Struggling with narratives of #minimalism

It all started with 2 spatulas. Seriously.

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I did a bunch of food prep last Saturday. I made a huge batch of meatballs, chicken noodle soup, pizza rolls and lentil soup to try and make dinner prep easier for myself during the week. I posted some photos to instagram – if you don’t follow me there and would like to see what I’m up to on a more day to day basis feel free to follow me there.

So, back to those spatulas. I own 2. Does that make me less of a minimalist than say someone who owns 1?Β 

These are thoughts that legitimately started spiraling through my head as I stood there and used my spatula to pull pizza buns off of a baking sheet. One spatula for pizza buns and the other for meatballs. I suppose I could have washed one of the spatulas and reused it lessening my need to have a second. But, what if I like having 2 spatulas? What if although “unnecessary”, I enjoy using my two spatulas? What if those 2 spatulas make me more efficient by simplifying my life?

This sounds ridiculous. I know. But, it got me thinking about other things in my house. I have a few pairs of shoes, far less than most people but still more than I truly need. I mean technically don’t we only need one pair? What about pillows? Blankets? Baking dishes? On and on and on. I scraped those pizza rolls and meatballs off those trays all the while thinking all these revolving thoughts.

I told Mer that night and he laughed and said I think too much.

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I think the problem is that this minimalism movement has become incredibly trendy. How many times do you come across perfectly white living rooms with some sort of caption pointing to a minimalist way of life. How did a white aesthetic come to be associated with minimalism? Does my brown couch somehow make me less of a minimalist?

In my experience, popularity somehow drives competition. I came across a blog this week claiming that a “true” minimalist has only x number of shoes, pants, sweaters, kitchen gadgets etc. But, who has the authority to set those rules? When did being a minimalist involve comparing the quantity of my goods to yours? If that’s what minimalism has become I’m not sure I want to be part of it because that whole narrative makes me rather uncomfortable.

It’s all rather frustrating too because I’ve come to enjoy having less stuff – not because it makes me more of a minimalist than you but because I’ve learned to enjoy my life in ways that are not attached to the need to own things which was such a dominant part of my life before.

It’s also rather sad because living more minimally is truly a wonderful thing. I sometimes fear that the popularity of the movement and these minimalist narratives might discourage people from challenging themselves to live more minimally because “rules” tend to be inflexible and overwhelming.

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To me, minimalism is guided by two principles: intentionality and contentment.

Having less stuff means that I’m far more intentional about what items and objects get the privilege to occupy space and energy in my home. By consequence, I’m far more intentional about my choices which makes me far more content. I’m happier because the items that do surround me are important and have value (to me) – they have a purpose and I genuinely want them in my life (yes, my spatulas are included). Contentment comes from appreciating moments that were formerly clouded by consumerist chaos.

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Minimalism isn’t and shouldn’t be guided by “rules”. Instead, it should be guided byΒ  the notion that by lessening the consumerist chaos in our lives (whatever that looks like) we are able to achieve our own individual definitions of contentment (whatever those are).

What does minimalism mean to you?

If you identify as a minimalist, what contentment do you derive from living with less?

 

 

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  1. January 26, 2017 / 7:12 am

    i love that term “consumerist chaos”. perfect.

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:41 pm

      Thank you!

  2. January 26, 2017 / 7:34 am

    Thank you for these thoughts. I’m new to minimalism and struggled with your spatula conundrum only mine started with earrings. And “trendy”, yep. For me, becoming more minimalist is a necessity born of need to have more focused priorities. It was discouraging to see so many rules & the seeming competitiveness of it all. Awesome & relevant post!

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:41 pm

      Focused priorities – so very true! Thank you so much for sharing Sonya!

  3. January 26, 2017 / 7:35 am

    Yes, it has become quite popular. About 13 years ago, a gal I had just met, came over to my home and remarked on how “minimalist” it looked. I honestly had no idea what that meant and it was only about four years ago that I really knew what it meant.

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:40 pm

      Love this!

  4. January 26, 2017 / 7:40 am

    I don’t put a lot of stock into what others define is minimalist these days, although I did at first while discovering the ideology. It wasn’t until I watched a documentary

    • January 26, 2017 / 7:44 am

      (stupid reader, hit post before I was ready) anyway, until I watched a documentary done on “The Minimalists”. They described minimalism as a personal journey deciding on what adds value to your life (keep) and what takes value away (remove). Two spatulas seem to add value to your life and therefore, you should keep two spatulas. I have well over 10 pairs of shoes (dress, casual, sneakers, etc.) and find value in all of them as I don’t like to wear the same pair all the time. It also allows me to spread out purchasing shoes to once or twice a year as I don’t wear them out too quickly. Instead of obsessing over what is and isn’t minimalist, start thinking about what adds value to your life and define your own minimalism. It worked for me πŸ™‚

      • January 27, 2017 / 4:39 pm

        Love this. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me Andrew. Your absolutely right that this is very much a personal journey.

