Minimalism Definition. A Few Thoughts.

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Many of us have jumped on board of one fad or another. The term “hipster” was coined for those who seem to be looped in with some of the more common fads flowing today. These fads circulate the globe, starting in one location and ultimately ending in another as much as a decade later. The most amusing aspect of fads is when they make their comeback in a completely different day and age (bell bottom jeans anyone?).

What about minimalism? Is this a growing fad today? We’ve seen organic and earth-friendly fads flowing over our shores recently; will minimalism become the new trend for healthy and easier living? Truth be told, this is one “fad” that isn’t really a fad at all. It’s a new way of living, and one that hundreds are adapting every day.

It’s something that has me very very intrigued.

joy of living with less

It hit me recently. The bright pink basket at the very top of the clothing mound in my closet hit me smack in the face. I realized then that perhaps I have too much “stuff.” It’s sneaky too. You don’t realize just how many possessions you own until you’re climbing over the pile of clothes and stack of DVD’s to get to your TV on the other side of the room. Well, maybe your home isn’t “Hoarders” worthy, but all of us seem to have our fair share of collections that do their own collecting (dust, hair, dirt – you name it, they collect it as they sit in the back of your closet or under your bed).

Thanks to Thesaurus.com:

Main Entry: packrat
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: hoarder
Synonyms: accumulator, collector , gatherer

As you can see, “collector” is just two small steps away from “hoarder.” I am an avid “collector” – I collect shoes, shirts, jeans, DVD’s, CD’s, cards… etc. Now all my “collecting” has taken over the three closets I have in my home. Clothing sit folded in baskets because there’s no room in my dresser or closet. Often times I need to pull out 5 storage bins to find one item amongst the hundred other items that haven’t been used in years. As I sift through the bins I find all the things I didn’t know I owned. Why do I even hold onto these items if I forget I even own them? Because I hold material possessions as part of myself, as a piece of me. Something many of you do as well. We hold onto that tshirt or book because we grow attached to that material item.

Ask yourself this question: If your house was to burn down, would you be devastated by the items destroyed? Or would you be relieved everyone is safe?

We need to determine where our priorities lie. Too many stack their material goods at the top of their priority list, neglecting what is truly important.

TheMinimalists.com (a great location for articles and information) challenges their readers. They ask you to create a list of the top 10 most important items/experiences (add value) to you, and the top 10 most expensive items you own… then compare the two lists. (read this article here: http://www.theminimalists.com/material/)

So I decided to take the challenge:

Add Value Expensive
Education Car ($20,000 plus gas at $35/tank)
Family Reunions/Family Vacations Laptop ($1,000 including software and maintenance)
Playing fetch with a pet, or curling on the couch with a pet Home (Rent, $800/mo plus $250 for utilities)
Enjoying a good meal with a loved one Cellphone ($200, plus $100/mo for the bill)
Reading a good book or other miscellaneous activities Gaming console ($500, plus all the games @ $45 each game)
Martial arts, training, exercise (although not cheap, I believe these items deserve to be on this side) Furniture ($100 – $500 depending on the piece)
Road trips with friends and family Clothing (individually, an article of clothing is anywhere from $10 – $20, but I’ve probably spent $1,000+ on clothing)
Long chats with my family DVD’s, Music, etc ($500+)
Hiking, camping, the outdoors Television ($250, plus cable $45/mo)
 Witnessing a birth Nook ($300, plus $10 per book)

Looking at the list, none of my “expensive” items have made their way over to my “value” side. Does your list look similar to mine? So why are we holding onto these expensive items instead of using the money in situations that bring values? Some expenses are understandable depending your situation (i.e., I live in a city where the bus transportation is limited, and I work outside of city limits. Not having a car wouldn’t make sense).

Here’s a question to ask yourself, once you’ve completed the challenge from TheMinimalists.com:
In 20 years, what do you think you’re more likely to remember. The $20 you spent on a DVD, or the time you spent with family?

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For tips on how to begin your decluttering journey, you can Start Here, or snag a copy of the 30 Day Challenge (our Minimalism and Decluttering eBook).

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