So the The Minimalists documentary; Minimalism recently became available on Netflix, and now it seems everyone wants to learn how to become a minimalist.
Actually, people seem confused as to what minimalism is; moreover, how they can become a minimalist or if they are minimalist enough. They seem to create unnecessary stress with questions like ‘how do I make my fridge more minimalist?’, or ‘is my new haircut minimalist?’, and ‘HELP! My kids/husband/in-laws/gerbils aren’t minimalist enough for me!’
Once again, let’s reiterate the fact that there are no rules on how to live a minimalist lifestyle. It’s different for everyone. Those who have kids will have different methods than those without. Single peeps will have a different view of minimalism than peeps who are attached. LGBT minimalists will differ from straight. Male from Female. And of course, minimalist dogs will most certainly have a different take on minimalism than a minimalist cat would. Yes, I’m starting to become facetious, because some people seem to freak out when it comes to minimalism.
If trying to become a minimalist is creating stress for you, than it’s a little counter-productive. Take a step back and evaluate what’s important to you. If doing crafts make you happy, then craft away—just explore new ways to re-use or re-purpose materials and supplies.
Here’s a great quote from Joshua Becker of becomingminimalist.com that we couldn’t agree more with; “Minimalism, as a lifestyle, does not require (or even invite) people to stop spending money altogether. Instead, it merely redirects their money toward non-material pursuits.”
For us, after selling our stuff we realized how much more we did. We’d rather blow an entire paycheck on an experience, or a trip to somewhere we’ve always wanted to go rather than spend it on clothes. I reached that age several years ago where I knew I’d never be “in style” like the young kids. And there’s pretty much only one thing worse than a 40 year old man who’s not in style. It’s a 40 year old man TRYING to stay “in style”. Seriously fellas, tight pants? No. Not at 40. Not unless you have a personal tailor to let those out where they need letting out. Okay, tight-pant-rant over.
Minimalism (to us) is about doing more stuff with less stuff and spending money on experiences. When you’re not worried about purchasing the latest gizmos, or racking up credit card debt because you NEED a 96 inch wall-to-wall TV, you’d be surprised at how often simple experiences like dining out can bring lasting memories.
And not everything needs to be made “minimalist”. As Courtney Carver points out with her post on bemorewithless.com, there can be upsides and downsides to minimalism.
So don’t stress if your hair/makeup is minimalist enough, or only owning X articles of clothing. And if your kids don’t fully embrace or understand a life with less and they want the latest Star Wars action figure, for starters, teach them the value of saving money to buy something they want, but also, don’t deprive them of something because of your desired lifestyle. They’re kids, they need guidance, but they also need to figure out their own path too—be it a consumerism path or minimalism path.
To anyone who has seen The Minimalists movie and is going balls-to-the-wall trying to learn how to become a minimalist, or is worried they aren’t doing enough, I say…chill. Stop stressing about it. Live your life. Stuff isn’t going to make you happy, this much is true. And the movie is a great start for you and others looking for a life with less; moreover, to help educate people on the adverse affects of consumerism. But you can’t force a lifestyle change, you need to be ready for it. If we all pursued a lifestyle because we liked a movie or show then we’d have hundreds of Fight Clubs out there…or millions of scruffy looking people wearing furs while wielding swords and shouting “winter is coming”…or people creating their own super-hero Ironman-like suits to fight crime…or hoards of walking-dead zombies mindlessly wandering the streets…or…well you get the idea.
Now go sell all your stuff – just don’t get stressed out on how to become a minimalist!