  5. January 26, 2017 / 7:42 am

    I have 8 pairs of boots. I do not need 8 pairs of boots but I love and wear every pair that I have. That probably flies in the face of minimalism (and admittedly, I did purge about 4 pairs when curating my closet) but my feel is if I love the ones I have left and I wear them regularly, it’s okay. I think to some extent we need to make our own personal definition of what minimalism is and how it works within our lives. Also – I too, have two spatulas. πŸ˜‰

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:40 pm

      If you love them and have use for them I say keep em! Thanks for sharing Kelly!

  6. January 26, 2017 / 8:20 am

    I’ve practiced some flavor of minimalism for almost three decades. It makes sense to me, even as a native New Yorker, to scale back, pare down, and deal with less. It keeps my mind clear and my focus sharp. The trendy rules don’t bother me, I tend to block them out as unnecessary noise.

    As an undergrad I lived in a tiny studio apartment with a table and two chairs, a bed, stereo, TV, and my drawing table. My goal was to pare down to some floor pillows to sit on for meals, a Mies Van der Rohe Barcelona bed, and a Box stereo system. Nothing else!

    Over the years I’ve learned that minimalism has less to do with quantity and appearance and more to do, for me at least, with contentment and a sense of responsibility. I have several pair of shoes, one pair of sneakers, and one pair of boots. Less of a minimalist? No. There’s a need because I can’t wear the boots for the meeting or the sneakers in every environment. Additionally, there’s a need to rotate footwear so that they last longer, they have time to breathe, the perspiration can evaporate, and to accommodate the weather. Those are sensible reasons to have “more.”

    I’m happy to hear that you’re thinking personally about what minimalism means. I agree, there are too many “rules.” They should be minimalized!

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:38 pm

      Thank you for sharing this with me.

      This really struck me “Over the years I’ve learned that minimalism has less to do with quantity and appearance and more to do, for me at least, with contentment and a sense of responsibility.” because I’m very much on the same page.

  7. January 26, 2017 / 8:48 am

    I’m not a minimalist but I try not to own anything that I don’t know to useful or believe to be beautiful (thanks William Morris). I own 3 spatulas though – 2 wooden, one metal – all of which I’ve had for about 20 years, I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or not!
    I do think there is some kind of inherent privilege in being able to ‘purge’ our belongings because it’s easy for us to go out and buy new things or to give away all our books or music because we can store them electronically (which presupposes unlimited access to electricty and gadgets). More than how many pairs of shoes I have, that makes me uncomfortable.

    • It's Crazy Wonderful
      January 27, 2017 / 3:37 pm

      I am the same. Far from a minimalist but try to love the things I own. Having three kids I am constantly challenging myself to get rid of stuff we don’t need.My house can get crowded quick if we have things we don’t need every where. It honestly will drive me nuts!

      • January 27, 2017 / 4:19 pm

        Absolutely. When kids are added to the mix it’s far more complex. I’m writing a post about living minimally with a little soon. It’s a whole different story right?

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:37 pm

      Privilege – yup. The fact we’re able to choose to live simply or minimally is another discussion. I have a ton of thoughts about it actually and will probably write a post at some point.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  8. January 26, 2017 / 9:00 am

    I can relate with the ‘thinking too much ‘ part πŸ˜€ I also got into this ‘minimalism trend’ and felt guilty for having ‘three spatulas’ at one point.

    Minimalism for me now is having required number of things suitable for my comfortable living and efficient usage without cluttering and hoarding.

    Enjoyed reading yours!

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:36 pm

      Great great point. It’s about contentment and not the physical number of things you have.

      Thank you for sharing.

  9. January 26, 2017 / 9:42 am

    “I came across a blog this week claiming that a “true” minimalist has only x number of shoes, pants, sweaters, kitchen gadgets etc.”
    This sounds like even as a minimalist, you have to “keep up with the Jones’s”!
    Isn’t that against the whole point of minimalism?

  10. January 26, 2017 / 9:52 am

    Minimalism? Would it be better to just go for minimising, ie sorting through what you need and discarding what you don’t. There’s no right or wrong: it can be eight pairs of shoes for you, and only three for me. Minimalism almost implies competition, ie a state one has to aim for, and if you fall short you are failing somehow. Minimalism sounds like sweating the small stuff

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:35 pm

      Yup.

      I think moving forward I’ll just stuck to simple living because like you said, there’s really no right or wrong.

