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Minimalism. I’m sure you’ve heard the word a ton of times. But, does anyone really know what in the heck it actually means?
The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine and she asked me to explain what minimalism was. She started telling me about some extreme group of people who were living with next to nothing and cutting off their hair.
Well, while that may be minimalism to some, that’s not actually what it is. There is no standard to fulfill before you can call yourself a minimalist.
Minimalism is not about the number of belongings we possess. It’s about why we possess those belongings.
You see, there are extremes of every lifestyle. But, minimalism doesn’t mean you can only have two shirts, live in a storage container, and shave your head. In fact, please, don’t do that….
Defining the Minimalist Lifestyle, What is it Really?
Minimalism is going to mean something different to everyone because it can’t be defined by a particular amount of possessions.
It can, however, be defined as the intentional reasoning behind why we have the things we do.
Often people read this post and ask me “can I really only have two coffee mugs?” Well, of course not! You can have 100 if you want. Those ideas are just to get you started towards the right mindset.
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Minimalism is about far more than having a set number of possessions. In fact, it really isn’t about that at all. You can have ten pairs of shoes, three sets of measuring cups, and 40 coffee mugs and still be a minimalist. The trick is knowing why you have those things.
Minimalism is ridding your life of distractions so you can focus on what you love. It’s taking your possessions and deciding whether or not they truly define who you are. Do they distract from who you are, or who you aspire to be? Then, they should probably be on their way out the door.
It’s a mindset thing, really. You let go of unnecessary things cluttering up your life. Whether those things be things, people, or obligations. And filling your life with things that truly matter. It’s the conscious effort of deciding whether something brings you joy and adds value to your life or if it distracts from it.
It’s also not about having white walls, clean lines, and bare floors. If it was, I certainly couldn’t be included as a minimalist. I have a huge bulky sectional sofa, carpet, and random toys and baby gear scattered on the floor. But you know what? I’m still a minimalist. My possessions don’t overwhelm me. They don’t keep me from being my true self. They add value to my life and bring me joy.
Sure, there aren’t a ton of things, but we still live here. We still have 3 kids. We have 2 dogs. We still have a kitchen full of gadgets and a shelf full of books. And that’s okay. Because to us, those things aren’t overtaking our lives. We still feel free and not trapped by our belongings. They won’t fit in a backpack by any means. And that’s okay. Because that’s not what this lifestyle is about.
So, if you find yourself wondering if you have a glittery dress hanging in the back of your closet that you wear maybe once every three years if you are a minimalist. To that I would say… yes. Yes, you can be. It’s all about the bigger picture. As long as that dress you rarely wear is bringing you happiness in some capacity, as long as it isn’t distracting you from living the life you were meant to live. Keep it. You’re still a minimalist.