We live in a culture obsessed with being busy & ownership. ‘Balanced’ by a counter culture driving back to basics thinking & minimising the number of our possessions. I don’t know about you but I think living in between these extremes can be pretty draining. Joshua Becker refreshingly defines minimalism as
“The intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.”
There is a lot of advice out there for ‘gaining clarity’, ‘simplifying your life’ or simply living with greater purpose. Becker writes “Some people who write about minimalism would have you believe that the goal is to own as few things as possible. To these folks, “stuff” is a four-letter word. They advise removing decorations, ornaments, and non-utilitarian objects. They say you’re not done until everything has been removed.”
Minimalism is about creating space & enabling clarity.
Stuff and activity absorb resources you could better use elsewhere. Becker has us ‘imagine a bookshelf crowded with knickknacks: flowers, figurines, photos… Maybe you have a similar shelf.
Some of the items on that shelf might be truly significant: for me its our family photos, favourite novels & travel mementos.
But those truly meaningful items or activities are likely overshadowed or even literally covered by other, less significant items: a plate you picked up in an op shop, the remnants of a craft project, a game you’re sure you’ll find that missing piece for (yep we had all these).
By removing the items you don’t need, you make more room for meaningful mementos to serve the purpose for which you kept them.
Your home has purposes, each room in the home has purposes, and the possessions in those rooms should serve those purposes. Most importantly, you have purposes too. The activities you choose to spend your time on have purpose. Minimalism will help to reveal those purposes to you and make it easier for you to pursue them.
If you’re not feeling fulfilled, apply bookshelf thinking to the 168 hours which are your week. Create physical space, intellectual space & time to understand and live out your purpose.