The term minimalism is not nearly as obscure as it once was. Stories of those choosing to live more meaningful lives with less are becoming more commonplace. All the while many misconceptions continue to prevail. What exactly is minimalism? Here is a look at what minimalism is, as well as what it is not.
A minimalist lifestyle is best described as one in which a person chooses to live more mindfully, to strip away the excess possesstions and fight against the consumerism that has become embedded into our daily lives. It is choosing to live not only with what you need but also with the things that bring joy and happiness into your life. When we begin to peel away the excess layers of stuff we can start to take a deeper look at how our possesions contribute to or hinder our happiness and productivity. The choice to live with less is not an easy one, and certainly not in a society that perpetually bombards us with the idea that success is measured by how much or what we own.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We choose to live that cycle, many times oblivious to the fact that consumption is never fufilling, but rather a never ending cycle of want. Take in one item and crave the next. It will never be enough because there will always be bigger, better and newer things we could have. We are told that having those things is a measure of our success and happiness in life. Minimalism goes against the grain and says I can be content and find happiness without the cycle of consumption.
Minimalism is Not Deprivation.
One who is minimalist is not choosing to live a life of deprivation, (quite the contrary) they are choosing to live a life of value, one filled with the items that complement and enable our goals rather than hinder them. In our everyday lives we often overlook the impact our possesions have on us. Each item we bring into our lives and homes takes away from us. It takes away time and focus, we invest time and money keeping up with these things as well as shuffling them around trying to find places to keep our never ending collections. The clutter causes mental unrest and the inability to focus on other tasks. A minimalist lifesytle is very rich. We take the time to look analytically at our needs and wants and in turn we choose to only take in and consume those things that bring contentment and happiness. With that comes much freedom, including time to persue new experiences.
Minimalists Are Not Cheap
One thing I hear over and over is a link between minimalism and frugality. While correlations can exist, they do not have to. You can be a minimalist with one income as a stay at home mom or as a multi millionare. It may mean saving money by choosing to cut out excess or it may mean investing more for what you do give out. There’s a whole range and there is no right or wrong path. Minimalism allows you opportunities and you can choose to take a frugal path, you may squirel away money or you may take that vacation in Brazil or splurge on that high ticket item you love, but you now have the choice to do so.
Minimalism is Not a One Size Fits All Label
A minimalist is, simply put, one who chooses to live a life with less posessions. This is very much a spectrum and what it means varies greately on an individual level. To some that means living fully off the grid, rejecting capitalism to the fullest and choosing to live without money but rather a life based on barter and trade. To some it’s pushing yourself to the limit with challanges such as the 333 capsule wardrobe or the 100 thing challange. But it doesnt have to be that. If you are taking the time to stop and look at what you own and ask those hard questions about if it is adding to or taking away from you, then you are perfectly fine to identify youself as a minimalist. There is no magic number that makes you minimalist. It is all in the mindset.
Minimalism in Diapering
It can start in any aspect of your life big or small, why not start with something simple, by simplifying your diaper stash. In the CD world we hear of this elusive stash nirvana, spending years and countless resources seeking out that perfection that must exist. Sometime perfection is found in simplicity, finding what works for you and being content in that. This is by no means to suggest you should not persue trying other things, or collecting if that is something that brings you joy, by all means the key to minimalism is making space for what we love.
Minimalism in diapering can come in two forms. It can be the choice to persue the simple, this may be a back to basic diaper stash of flats and covers and having only exactly what you need to get through a wash cylce, or maybe to you it means all natural materials utilizing cotton based diapers and wool covers. That said it can equally be one steller stash of some hard to find or wahm diapers that you love.
But strip away the excess. Take out those diapers you want to love but just don’t work for your child. You know what I mean, those ones that give you the stink eye from the corner of the changing table, the ones that fill you with regret or frustration everytime you see them. It is ok to say this just isn’t right for us, and in doing so you make room for those that do knock your socks off.
Minimalism is not for everyone, and understandably so. Ask hard questions, challange the norm, and establish your own norm. Only then can you truly find contentment.
Have you considered taking a minimalist approach to various aspects of your life such as cloth diapering?