  11. January 26, 2017 / 10:02 am

    I only wish I could have a less cluttered home, but I have kids and don’t want to take away from their childhood on my account.

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:34 pm

      This is an excellent point. I struggle with feelings that I should force my lifestyle choices on my daughter because like you said I don’t want to take away from her childhood.

  12. January 26, 2017 / 11:09 am

    I probably have at least three spatulas, I should count. One spatula seems impractical for a household of more than one.
    I’m not a minimalist, but we live in a smallish house and I can’t function in too much clutter, so I do try to exercise some restraint.
    I was reading one of those minimalist blogs about how much clothing you should own, and I just didn’t agree. Having at least a week’s worth of work clothes simplifies my life a lot.

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:34 pm

      It’s all so personal ya know? I don’t believe there should be a fixed number at all. It just doesn’t work that way. Thanks for sharing Kate!

  13. January 26, 2017 / 11:33 am

    I can’t call myself a minimalist, but over the years I’ve lost interest in acquiring stuff just to keep up with the “Jones’s”. I think I annoy my husband because I’m always asking him – Do you really need a new pair of boots? Why do you have so many pairs of jeans? Do we really need to buy that?
    I’ve learned how to use things until they can’t be used anymore. I’ve started patching the heels of our socks and relying on my grandmother’s sewing abilities to stretch the life of my jeans. Does it mean we’re poor and can’t afford new socks? No, I just don’t want to throw something away when the rest of the sock is perfectly fine!
    This concept really hit home for me when we chose to sponsor two little girls in Africa. I look around my house and compare what I have to what they don’t and realize how disgustingly “rich” we really are. I’ve shown my kids pictures of the shacks they live in and the garbage they walk through and the water or food available to them. I’m doing my best to teach them how to use what they need – and only what they need – because there are people in the world who don’t even have that.

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:33 pm

      I do the exact same thing to my husband and it drives him crazy. He comes from a family that has a tendency to hoard. When we got married he brought about 30 pairs of pants with him – some of them he had from the 90s and NEVER wore them. Now we have this little rule that if something new is purchased something needs to leave in its place.

      And you’re absolutely right about being “rich”. We do not know what true minimalism is.

  14. January 26, 2017 / 11:50 am

    This really resonated with me. My husband and I have spent the last four years radically downsizing our lives and we’re not trendy people or bandwagon jumpers. In fact when a thing becomes all the rage or must have/do thing, or people start assigning a set of rules to something that I’m already doing, I lose interest pretty quick. So as far as the increasingly trendy minimalist movement goes, I’m just going to look the other way and keep doing what I’m doing, because I love how having much less has given my life more meaning and focus. I’m so done with the “consumerist chaos”! Oh and by the way, we also have two spatulas! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the great post!

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:29 pm

      I’m looking away too – most of the time. I just couldn’t wrap my head around how there are now quantifying and making minimalism competitive in some circles. The whole point is to find contentment and it’s just so crazy to think that such an amazing way of life is being skewed with these “rules”.

  15. January 26, 2017 / 12:21 pm

    I am a frugal and minimal person by nature – having been raised before consumerism and credit got launched as a national passtime.

    I still wear clothing my mother wore in high school, and I am 50! I have cast iron my great-grandmothers used in the 1930’s. And I have FIVE spatulas, two were given to me… one is heat-resistant for cooking, one is tiny (for getting the last frugal blip of mayo out of the jar), and the remainder came in a 3-pack that I just bought to replace my big, standard, regular ol’ spatula who had lived a long and useful life before the handle snapped off about an inch above the spatula part… LOL!

    Minimalism, for me, is more about refusing to follow the consumerism compulsion for needing the latest gadgets or electronic or clothing or vehicle or perfume or makeup or mani-pedi or or or…

    I have multiple shoes (3 flip-flops, 1 cowboy boots, 1 hiking boots, 1 black sneakers, and 2 white sneakers because one is relegated to lawn mowing duty) and rotate them for obvious reasons… My previous cowboy boots lasted about 15 years and three episodes of being re-soled before they finally were thrown away and replaced.

    When I moved in here, I washed my clothes for 18 months on a washboard and used a clothes line for my dryer – because it made no sense to purchase a washing machine for the little amount of laundry I created. I only purchased a washing machine when I had to do two people’s worth of laundry on a more time-sensitive schedule. I still don’t own a dryer, nor will I probably EVER own another clothes dryer.

    Minimalism is removing the things that don’t bring you direct pleasure and not succumbing to the whims and pressures of consumerism simply for the “fitting in” status.
    (She posts from her perfectly good condition iPhone 4S. My lovely relic.)

