A few weeks ago, Dawn at Frugal For Life talked about what minimalist living really is. Sure, it might include white, bare walls and a single tulip in the middle of the table, or owning only a few clothing outfits. But it is less than that. Just as Martha Stewart is an aspiration (for some people) instead of a realistic lifestyle, the white couches in architecture magazines are from a nonexistant utopian world without dirt. Minimalism seeks happiness and satisfaction with less. Yet we buy into unrealistic visions of being minimalist enough, as if there is a rule that we aren’t a real minimalist unless we live like the magazine pictures. Heaven forbid we set anything down on our pristine granite countertops!
Here are some random pokings at the question. Knowing that we’ll never meet the theoretical ideal, minimalist living strives toward:
- Skill rather than thing.
- Why must I buy this? instead of why not buy this?
- Realizing it probably won’t come in handy.
- Spare is beautiful.
- More kitchen gear rarely improves the meal.
- If you don’t have it, you don’t have to dust it. If you have to keep it, hide it, and you still don’t have to dust it.
- When making a drink coaster from a CD, just place CD on table and set a drink on it. This does does not require a knitted cover, no matter how frugal.
As Dawn mentions, there’s a difference between being a minimalist at heart and struggling to figure out ways to make it work, versus thinking that you ought to be a minimalist, and struggling to try and become one. The latter is destined for failure – fighting desire through denial is incredibly difficult. Remove or subdue the desire first, and the struggle largely dissipates. I am happier when I move toward minimalism, but still struggle with doing it in a way that makes sense. I fail all the time, but that’s OK.