Stop Confusing Minimalism with Austerity

There are people who won’t even discuss minimalism with me. They’ve got some weird notions about what it is. For some reason they think that it’s akin to a monastic vow of poverty. Why would they want to get rid of all of their stuff. That’s a good question. If you’re happy with your stuff, you wouldn’t. So don’t. Stop confusing minimalism with austerity. You only utilize minimalist principles if you’re trying to accomplish something.

Stop Confusing Minimalism with Austerity

There are people out there who want to own no more than a hundred things. If that’s what makes them happy, more power to them. That’s not the goal of minimalism. There are also people who have a fetish for tiny houses, and want to prove they can live in the smallest space possible. That’s not reasonable for most people. It’s not the goal of minimalism.

Becoming a minimalist isn’t taking some monastic vow of poverty. You don’t have to live on a straw pallet, wear a hair shirt, and carry a begging bowl around. Do some people do that? Sure. Is that the norm for minimalists? Probably not. Is is required in order to use the tools and concepts of minimalism in your life? Definitely not.

No One’s Making You Do Anything

The thing about minimalism is that it’s a principle. It’s a way of doing things, not a goal. It isn’t about having the least stuff. It’s about having the right stuff. Be wise about how you spend your money, your time, and your energy. Don’t waste finite resources on things that don’t add value to your life in some way. You, and you alone, get to define what that last part, “add value to your life”, means.

I often encounter people who, for some reason, think that minimalism is some form of socialism. Yeah, like the minimalists are going to come along, take their stuff, and redistribute it to other people. I have no idea where they get this idea. Probably from the fact that minimalists don’t buy into unchecked consumerism. That doesn’t make us, by definition, anti-capitalist. It just means we’re more selective about what we spend our money on. It’s more about planned, well-research purchases and far less about impulse buys. I may only own 3 pairs of pants, but they’re going to be the best damned pants money can buy.

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