What Does Minimalism Mean?

IMG_1773Minimalism – what is it? This is a question I’ve been asked when I talk about my choice of simple living. Before hearing about this type of lifestyle, I only thought of minimalism and how it applied to art design or method.

But what exactly is a minimalist lifestyle?

It’s designing a life that is more simple, happy, and peaceful by living with less and experiencing more. It’s about living with the essentials and removing the unnecessary. This is what minimalism means to me and how I apply it to my way of living.

After feeling frustrated with a life of excess, while caring for my home, husband, and 3 month old daughter at the time, I decided it was time to simplify. My possessions were consuming me and taking away whatever time, energy, and pleasant personality I had left.

I still remember the day when I decided a change was needed. I was new to parenthood and feeling overwhelmed, lost, and crazy. My daughter was napping and I was cleaning the house…again. I was dusting picture frame after picture frame and I asked myself –

“Why do I have all these picture frames if it irritates me to dust them?
Do they make me happy enough to keep them?
How much time would I save by removing the excess?”

The picture frames obviously made me unhappy, so those were the first things to get consolidated.

Getting rid of these unnecessary items pushed me to get rid of more and I started tackling drawers and cabinets in the kitchen. Small steps helped remove the clutter because I felt defeated by attempting to do a mass amount at once.

Removing the bulk of unimportant things hooked me into becoming a minimalist. The relief I gained by not having to deal with an abundance of items made it clear that I needed to simplify everything I could.

These small steps turned into something bigger – my home was calm and so was I. After a short time of living the minimalist way, the definition of minimalism changed. In the beginning, it was about living with the essentials and simplifying.

Then, I was able to think about what was really important. It definitely wasn’t the material things in my life. The accumulation of stuff drove me mad. What’s important is the health and well being of my family and I. It’s being thankful that our basic needs are met – having food, clean water, good health, and a home.

Now, minimalism has a deeper meaning. It’s still about living with the essentials, but it’s living the life we want. For me it’s living simply, peacefully, and happily through experiences. Nothing brings more joy than to have memorable experiences with my husband and daughter.

It’s the little things like playing outside, taking walks, or going to a parade. It’s time spent together and creating memories that we can hold onto for reminiscing later.

Each day I continue to ask myself what minimalism means. And the intention of this is to ensure I’m fulfilling my definition of this lifestyle. Am I doing things that are simple, peaceful, and happy? Am I living with the essentials? Am I having more experiences?

I encourage you to ask yourself daily what minimalism means to you. Are you happy with the clutter or is it time to simplify? Do you find peace everyday or is it time to prioritize your schedule? Are you living the life you want or is it time to change direction?

Minimalism is about living with the essentials, but it’s up to you to define what it really means to you. Because the definition is unique for each individual. It’s not “one size fits all.” That’s the beauty of it – it’s tailor-made.

Minimalism is whatever you want it to be.

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