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:27 pm

      I had to laugh at your 4s comment. I just recently upgraded my phone because mine broke. I was heartbroken because I loved my phone and didn’t really want a newer model.

      Thank you for sharing these thoughts with me! I really enjoyed reading them!

  16. January 26, 2017 / 2:12 pm

    #Minimalism. I feel this way about my crafting!~ I feel I am closer to a minimalist person as I avoid heavy patterns as much as possible but I am not all white in my creations!

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:25 pm

      Love that you are linking it to your crafting! <3

      • January 27, 2017 / 5:06 pm

        LOL sometimes we try to make everything fit us! I am a bit of a minimalist person as I hate clutter. My kitchen counters have nothing on them, I recycle items (AKA throw or give away) as many times as I can in a year. Dress wise I stick to one color at a time and feel overwhelmed if I wear two or more….

        • February 1, 2017 / 9:52 am

          I’m the same way with counter space. Right now I have to have my cooking utensils on the counter top in a jar because my little likes to pull them out of drawers and it makes me a little anxious always seeing them there!

          • February 1, 2017 / 3:20 pm

            I would do anything to accommodate little ones, So good for you to be uncomfortable so that your little one is safe. We get so carried away about our habits and routines and sometimes impose on others around us not taking other people in to consideration. I hope that in my life I would be OK to be uncomfortable, change my habit and routine for others around me if it was not detrimental or me or them…… hope that made sense!

          • February 2, 2017 / 8:33 pm

            Absolutely! Thank you so much for sharing!

  17. January 26, 2017 / 2:36 pm

    I think you are on to something when you say that it is somewhat of a trend to be considered a minimalist. I don’t call myself one, probably for the fact that I’m breaking that unspoken law in probably a million ways .;) To me its just living within your means and with moderation. keeping everything simple and less cluttered for my home AND my mind.

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:25 pm

      Moderation is a perfect word!

  18. January 26, 2017 / 3:39 pm

    Great thoughts! I never bridged being content and intentional with minimalism. I struggle with contentment in other areas of life. I’m slowly learning to be content with less stuff not by choice but circumstance. I hope to carry this lesson into the future when it is less of a choice. Personally I hate clutter and wasting money. It’s important to me to choose my purchases wisely and keep them for a long time.
    I have to admit I have like probably 4 spatulas :$ I can’t help it, like you said they each serve a different purpose in the kitchen lol

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:24 pm

      Our start with minimalism was by circumstance too and after we were in a position where we didn’t really have to live minimally anymore we continued with it. We really derived a lot of contentment from living this way. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me!

  19. January 26, 2017 / 5:41 pm

    Oh Jenny! I have had the exact same Spatula Debate. I have two of them, and I have decided that I am comfortable with that choice. When my husband moved in we had 4, so I figure a 50% reduction is just fine. One pair of shoes is not enough for me (actually leather shoes shouldn’t be worn two days in a row… it’s bad for the leather), and neither is one pair of jeans (I tried for 3 months to live with one, but I broke down and ordered a second pair last week). My couch is orange and my walls are yellow. I choose contentment over joy. I enjoy my things, but I don’t find joy in them. I make my own rules and create my own habits, but I am very intentional about them. And despite all of that I AM A MINIMALIST (darn it!).

    I feel like you just wrote a little Minimalist Manifesto. Bravo on this post!!

  20. January 26, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    I have two wooden spoons and honestly the other day I was thinking dead near the same thing for a minute. But really counting your stuff isn’t the point. For me the point of minimalism is in part to get away from investing so much time and energy in stuff (which makes the decluttering phase so difficult as all you do is spend time and energy on stuff albeit getting rid of it). I don’t think my life will ever objectively look like something you’d call minimalist, my aim is just to cut the excess and be intentional.

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:01 am

      I’d echo what Amy has said. Yesterday, I listened to James Wallman on The Slow Home Podcast who coined the word ‘experientialism’. Minimalism is the same side of the ‘experientialist’ coin. The whole idea, as I see it, is to reduce and eliminate that which no longer adds value to create space to do what really matters in life – notably to have experiences whose impact and enjoyment far outweighs the buzz you might get from acquiring stuff.

      As a keen cook, I also have several wooden spoons….

      • January 27, 2017 / 4:07 am

        Have you read his book? I’d highly recommend it. Very readable and considers and critiques differing narratives around minimalism, simple living etc.

        • January 27, 2017 / 4:21 pm

          I’ve read it and really enjoyed it too! I’m glad you brought this up. I highly suggest everyone read it!

      • January 27, 2017 / 1:54 pm

        I’m on the same page actually. Well put “to have experiences whose impact and enjoyment far outweighs the buzz you might get from acquiring stuff.

