The other day, I mentioned how I have begun to embrace a more minimalist lifestyle. It is not just my decor which feels over cluttered, but also everything else in my life. I have decided to use the opportunity of moving to make some dramatic changes in my life. I have spent a good deal of time introspectively recently trying to discover what I truly draw happiness from in life. Surprise, surprise, it isn’t stuff. I have come to feel that the things in my life have become a burden which often distracts me from the activities which grant me the most contentment.
I believe that it is a mistake to define minimalism as living with less; that would imply that ones life is somehow incomplete. Rather, becoming a minimalist, is about living with less; less than what one currently owns. How then, to define minimalism as a lifestyle? There are many forms of minimalism and the word, no doubt, means something different to each of us. Some narrow the number of objects they own down to 100 items, others go without a bed or other furniture, others may live entirely out of a backpack while traveling the world. These are purposefully extreme examples. Minimalism is not defined by the amount of things which one owns. A minimalist may own 100 items or 1,000. Perhaps they do not feel the need even to count. Any person who is content to live with enough, without excess, can be a minimalist. It up to each of us to define what qualifies as enough for ourselves. One should not have look outside of oneself to make this definition. It is not for one person to define the lifestyle of another, nor reject that others definition. What is important, when it comes to minimalism, is that one is content with the amount of things which one owns, but also that one does not look to those things to define that contentment.
Moving on. I would like to create a working definition for my minimalist journey. My goal is to live an uncomplicated, simpler life, to spend less money and time on physical things, and to focus on rewarding activities instead. In short, to seek contentment. I aim to realize this goal partially though minimalist living. How then shall I create a working definition? By taking to heart these immortal words:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann