My husband and I were discussing his recent trip up North, when the idea of “Minimalism” came up. He asked me why I felt we needed the label of minimalism, instead of just living life the way we wanted. I didn’t know how to respond at first. I thought that he liked the idea of being “Minimalists” and even liked the title that came with it. I didn’t realize that in his mind we were boarding yet another train going somewhere fast. I will be honest, I am the type of person that loves to jump on board of anything that speaks to me in the moment. If I think it’s a good idea, I will join the club!
However minimalism has been different for some reason. I don’t put it in the same category as a new fad. It isn’t going out of style. Minimalism has spoken life into my home and my family. It has given us time to be quiet with our Creator God. It has been the outlet for allowing myself peace and calm.
So why the label? Simply put, I think it allows us to do life with like minded people. It is the same reason we label ourselves Christians, or Students, or Teachers. We give ourselves these labels in order to have relationship with those around us that are similar. I love meeting other minimalists because, we can discuss what it has done for us, and we can hear others stories of why, and how they chose to live simply. Although in all honesty if someone asks me about being minimalist I will gladly tell them my story and how amazing this new life is.
When my family came to the conclusion that we wanted to live a simpler life, I knew minimalism was the way to go. However we didn’t start off by throwing away all of our belongings. It actually started with simply not bringing anything new into our home for a month. Not purchasing anything that we didn’t need. We had to make the decision, that this was what we really wanted. We put ourselves through a small test. Once the month was over and I could see how much overspending I was doing, I realized that I had little to show for it. The things I was buying were not speaking life into me. Quite the opposite.
So after that month we began letting go of things that weren’t needs. We went room by room, decluttering. Which brings me to my next point of why minimalism matters. After seeing the amount of items I was sending to Donation centers, I realized how much waste we were making. Sure these items may get used elsewhere or find new homes, but some will inevitably end up in the trash. I couldn’t unsee the amount of items that I let go of to simply go in the trash. I’ve said this before and I will say it again. I am not someone that has thought much about being green. I don’t want to do harm to the Earth, yet I am not one who considered every item before using it. Now that I have given up so much, I can make choices to refuse items that may end up in a landfill.
Lastly, the label of minimalist comes with some power. It is the label given to people that don’t conform to the world view. These people have a strong personality. They are looked at as rebels. They won’t just buy what the world is selling them! I loved the idea that I can live life without being told I had to buy or do something! I don’t have to change my style every month, or buy what is in style for the moment. I don’t have to listen to ads telling me what I need to feel good. I know what makes me feel good. I found that I could replace the impulse buying with reading. I can replace shopping, with riding my bike. Intentionally replacing a bad behavior with a good one is so important. In order to be successful you have to learn your reason why.
Check in tomorrow as we discover practical ways to live simply, and with intention!