What is minimalism? A big question, for sure. But there’s no “right” answer, or something I can point to in Wikipedia, except that say that for ME, at it’s most basic, minimalism means living with fewer more meaningful things.
Living with less
Being satisfied with less
Being grateful for what IS
I do think you can “be” minimal at any stage in your life; it’s more about shifting your mind away from scarcity and towards abundance, not how old you are, if you have kids, or work outside the home. Hoarding and buying new things all the time can come from a place of fear that we’re not good enough without the stuff, and is exacerbated by the false idea that a “thing” is scarce. This is especially true when the “scarce” thing appears to also be “perfect.” (good luck resisting that cozy cashmere cardigan you don’t really need if it’s marked down on a sample sale site!)
When we shift away from fear and scarcity, we have no where to go but towards love and abundance.
When we shift away from fear and scarcity, we have no where to go but towards love and abundance. If we hold in our minds that we love ourselves and the things we have chosen to acquire and care about, and that there will always be “stuff” available to buy (EVERYTHING won’t suddenly disappear) and experiences to enjoy, then something shifts inside, and we feel more open & free to just be, to enjoy the abundance life offers.
I have felt this shift, although I must say, it’s not quite second-nature yet. I still feel tempted by sale items and some (wrong/misguided) “ideal” in my head of how I’ll look OR BE PERCEIVED if I have x, y, or z. It’s a process. Minimalism is a long journey that begins inside, not with the clothes you are getting rid of, or the building back of your wardrobe.
Minimalism is a long journey that begins inside, not with the clothes you are getting rid of, or the building back of your wardrobe.
I’ve been on a path toward minimalism for quite some time (paring down my closet only to build it back up again, trying to shop consciously, etc.), but it’s only just begun to take hold, because I only just became ready to tackle the REALLY hard part: ME.
Minimalism “taking hold” for me meant that several things had to happen at once:
- I had to start accepting and being grateful for the LIFE & BODY I HAVE RIGHT NOW
- I had to be realistic about a budget for clothing
- I had to realize that I AM GOOD ENOUGH even without “the perfect” things
I tried all the minimalist blogs, wardrobe challenges, and capsule wardrobes, but couldn’t make them work for me. I appreciate those tools, and think they can be very helpful, but only in tandem with the internal work (or if you’ve already done that work), and if you’re good at following rules, which I am decidedly not! But as I’ve mentioned before, I was NOT ready to do the internal work until recently. (the early 40’s will do that to you I guess!)
When it comes down to it, minimalism is not a number. Nor is it a “look.” Too often we see images or blogs that feature the same stark, sharp black & white outfits, or striped shirts & converse (or Stan Smith’s which, it seems, are de rigueur today), in the same tall, lanky, young bodies.
When it comes down to it, minimalism is not a number. Nor is it a “look.”
The images we see on Pinterest and in the media as standard-bearers for minimalism, including the ones featured on minimal clothing brands’ sites (Everlane is definitely “guilty” of this) tend to look the same. And they never look like me. Is there a “minimal” look? Must you wear head-to-toe designer brands (albeit subtle) and delicate jewelry to be “minimal”? Must you be tall & thin and in your 20’s? Must you wear only black, white & gray? Must your fashion be minimal? Must you own the Celine trio bag?
Of course not.
Not that there’s anything wrong with those bodies, those women, those models, Celine bags, or minimal fashion, but those images and “ideals” are not what make up minimalism. There’s no formula for being a minimalist, there’s only a desire to have fewer, more meaningful things.
Some helpful Minimalist Resources:
Recovering Shopaholic (Debbie is captivating and reading her work has been instrumental to me on my journey)
The Nife en l’Air (I saved this one for last, because you will want to spend a lot of time on Kali’s blog – she is extremely thoughtful and honest with what she writes, and the closest I’ve come to finding a “minimalist” blogger I can relate to – and want to read all the time)
Do you have any other minimalist resources to share? What is minimalism to you?