You know that saying that “less is more”? Actually, I continue to learn, that less is less.
And having less, for me, has led to wanting less.
I am a Minimalist and embracing this lifestyle more all the time. If this is a new concept to you, here’s the definition from Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, who write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 2 million readers. They live in Montana by way of Dayton, Ohio, and they have been featured on CBS, BBC, NPR, USA Today, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Toronto Star, and they are known as The Minimalists:
“Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. 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.
There are many flavors of minimalism: a 20-year-old single guy’s minimalist lifestyle looks different from a 45-year-old mother’s minimalist life. Even though everyone embraces minimalism differently, each path leads to the same place: a life with more time, more money, and more freedom to live a more meaningful life.
Getting started is as simple as asking yourself one question: How might your life be better if you owned fewer material possessions?”
It may sound like a noble pursuit, learning to live with less. But actually, it is simply something I’ve taken an interest in because it reflects who I already am: lazy.
I don’t mean lazy in the no-energy, no-pride, no-life sense of the word. I mean lazy in that I’m keenly aware of what I don’t want to do and therefore, don’t get around to doing it.
For example, I don’t like housekeeping. Can’t stand vacuuming. Don’t understand the value of having more than 2 sets of towels per person in a home. So for me, a small apartment or house is perfect. My favorite apartment so far was 800 square feet. I could clean it in an hour.
One of the things I’m learning about this lifestyle now is that I’m not a minimalist in EVERYTHING…and that’s okay! The whole point of this philosophy is to be more selective with how you spend your money and time and energy to make sure it is spent on the things you most want. The process also forces you to look more carefully at all the things you thought you needed, and get a little more vigilant about what is a want and what is a need.
That said, wants are not all bad. I was listening to a Minimalist recently whose claim to fame is that he owns 50 things. Fifty. Total. Things. He is 100% mobile. He moves around the planet at whim, packing in an afternoon. He finds lodging and income-producing opportunities through the many fans who follow his BLOG. He travels the world.
While I found his lifestyle interesting, I know I’ll never get that far–For this reason: I own 50 pieces of make-up! And I want every single one of them.
I own 500 photographs–at least.
I have a handful of items that I’ve had my entire life and I can’t see ever parting with them.
I also have at least 50% less stuff than I had a decade ago and that change in my life is absolutely freeing.
That said, I do understand that Minimalism clearly isn’t for everyone.
But it is for me. I am a person who has avoided big chain, multi-department, grocery stores for decades. I prefer to go to a meat market; a fruit-stand; a bakery.
I am a person who has a few things I absolutely love. I find the things that have no practical use or no attachment to my heart to be like hurdles lying in my path, over which I have to jump, just to get through the day.
I marvel at the collections people have: figurines, thimbles, spoons, tools, cars. I don’t think I am more virtuous because I don’t collect these things; I am just increasingly aware of differences in how people choose to surround themselves in this world.
I am not above collecting. The things that I collect, conveniently, fit in heart and in my mind. I collect stories. I collect relationships with people. I collect divine, holy moments that shine light on the frailty of life and the glory of God in it.
I collect memory-devices; a small post-it note from my son; a shiny black rock; a baseball. I collect quotes, and I subdivide them. Betsy, for example, has such a dry sense of humor, that she has her own room in my mind labeled: Betsyisms. She gave me something to put in that room just yesterday.
Less is less. And for me, the experience of becoming a minimalist has been like clearing out a cluttered hallway both physically and mentally and emotionally.
And the less items leaning on the walls of the hall, the easier it is for me to walk through it, and to see the endless possibilities that await when I exit the door at the end. With more than fits in a backpack.
But no need to check my luggage.