        • January 27, 2017 / 2:31 pm

          You have definitely inspired me with this one – see my upcoming post!

          • January 27, 2017 / 4:21 pm

            I just saw that. I’m in the process of preparing a big dinner for tomorrow but I’ll pass by as soon as I get everything sorted here- I have a few thoughts to share πŸ™‚

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:23 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that questions these things πŸ™‚

      And, you’re absolutely right – it’s not about quantifying what you have! It’s quite sad that in some circles it’s become more about the numbers thought.

  21. January 26, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    This is awesome! I love minimalism, but I love it for the sanity reasons, and the fresh feeling it gives. I don’t count my clothes or spatulas, we have only what we use and I will always be “decluttering” since it just feels so good to not be “connected” to things…I like my plain walls and clear counters…not to be in competition, but because it’s an amazing feeling and you can’t take any of your crap with you when you die, so what’s the point of having it clutter your house? πŸ™‚ great real insights, thanks for sharing.

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:22 pm

      You’re right, it does give a fresh feeling. Personally, I love knowing exactly what I have at all times – I feel far more in control of my life and surroundings.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me!

  22. January 27, 2017 / 7:42 am

    Interesting thoughts. I think rather than going along with the minimalist trend – I think you’re right that that’s what it is – our family has lived more by the saying “Love people and use things; don’t love things and use people.” Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

    • January 27, 2017 / 1:52 pm

      Love this! πŸ‘πŸΌ

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:20 pm

      Thank you for the link back lady!

  23. It's Crazy Wonderful
    January 27, 2017 / 3:35 pm

    LOVE that you challenged the minimalist narrative. This really got me thinking!

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:19 pm

      Thank you! I overthink pretty much everything πŸ™‚

  24. January 27, 2017 / 3:47 pm

    I reference this a little in my blog post today. The thing that drew me to minimalism is that for some reason, in spite of the random places that tell me how to “do” minimalism, I think it’s pretty much different for every person. It’s like you said “intentionality and contentment” My minimalism doesn’t look like anyone else’s and it doesn’t have to. I am working toward my best life.
    Though, I do understand. I opened my utensil drawer this morning and was a little peeved with myself because i actually have 3 spatulas πŸ˜‰

    • January 27, 2017 / 4:18 pm

      Exactly. I take minimalism to mean doing what I need to do to make more intentional choices that bring me contentment.

      LOL at the 3 spatulas πŸ˜‰

  25. January 27, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    Love your thoughts! I’m currently living out of a few boxes with everything else in storage while Hubs and I try to figure out where to live. I haven’t missed any of the β€˜stuff’ except for my books and am seriously considering a garage sale, once we have a garage again. Less is more!

    • February 1, 2017 / 9:51 am

      EXACTLY! we went through the exact same thing! Well done!

  26. January 27, 2017 / 9:54 pm

    I love your take on minimalism! I find contentment in the fact that I can make food from scratch instead of settling for processed.

    • February 1, 2017 / 9:51 am

      I love this. I make virtually everything we eat from scratch and I agree it’s a form of food minimalism.

  27. January 28, 2017 / 4:18 am

    Very aposite post! I dislike my version of minimalism being viewed as ‘trendy’ – I am not doing it to fit in with other people’s views. It is a choice I make, and now have the opportunity to do. As a child I liked my dolls house, caravans, tents, I played at being a simple peasant not a queen or princess. It is in my genes, it helps me understand what matters, clutter and stuff get in the way of thought for me.

    • February 1, 2017 / 9:50 am

      Thank you Katie! It’s such a personal journey isn’t it?

  28. January 28, 2017 / 10:18 am

    LOVE THIS POST!!! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one that does this to myself. LOL

  29. January 28, 2017 / 4:39 pm

    Minimilism in my life is done to enhance my experience of life. I think it’s supposed to be maleable so that it can be done to benefit your life. There is no one size fits all! I could never do a white house with white linens etc. A) it would drive me batty B) I have a 1year old he would DESTROY all white things!!!

    • February 1, 2017 / 9:50 am

      Absolutely!

      And yes, white with kids is asking for it!

