Think minimalism isn’t for you? Many people feel that it is too austere or sterile. Some think you can’t do minimalism with a family. Some think it means limiting your belongings to only 100 items or less. I have also heard from a friend that minimalism, “looks too expensive.” Can minimalism carry a certain aesthetic or be a limited number of belongings? Certainly, but there is no one way to “do” minimalism. There are beginner minimalists, there are moderate minimalists and there are more extreme minimalists but there aren’t any rules that say what a minimalist looks like or who can be a minimalist. My hope is that with this post I can show you that minimalism is more inclusive than some people may think and help overcome some of the perceived obstacles. If you like the idea of minimalism in theory but don’t know if it is really “you” or not consider easing into minimalism.
This is where most minimalists first start – with simplifying. Often the minimalism journey begins with a desire to simplify, streamline, pare-back, and reclaim schedules, time and joy. This category could also be considered a “stage” of minimalism – whereby we determine where our “enough” is. Many people who start this journey will find they are extremely content with simple living and stop here – some continue on to letting go of more belongings.
What does a “simple living” home look like? I give you the blog, Intentionally Simple. I linked to Rachel’s “Home” category so you can see a good example of what a simple home looks like. Rachel doesn’t call herself a minimalist per say but her home reflects a simplicity that many who aspire to be more minimal desire. If you are easing into minimalism Rachel’s home is a good inspirational starting point.
Specific Category Minimalists
These are people who are minimal in only one area of their lives. The most clear example I can give is the capsule wardrobe. I would venture that many full-fledged minimalists may have started minimalism by implementing a capsule wardrobe and it eventually spread to the rest of their homes and lives. If decluttering everything seems too daunting consider becoming an one-area minimalist. The closet, the kitchen, your beauty routine – pick an area and run with it – sometimes the smallest changes can have significant impact.
Minimalism can also start with minimizing your budget. I think that the monetary savings is generally a bonus side-effect for most minimalists. That said, if you have been a frugal, money saving blog devotee and are wondering if minimalism can work for you then consider going this route.
Minimalism can and does fit any budget but I need to preface this by saying that minimalism is a pretty frugal lifestyle…but you can be frugal and be light-years away from being a minimalist. Much of minimalism is about mind-set and being a frugal minimalist is less about the “deal” and more about making conscious, intentional purchase that save you money in the long run. The frugal minimalist has a specific shopping list and a specific price they are willing to pay. If the item isn’t on their list – they walk away. If the item isn’t the price they can or want to spend – they most often walk away.
There are a number of blogs that have long focused on budgeting and frugal living that are embracing some minimalism principles (decluttering and living with less) that can help save money. One of my favorite blogs that fits this category is Living Well Spending Less. Ruth Soukup writes very much from a frugal mindset but she also has her eye on being intentional with where she puts her money and time – which is right up my intentional living and values based alley. 😉 She also has some 31 day challenges that can help any frugal minded person who is looking at minimalism but isn’t ready to jump in 100%.
I also feel the need to address my friend’s concern that minimalism, “looks too expensive.” There are some minimalists who drop some serious cash on things. Some save up and buy one high-quality item per year/season/month depending on their budget – generally with the knowledge that it is something they will use and they often have a sense of the cost-per-wear/use of the item. It might seem they aren’t being frugal but the reality is that they are buying one high quality item that will outlast lesser quality items. This is still frugality and it doesn’t give you the “deal of the moment” thrill but a delayed gratification shopping buzz will often be much more satisfying in the long run.
Easing into minimalism through prioritizing your health, wellness and self-care. This is a less obvious way to begin embracing minimalism but I think it might be the most important for many. If you have any type of illness that you are dealing with (or caring for someone else with an illness) self-care is critical.
How does one ease into minimalism with wellness? By carving out zones that facilitate self-care. Clear your nightstand to help you read and unwind at the end of a day or when you are feeling ill. Set aside a special space for yoga, meditation or prayer.
Take stock of what makes you feel good and focus your energy on those things first. I have an auto-immune disease and decluttering specific zones really helped me feel better, take better care of myself and motivate me to continue to other parts of my home.
Where do I fall in this mix? I think I can find myself in all the categories above. I have dabbled in capsule wardrobes and loved it. I have an auto-immune disease so wellness is important to me. I am most definitely a reformed coupon, deal-chasing, former slave to the clearance aisle. Right now I am hovering in the simple living category – we aren’t quite full-fledged minimalists yet (at least not by my estimation).
If you are feeling drawn toward minimalism whether by a desire to simplify your schedule, be less of a burden to our world, or just want to spend less time cleaning, then I encourage you to dig a little deeper, try a decluttering challenge, experiment with a capsule wardrobe, and see where easing into minimalism takes you.
Did you jump into minimalism or ease into it? I would love to hear from you!by