Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I happened upon this post - Beware of Leo Babautas Minimalist Lifestyle and it got me thinking.

I've been seeing debate all over the 'net about what is or is not minimalist and who is more minimalist than the next person or is it OK to have books or CDS or decorations on your wall and SO ON.

I feel like a massive point is missed time and time again when these discussions happen - the reason WHY someone is minimalist determines HOW they are minimalist.

Why am I a minimalist? I cannot stand to have too many things because I hate to clean them, I hate worrying about them being destroyed in a fire, and I hate to move them.

There is also that all the plastic crap is a massive drain on natural resources and a waste of space and time to produce it, and that my spiritual beliefs lead me to feel that possessing things is just plain wrong.

Let's say I'm a "you can't take it with you" kind of girl.

So, all the things I don't want to own are NOT mutually exclusive of the things I DO want to have in my life. I love video games. Always have, always will, some of the best times of my teenage years were spent in arcades. So yes, I have an Xbox, a stack of games (constantlly changes and yes we trade in what we're done with) and a rather large plasma TV.

But then again, I have 7 pairs of pants, 15 tops (including layering pieces, tanks and sleepwear) a skirt and two pairs of shoes that I regularly wear (the rest are going to be sold/donated). I don't use a lot of product on my hair or skin. I've lived nearly a year with out a microwave (and I'll never have one again). I have a single blanket and set of sheets for my bed. I own some books most of which are used for art reference (the rest are about Einstein, daVinci or are just quotes or fiction). I bought my car because it's a cute hatchback, manual transmission and tiny enough for me to park anywhere easily, yet it's so fuel efficient that I feel like I'm driving a hybrid.

I am anything but boring. My home reflects this. In fact, I've always got something that I'm doing (or want to do). Art, making jewelry, design, reading, playing games, watching movies, enjoying nature, visiting people, even just playing with my cat - I've always got something to do and having a ton of stuff did little more than annoy me.

I feel like the statement that "minimalism is boring" overlooks the point of minimalism.

Yeah, some of us do not want to backpack around the world. Some of us do. I know if I were to do that (and I will to some extent when I'm ready) I'll do so with camera in hand and I will capture amazing things. I would LOVE to never have a "home base" again, but being an artist makes that kind of hard. Not impossible - I know better. Having to constantly re-buy brushes, paints, medium, gesso, resin, pigments, water cups, palettes, canvases, etc (and that's just for ONE of my hobbies) would be ridiculous. Travelling with a backpack would also require one of four things for my artwork - destruction, donation, sale, storage. I can never escape that list. I'm fine with it though, being an artist means I will always have a portfolio of sorts to keep with me, even if only in the form of a couple of double-backup hard drives. (though I'm just not willing to go 100% digital with my art, it's not the same as smudging pencil and paint with my fingers).

In short what I'm trying to say is that minimalism has become one of the multitude of ways that people can say "I'm better than everyone else". Let's face it - most new "things" or "lifestyles" or trends hit that plateau where the only people genuinely living the life are quiet about it and those who give the lifestyle a bad name are always the loudest. The true grit of minimalism (or any lifestyle) is held in the things that people AREN'T shouting about.

Minimalism isn't a fad, it's a need that comes from your soul.
Minimalism isn't frugality, it's buying whatever you need for whatever price you're willing to pay, and not buying things you don't truely need.
Minimalism isn't getting rid of all your stuff, it's considering which things mean the most to you.
Minimalism is deeply personal and NO ONE should follow anyone else's path.
Minimalism is learning you can do without, that the "norm" isn't what you want.

Minimalism is taking the time to recognize what you need and love, and getting rid of everything else. Period.

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