For Those Of Us Skeptical About Minimalism And Tiny Houses

I do not own only neutrally colored clothing.

I cannot number my possessions.

I like shopping and buying new clothes.

I have no desire to live in a house the size of my playhouse in grade school.

I am not a minimalist.

I value people over possessions.

I believe the best lives prioritize what is important over what is urgent.

I think that disordered loves of possessions and clothing and technology distract us from focusing on the best things in life.

I believe that our habits - where we spend our time and money and thought - should reflect what we hold to be the most important.

I am a minimalist.

Wait, now I am a minimalist? Is that even possible? Me, the girl who is mocked by her housemates for owning a bevy of summer dresses?

Well, surprise, surprise, unlike all the other terms in our culture - which are so well defined, researched, and carefully used (I jest) - minimalism is used in quite a few ways. It is connected to style, homes, food, and lifestyle. And usually in two ways - with regard to aesthetic and with regard to habits. For example, having white couches and one clock on the wall can aesthetically make you a minimalist. But you can have intentionally purchased possessions and color on the walls and also be a minimalist.

What is Minimalism?

Here’s how the “professionals” define the heart of this movement:

Minimalism is intentionality. Minimalism is freedom from the passion to possess. Minimalism is freedom from modern mania. Minimalism is counter-cultural. Minimalism is not external but internal.
-Josh Becker
Intentional living, personal freedom, deeper awareness, better health, improved relationships, individual growth, and meaningful contribution.
-Joshua Millburn

Answering A Busy World By Slowing Down

So, at heart, minimalism is an answer to a question: how do we learn to re-prioritize our lives around what is most valuable to us?

The problem minimalism is solving isn’t new. It is a reaction to a busy world where we miss what is most important because of our attachment to possessions. Minimalism is a tool for paring away the excess to help us focus on the important. It is the return to family dinners. It is the prioritization of the best things. It is a solution as old as Aristotle’s “good life.”

So, I guess we can use the word minimalism or reasonablism or whatever we want to; we just want to keep our eyes on the goal rather than the aesthetic. We want to stay focused on pursuing what is best over pursuing what is trendy at the moment. Because, just as quickly as minimalism came, it may go. But even when the word minimalism isn’t thrown around in Instagram posts any longer, the concept of living intentionally will stick around.

So, where does that leave me?

Am I committed to forming good habits in shopping? Yes.

Do I want to pursue the best things rather than a lot of things? Yes.

Will I practice saying no in a culture that is constantly calling me to commit to more and more? Yes.

Should I be cautious about the effects of technology upon my daily life? Yes.

Does that make me a minimalist? Maybe. (but most likely not, due to bevy of summer dresses and the whole tiny home aversion).