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Are You Living the Minimalist Lifestyle ?


The question of keeping possessions, versus trimming them back, as you go, is a provocative one in my family.

My mother saved everything, and when she died she had a home filled with treasures to speak for her efforts. My son saves only what functions perfectly, or is rare and valuable. He lives in a very cool streamlined atmosphere.

You may recognize both of these attitudes, and know where you stand. I can see both sides, and often frustrate myself by doing both.

I keep a lot of things, but I love the streamlined look of a sleek room and an uncomplicated life where everything is instantly findable. My best solution so far is to find clever storage pieces and beautiful cabinets. Then I have to remember to regularly sort through them. Sometimes that actually works!

Where Do You Stand?

Lifehack set off the question for me when they talked about the values of the minimal lifestyle. They say minimalism is a way to fight materialism as our society indulges in clutter, distraction and noise and practices “keeping up with the Jones,” in endless rounds of shopping. They suggest if you throw out what you don’t need you can really enjoy what’s left.

For those who grew up with less because of the times they lived in, like my mom, throwing out something might mean you suffered later when you needed it. Also, they often learned how to turn unused items into something that they could use, as the fabric from old clothes became new pillows or potholders.

Lifehack maintains tossing unneeded stuff leaves more space and time for hobbies, healthy exercise, and enjoying the people we love. They say thinking minimally can pull us back from the temptation to acquire more and more possessions.

I would agree with that. Too many times I have seen possessions take first place with people coming in second. When acquisitiveness takes over for someone, the people around that person automatically have to step back, and they often feel like the possessions are more important than they are. That’s a very sad development to say the least.

I have also known people who loved their treasures, but were big enough to just nod and move on, when something special of theirs was accidentally broken. They picked up the pieces, shared a hug with the child, and simply moved on. That child was lucky enough to be surrounded by the best.

If you have ever lived on a boat you understand the minimalist approach because you have to. To enjoy life on the water, as many do, everything on the boat has to serve a function and fit in a special place. Once that happens you may have a mini-paradise with sun and water as your backdrop. Of course any dinners or entertaining you do will be dictated by the space available.

I think figuring out where you stand on the issue helps to keep the peace, both yours and your family’s, letting you just enjoy life. I also think there is room for both approaches if we always find a way to put people first.


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Laura D'Alessandro

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