Journey to Minimalism: What is Minimalism?

Posted February 6, 2017 by admin in Journey to Minimalism, Lifestyle / 0 Comments


Journey to Minimalism is a series on my blog in which I record my experiences as I declutter and attempt to live a life free of distractions. 

When you hear the word minimalism, what do you picture? For years I believed that minimalism meant ridding my space of all the items I owned, except for the bare essentials, and that terrified me. I used to picture all white rooms with a bed and some plants. Something like this:

While I absolutely adore how this room looks, I know that I can never minimize (or even maintain) my room to resemble this. The room is absolutely breath-taking, but there isn’t a bookshelf or a space to sit and read. I own over 200 books and cherish every single one of them, so I thought that minimalism could not work for me.

Whenever I would stumble across a minimalist’s page I would also see pictures of their wardrobe. A pattern that I often noticed is the lack of colors in most of these colors, which is saying something since most of what I own are either black or jeans. Take the following picture as an example:

This closet is extremely visually appealing, but doesn’t reflect my style. I love colors and I love being able to dress casually one day and dressy the next. With the clothes I currently own I cannot minimize my closet as much as most minimalists do without eliminating some style options. I’m also in a situation where I do not have the ability to purchase a completely new wardrobe that can fit all my needs in as little items of clothing as possible. So does that mean I cannot be a minimalist?

In fact, what is minimalism?

For so long I’ve been intimidated by the image that surrounds minimalism that I didn’t even bother to ask myself about the fundamentals of it! After doing plenty of research, I discovered that there are so many different definitions of minimalism, but they all share a common value. I believe Joshua Becker from the Becoming Minimalist blog puts it best:

Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.

And if we were going to become minimalist, it would have to be a style of minimalism specific to us. It would require us to ask questions, give-and-take, identify what we most value, and be humble enough to change course when necessary.

Your particular practice of minimalism is going to look different from everyone else. It must! After all, you live a different life than everyone else.

Although the Pinterest and Instagram minimalists seem to be more ‘minimal’ than you, that doesn’t make your ‘style of minimalism’ any less authentic. As Becker says, minimalism is about ridding your life of distractions.

What do you want to do with your life, really think about it. Now look around. Are the items that surround you going to help you get there? Do they hold any value/significant meaning to you? Do they make you happy? I’m afraid that’s not the case for me.

Time to get to work.

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