Minimalism is such a buzzword these days, but I think it’s often misunderstood. You don’t need to purge all of your belongings and live off the land to be a minimalist, nor do you need to count all of your possessions and stick to a certain number. Instead, I think it comes down to a few simple principles.
To me, this is the foundation of minimalism.
- Intentional purchases. Rather than mindlessly buying, minimalism means considering a purchase and doing research beforehand. Where was the product made? How were the workers treated? When I have the option, I love to support Canadian products, female designers, and natural ingredients.
- Intentional use. I think sometimes people think minimalism means eschewing material goods, but I don’t see it that way. I’m all for loving objects, and using them with respect and care. I really don’t think that’s at odds with minimalism (so there, haha!). For example, I love my coffee mug. It feels just right in my hands, and every time I use it I fully enjoy using it. It may sound simple and silly, but I get a little bit of joy out of it.
- Intentional discarding. When it’s time to let something go, I ask what can be done with it. Can it be repaired? Can it be donated to an organization or a family in need?
2. Quality over quantity.
Minimalism is about having fewer items, but of better quality.
For example, my hubby is rough on his clothes. And I mean rough. I had no idea someone could do so much damage to shoes or bags until I met him. He never wanted to spend any money on things because they’d just need to be replaced. We went through a few seasons of this, and it was so silly and wasteful. Finally, when we put more money into his work wardrobe (for example, investing in a solid leather belt, rather than fake ones that end up ripping and being thrown out) the pieces lasted for so much longer.
When I need something new, I try to choose the best quality option for what I can afford. That doesn’t mean a top-of-the-line product with all the bells and whistles, just solid craftsmanship. (And of course, being kind to the things you’ve purchased!)
3. Valuing experiences over things.
Finally, I think minimalism is all about putting moments above material things. Again, I don’t think that means rejecting those material things–just not seeing them as the only path to happiness.
Of course, ideas of enjoyable experiences are vastly different to different people. Some people feel most at peace hiking in the woods and sleeping under the stars. Not me. I feel that same sense of peace out for dinner at a nice restaurant, or alone in a coffee shop with a book, or playing a board game with my family, or cuddling up to watch a movie with my husband. And that’s okay!
Overall, I believe that minimalism means finding your own path to happiness, with a conscious and thoughtful relationship with things. And I think that’s beautiful.
What about you? Do you consider yourself minimalist? Why or why not? What does minimalism mean to you?