On Minimalism: Love The Idea, But Can't Fully Commit
In the past 15 years, more and more people have joined the lifestyle movement known as minimalism. It's amazing really. I've read a number of articles in The New York Times and in various shelter magazines about folks who have turned their back on consumerism and chosen to live with less–even if they could afford more. My favorite minimalists are Graham Hill and The Minimalists.
While it isn't quite mainstream, it has gained popularity in urban areas where having more is not an advantage when the apartment you live in is 500 square feet. And the movement is growing. There are numerous blogs devoted to the idea and it's not just for young twenty somethings with pockets full of start up money. Families and seniors are starting to live quite successfully without a lot of stuff or space.
I think it's wonderful. I love the ethos. But for me it's a bit of a fantasy. I love multi packs of sharpies and my digital SLR needs three lenses. I also want the kids to have plenty of building toys and art supplies. Not very minimalist. The most I can commit to is keeping only things I use. But I use a lot! Especially in the kitchen. I also sew. I read. I like to have many notebooks to write in and I can't bear to throw out the old CD's that we never listen to anymore thanks to iTunes and Pandora.
It helps me feel better to think that I come from the opposite of a minimalist home. My parents were maximalists, I guess. We always had 2 or 3 cars even though my dad was the only one who drove. The garage was never used to hold cars, just boxes and boxes of stuff. Our rooms, closets and pantry were always bursting.
So for the time being, lifestyle minimalism remains a lofty goal. I have made minimalist gestures, like downsizing the excess in the kitchen and in my clothing. I am an organizer, so of course, things feel minimalist in my home because everything has a place and can be put away.
I'd love to meet a client who would like to purge everything and live on the absolute basics. Then I could see up close what it's really like and whether I could do the same.