  30. January 29, 2017 / 1:42 am

    I didn’t make it through all of the comments to see if anyone else brought it up, but have you heard of or seen “Minimalism: A Documentary” on Netflix? I watched it twice, once by myself and once with my boyfriend. It talks about the “rules” of minimalism and just like how you said, that the rules don’t have to be that restrictive. I love minimalism, and like you I’m concerned that the “trendiness” is going to make it into something it isn’t. I really am happy with less nowadays. I may have a few extra things because I enjoy them, but that’s ok. I don’t get things to impress others, I get them because they serve some sort of purpose in my life. If I can’t find that purpose anymore, I throw things out (or more likely, donate, repurpose, or give to friends who want it). I don’t think it matters how many of each thing you have as much as your reasons and motivations for each one. I know some people on the documentary were doing this thing called Project 33 where they honed their wardrobe down to 33 items, including undergarments, accessories, jewelry, and shoes. I think that’s going a little far for me, because if I did that, I may have less clothes, but I feel like I would constantly be doing laundry for just a couple of items. I might have more than 33 pieces of clothing, but all of what I have serves a purpose. Living that way really puts things into perspective. With all of the greed in the world these days its nice to see people being more mindful!

    • February 1, 2017 / 9:49 am

      Yes I’ve seen it! I agree there shouldn’t be rules because ultimately minimalism is a personal journey. Thank you so so much for sharing!

  31. January 29, 2017 / 8:04 am

    Exactly! I think the people that become minimalists in a real organic, natural way – because of a desire to lighten up and not be controlled by their stuff are the true minimalists. And how minimalism expresses itself is different with each person. The ones who get on the bandwagon, create rules to exclude or rigidly define it just don’t understand. They’re trying to be trendy.

    • February 1, 2017 / 9:48 am

      Exactly. Very well put!

  32. January 29, 2017 / 6:32 pm

    It means I feel comfortable in my own skin, in my own home, in my own space. There is nothing wrong with owning things, but the problem is that you can own so much you have no idea what you have (which is something I’ve been dealing with this past week). You have two spatulas. Sometimes you NEED two spatulas. (I’ll admit I laughed through your story.) There is a point where owning so little becomes less efficient. Sure, I could own just one pair of sneakers, but they would get soaked during a rain storm or full of sand at the beach. I could own one mixing bowl, but it may hinder me when cooking certain meals. I used to own 10 mixing bowls, and I gave a beautiful set of four blue glass bowls from my wedding to a military family. I feel blessed knowing that they are blessing someone else.

    • January 29, 2017 / 6:34 pm

      Also, I own six spatulas. I have no shame.

      • February 1, 2017 / 9:47 am

        I laughed so hard I spit out my coffee. Thanks lady πŸ˜‰

    • February 1, 2017 / 9:48 am

      Absolutely.

      I think part of the issue is that there’s a tendency by some folks to quantify minimalism which is simply not the point.

  33. January 30, 2017 / 10:36 pm

    I liked this post. I am glad you enjoy your 2 spatulas, and feel free to have them.

    We are downsizing right now, because we moved into a much smaller house. It’s also because many of our children are grown and gone, with only 3 remaining. So, we don’t need as much stuff for daily living. Years ago, I spent 1-1/2 years living in a shop while we did a huge remodel, and this past summer we spent 3 months in a camper (with 3 kids) while we searched for a new home to buy. Both times, it was very freeing to have so much stuff boxed up. A person gets very creative with the things they do have out of boxes. I’ve always enjoyed simple living, but don’t consider myself a minimalist. Still, the older I get, the more I just want to pare down and deal with less and less stuff. Not sure what that makes me, but I do know I’m happy and that’s what counts.

    • February 1, 2017 / 9:46 am

      Our situation was actually quite similar (We moved about 8 months ago) and you’re right, it’s amazing how well we can do with far less stuff!

  34. January 31, 2017 / 5:22 pm

    I know just how you feel! I really got started down a minimalist path with Marie Kondo. Even if you don’t read any of her books, just watching a few of her YouTube videos might really inspire you. Her overall philosophy has been so helpful to me — keep only what brings you joy!

    • February 1, 2017 / 9:28 am

      I’ve actually read her book twice. Although I think the text as a whole is inspiring there are certain aspects that I just don’t agree with. Not necessarily because I think they are wrong but more because they don’t jive well with our lifestyle! But yes, the goal is to be surrounded by things that bring joy.

  35. January 31, 2017 / 10:52 pm

    A very interesting way of looking at minimalism that makes me think about the subject from a whole new angle. Great post! Very helpful πŸ™‚

    • February 1, 2017 / 9:27 am

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!

  36. February 1, 2017 / 10:53 pm

    Just learning about it. But I feel like “less is more” is a great conclusion. I look around my home and feel like I want to just throw stuff away. But one day at a time right?

    • February 2, 2017 / 8:29 pm

      Absolutely. Kon Mari who believes in this idea of purging and organizing as quickly as possible which isn’t feasible for some people.Minimalism is such a unique journey that the road getting there should be unique too.

      • February 3, 2017 / 8:17 am

        Absolutely. I think my biggest goal is setting that example for my kids.

