm or stress. Furthermore, your things you choose to own nourish and de-stress your life. Choosing to own just ten pieces of Tupperware makes using, storing, and cleaning them stress-free, for example, and I don’t sweat letting a friend keep one, because I know I can buy a nice new one to keep my 10 pieces rule. Minimal thinking required!
2. All minimalists are single, childless millennials.
This one makes me smile because I know families that are thriving because they have a balanced flow of things in and out – I would define them as true minimalists! In fact, there are a lot of self-proclaimed minimalist families and couples living busy lives. Joshua Becker is a leading example – he blogs his journey in how his wife and two kids went from a full house and full schedules to thriving as minimalists. He even offers a 12 week course for families to declutter their homes. Becker defines minimalism as “The intentional promotion of things we most value by removing what most distracts you from it.”
3. There is only one way to be minimalist.
The longer I am a minimalist and the more I learn about other people’s experiences, I see that minimalism is a big umbrella term. There’s no minimalism police nor rule book. Feel free to take what you resonate with and leave the rest. That’s minimalism in itself.
You can integrate these golden principles into your life as you see fit. It’s your life and you have the choice to clear out the distractions and clutter as you want to. You know you’re doing something right when it makes life easier, clearer, and lighter.
Like all cultural movements, there are fads to minimalism that will fade with time. However, there are pieces of gold that have already stood the test of time since the Industrial Revolution. Namely, acquisition of things for its own sake does not bring fulfillment. A second golden nugget is that things from your past can keep you mentally and emotionally stuck in the past. Do you want your belongings to keep you happy in the present? More on this in my next blog post, Minimalism for Sentimental Folks.