Misinterpreting Minimalism

March 19, 2018

I’m a Christian and so my purpose, happiness, joy and peace come from being rooted in Jesus, but living a life of simplicity has allowed me to experience more of what God has for me in my home, my marriage, other relationships, and my work.

I’ve been on this specific journey – of living more simply – for a few years. I’ve read books, blogs and articles; I’ve watched documentaries and listened to a few podcasts; I’ve gotten rid of two/thirds of my possessions and I’m continuing to learn more about what it means to live minimally.

I wrote a blog post similar to this a little over a year ago. It was then that I decided to lean more into the idea of minimalism. However, at that point in time I believed that minimalism was about:

    • Decluttering
    • Simplifying
    • Throwing out
    • Selling
  • Donating

All of these are the result of misinterpreting what minimalism actually is.

And I feel like because of this common misunderstanding the term minimalism either has good connotations or very bad ones, so let’s clarify what it really means.

Being a minimalist does not mean that you have to get rid of everything you own or live without a car or television; it doesn’t mean that you only have a certain amount of possessions or have nothing on the walls of your home. Living minimally can perhaps look like that, but it is much, much deeper than that.

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus on their website, The Minimalists, have taken on the challenge of redefining what minimalism is & have chosen to live their lives marked with less to make room for more. They expand on what minimalism is by saying that it is, “a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives.” And they go on to say that “by clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”

So yes, living minimally is choosing to declutter & clear out, however it is not about staying in that cleared out, empty space. It’s choosing to invite joy, health, exploration and beauty into that space where other things used to be.

As I’ve been reflecting on my own life – my possessions, my work, my relationships – I have started asking myself a few questions. I’m challenging you to ask yourself them too, because I believe they will shed light on what is cluttering your life & if decluttering your life will open up doors for possibility, for more time, more joy, better health, and wholehearted living.

    1. What are things that are cluttering my life (spending money foolishly, working too much, always having a tight schedule, watching too much tv, focusing on myself too often)?
    1. What are things that would allow me to live more wholley (eating healthier, working less, sleeping more, working out, keeping track of where I spend my money, spend more time building loving relationships)?
    1. What is one step I can take today to begin living more simply (making the decision to live minimalistically, reading/learning more about it)?
  1. What’s stopping me from living more minimally?

**some examples taken from The Minimalist.

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If you want to explore, begin your own journey, continue & learn more about living life minimally, The Minimalists, is a great starting point. Visit their site at: https://www.theminimalists.com/ & follow their journey. Their blog post titled, “Our 21-Day Journey into Minimalism” is a great encouragement with 21 easy steps.