        • February 3, 2017 / 10:01 am

          Yes! Exactly. I’ve seen so many cases of kids who have very little awareness of their own digital foot print. I know that moving forward technology will change more than I can even imagine but I’m hoping that I can instill some conscious reflection in Margs when it comes to internet use.

          • February 3, 2017 / 4:30 pm

            My 9 year old is in constant jealous mode cause the neighbor has every digital/gamfe system/ phone/ tablet etc. (they are 9. And the 5 year old has the same). It’s a generational parenting battle.

          • February 4, 2017 / 8:34 am

            Absolutely. This would have totally been a non-issue even 15 years ago.

  37. February 1, 2017 / 11:53 pm

    Have you watched the minimalism documentary on Netflix? Or visited The Minimalists? Josh and Ryan were my intro to minimalism and I’m so thankful they were bc minimalism means something different to everyone. You do you. Don’t compare and just own what you feel you need. I have two spatulas too. πŸ˜‰

    • February 2, 2017 / 8:28 pm

      I have and really enjoyed it!

  38. February 6, 2017 / 10:59 pm

    I think that as long you’re using everything than it all has a place! Even that second spatula. I think that Minimalists can run into the same kind of social judgement as maximalists do. When there’s competition about how much or how little stuff you have it’s no longer about the stuff but about the perception of your stuff. Living with two pairs of shoes because everyone else has 3 is just as much about perception as buying a 4 car garage when everyone else has a 3 car garage. It just costs you less money to get rid of your shoes. You should have one spatula if that’s what you use and you should have two if that’s what YOU use!

    Very thoughtful thank you πŸ™‚

    • February 7, 2017 / 9:56 am

      Thank you for sharing. You’re right a ton of this has to do with perception!

  39. February 7, 2017 / 12:44 pm

    As I got into my car this morning to drop my 3-year-old off at school, I felt suddenly overwhelmed by how much STUFF I had with me. It instantly made me cranky. While minimalism is likely something I will never achieve, I would honestly kill to be better able to de-clutter. Thanks for the motivation!

  40. February 7, 2017 / 7:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I agree that for some concepts being trendy can be counter effective and takes away the meaning behind it. Keep going this way πŸ™‚

  41. February 8, 2017 / 12:34 pm

    I always thought that comparing to other families we have less stuff, are more modest and not that much shopping-oriented family. However during the years stuff accumulated. So we bought some shelves, a new wardrobe, some closets… and when there was no more space to put additional furniture, even a 15 cm wide cabinet for the ultimate space besides the sofa πŸ™‚ That made me think. It was time to make really big purges (still in process) and rethinking our values. I do not want feel trapped (in lousy job, place, clutter, cleaning chores, etc) by objects, so for me minimalism means freedom.

    • February 9, 2017 / 1:32 pm

      One step at a time! Reducing takes time but as long as you’re consistent about it – you’ll get there!

  42. February 9, 2017 / 7:08 pm

    Love this! I am in the middle of a KonMari purge and have struggled to post about it because it is now the “trendy” thing to do. Love your blog girl! 😁

    • February 11, 2017 / 8:10 am

      Thank you for your kind words!

  43. February 9, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    Thank you! I completely agree. Minimalism for the sake of focus. I struggle with the “trend” of minimalism and the “I’m a better person than you because I’m a better minimalist attitude that some people exude.

    Wield BOTH of your spatulas proudly.

    • February 11, 2017 / 8:10 am

      Agreed! And your comment about the spatulas made me legit laugh out loud!

  44. February 10, 2017 / 12:49 am

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    • February 11, 2017 / 8:11 am

      Thank you!

  45. February 13, 2017 / 4:25 pm

    ….life seems to me like a constant weeding of the proverbial garden whether that be in the physical or of the mind…..thank you Jenny, you put thoughts and words together beautifully, I enjoyed listening!

    • February 14, 2017 / 8:34 am

      Thank you!

  46. February 13, 2017 / 5:01 pm

    Love this post, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I agree, when someone starts stating “rules” for being a minimalist, I think that’s a red warning flag that something isn’t quite right. I was recently writing about how any word with “ist” on the end causes me some discomfort right away, as usually it means someone is over-identifying with a certain aspect of themselves and often tends to be a little militant or over-consumed with the “form” of something, verses the “spirit” of whatever it is they’re passionate about and involved with.

    • February 14, 2017 / 8:33 am

      Militant is such a great word to use in this discussion. I think that those who focus on rule setting are probably not appreciating the true value of the movement. I feel that you can’t really be minimalist if you focus on living by minimalist rules because for me anyway, the movement is about finding freedom from the chaos of rules.

