What is Minimalism?

I cannot tell a lie. I have a deep and abiding affection for dumpsters. In my bag of tricks as a professional organizer, it is my go-to power tool. When I disclose this to my clients, I can see concern flicker across their faces. (If not downright panic!)

And when I disclose my minimalist leanings, well, I keep the smelling salts handy in case one is overtaken with an attack of the vapors. (That’s a Victorian-era reference for passing out. I’ve watched too much Downton Abbey.)

So dear reader, I thought I would take the time to explain to you my view of minimalism.

The extreme meaning is that you live in an empty room, only living with the bare minimum. I read a book entitled Goodbye Things written by a Japanese author, but holy Toledo! His extreme approach isn’t for the faint of heart.

For example, he advocates only having one towel. Uh, yeah. Wouldn’t work for me. (Though I contend that two towels per person is plenty.) And he’s a single guy, too.

Minimalism means different things to different people. (I’m talking to you, crafters.)

I like to think of living as an intentionalist. And yeah, the spellcheck tells me that’s not a word.

What do I mean by that? Simple. Here are a few guidelines that I use to describe minimalism.

Everything you own is owned with intention. It is used or appreciated with intention. It reflects your values. You own the stuff–not the stuff owns you.

Minimalism embraces the truth that we find happiness outside of the consumer treadmill. Minimalism values relationship, experiences and love for both self and the planet.

Minimalism looks for purpose and meaning in life beyond what’s parked in the driveway or the furnishings in your home.

Minimalism means the calendar and to-do list has more white space on it than the typical stressed-out, over-committed lifestyle that the western world values.

Minimalism also means learning to say NO to things, busyness and toxic relationships so you can say YES to what matters most to you. And here’s a hint-most people aren’t even clear on what matters most to them because they’re so cluttered with things, busyness and toxic relationships!

If it seems I’ve waxed philosophical here, it’s true, because I believe that truly getting uncluttered and organized first starts on the inside of your head and heart.

Theresa Winn Lode loves tidy linen closets and garages where cars can actually be parked. She is slowly emerging from the Covid cave with twitchy fingers that are eager to bring order from chaos. Find her at www.theresalode.com


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