A Working Definition of Minimalism

Oh hello. What brings you here?

You want a …definition? Of minimalism? From me?

Why, I’d be just delighted…!

Okay okay, you didn’t ask. You probably already have a good understanding of what makes someone a minimalist or not.

But you know, I think I’d like to offer you one. I’d like to offer up the working definition that I use. We could compare ideas, you and I. There are a lot of resources out there for decluttering and obtaining more “minimalist looking items”, but that’s not really something I’ve had an issue with. I understand the “stuff” aspect. The mentality is a little more tricky to nail down. How do you know when you’ve made the transition into thinking like a minimalist? How much of that journey is just struggling with yourself? When does that become a lifestyle?

As a short answer, if you recognize that stuff is just stuff and that your relationships with people, with the world, are what’s important, then I’d say you’re bonifide GD minimalist. It begins as a lifestyle when you are able to let go and choose deliberately things that add value to your life, to deliberately choose to live with less.

I recognize that this answer is not a complete one.

One could argue that choosing to have a collection of say, sneakers, adds value to their lives. The aesthetics of the collection, the variety, the rarity,

This lifestyle is still a new transition for me, and my mindset is not set in stone. My definition is not yet calcified, nor do I honestly hope for it to ever be.

The nice thing about choosing Minimalism as a lifestyle is that the interpretation of it can be curated to suit anyone. There’s no wrong way to do it, there’s no limit on the ways you choose to incorporate it in areas of your life. The definition you choose can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

For me, that has a few parts:

A mantra:

Live a conscious, intentional life, curated by purpose, driven by happiness.

A physical aspect

Owning no more than what adds value to my life.

An aesthetic:

Functional, pleasing to the eye, does not disrupt your overall harmony.

A standard:

High quality, durable, and eco friendly to the end.

Within each of these are other parts and qualifications, but mostly, I think it’s simple enough to follow.

Basically, I try to only introduce an item into my life if I need it (wanting it, not withstanding); if it serves a specific function and I anticipate using it consistently; if it fits in with my style, is durable and environmentally conscious.

So. Easy.

No, actually, I struggle with this a lot. I may not go to the mall on my lunch breaks anymore, but the pull of fast fashion is erewhere. Shiny things still grab my attention. New gadgets, and of course, finely crafted shoes are still greatly appealing. As I delve deeper into sustainable fashion and products, and maybe one day transitioning into a zero waste life style, one very important thing becomes clear:

This is hard.

Conscious, sustainable living isn’t easy, and changing lifelong habits is supremely difficult until, of course, one day it isn’t.

So…What do you think?

What definition of minimalism do you like to use?

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