  47. February 15, 2017 / 7:56 am

    I’m not a minimalist by the sheer amount of things I have, even though I’ve scaled down a lot. It’s using everything a million times over and thinking about what I buy and rejecting 9 out of 10 purchases is what makes me a minimalist in a way. That matters more to me than a silly dictation of must have items

    • February 15, 2017 / 8:11 am

      I think that does make you a minimalist. I’m really uncomfortable with the direction the movement has taken lately with bloggers/youtubers quantifying what makes one person a “true” minimalist- I think that if you’re thought process leans towards determining the usefulness of an item before purchase then you’ve got those minimalistic tendencies ya know?

      • February 15, 2017 / 11:03 am

        I’m seeing some minimalists go to the extremes. hey seem to be suffering from this decluttering mania where they keep making videos on the next thing to declutter before they have had time to see if some of these extra things work for them. It’s getting too much now

        • February 15, 2017 / 11:07 am

          Yup. It’s become a competition which is unfortunate because minimalism is actually a great thing. It’s totally an individual journey and what you have versus what I have shouldn’t matter.

    • February 17, 2017 / 7:48 am

      Thank you!

    • February 23, 2017 / 7:24 am

      Thank you for the love πŸ™‚

  48. February 22, 2017 / 11:50 pm

    After moving my grandmother twice and then clearing out her final apartment after her death, it got me really thinking about how much stuff do I want to leave behind when I pass on. Particularly as I got hit by a truck walking during lunchtime a few years ago and nearly met my maker. I’ve been trying to uncluttered my life since.

    • February 23, 2017 / 7:23 am

      I think everyone who opts to declutter their lives in someway has one of these moments. So glad to hear you’re okay! How scary!

  49. February 24, 2017 / 10:07 am

    Thanks for reading the blog today. Hope to see you again soon.

    • February 24, 2017 / 12:25 pm

      My pleasure!

  50. February 27, 2017 / 1:44 pm

    I am working toward minimalism. I think it means having what you need. If you NEED two spatulas use two. I need a truck. It uses more gas than a car but I can’t do everything I need with my car. (I know, get a wheelbarrow!) We all need certain tools in life. Do you NEED a computer or can I give you a pen and paper? It’s all relative.

    • February 27, 2017 / 1:52 pm

      It’s absolutely relative and I think you managed to summarize the point of my entire post in just a few sentences! Thank you so much for sharing!

  51. March 2, 2017 / 10:49 am

    I loved your post, read it from beginning to end. I am also on my struggle to become minimalistic (quite difficult if you have children) but my main reason to become one was (now I see) very valid, I want to be happy in the space I live in. I don’t like silly rules. I will feel minimalistic as long as I see that I have only the things that I need and make me happy, instead a big bunch of this that I never use and make me feel stressed. Regards.

    • March 3, 2017 / 6:08 am

      Define it for yourself! There’s not need to try and live up to some standard set up by the internets/documentaries/podcasts. Define your own happiness on the journey.

  52. March 3, 2017 / 3:36 pm

    Jenny: we recently watched the documentary entitled ‘Minimalism’. [Really, though, if the producers were truly minimalist, shouldn’t the title be entirely lower-case letters? πŸ˜‰ ] so the whole concept has been front and center lately. I appreciate the perspective you provide, especially with the image about subtraction for the sake of focus.
    Good work!

  53. March 8, 2017 / 5:52 pm

    I would not consider myself a minimalist based on the amount of stuff in my house. I still have a lot of stuff (more than I care to have anyway). Personally, minimalism is more of a frame of mind for me. Like ‘do I really need/want this thing? Because if I buy it, it’s going to take up space and one day I might look and it and want it out of my house really badly”. I also find being on a strict budget really helps keep the consumerist monster at bay. If I only have X amount of money to spend, I am only going to buy what I really want/need as opposed to just whatever catches my eye. I try to reduce the amount of stuff I have or buy not for an instagram photo, but for my own sanity. Just some thoughts.

    • March 9, 2017 / 8:40 am

      I agree. Minimalism is a state of mind but unfortunately more and more recently being a minimalist has become quantified which really defeats the purpose.

  54. March 9, 2017 / 6:33 am

    I see myself as a minimalist and love it.

    Minimalism to me is working with the bare minimum effectively.

    Sure there are computer keyboards with integrated mouse (1 Product) which I will hate using every day. Thus, I have a keyboard and a separate mouse (2 Products) which can allow me to work much more efficiently.

    So you are right, minimalism should be about reducing waste and redundancy, but it also should not be rigid in defining the right amount to work with.

    • March 9, 2017 / 8:37 am

      Thank you for sharing this! So glad to hear that you’ve found your sweet spot with minimalism!

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