I don't like focusing on the negatives. Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm hopelessly optimistic. To a fault even. I love seeing the good in everything, in my own slightly sarcastic and happy-go-lucky kind of way. But sometimes, focusing on the "negatives" is the best way to define the "positives" — or in other words, learning what something isn't can help define what it actually is.
After the buzz that the new documentary from The Minimalist's created, I think its safe to say that minimalism is becoming a new "thing". Although it's not quite mainstream (yet), the film took the movement to new heights, reaching more people than ever before.
And with so many new eyes on the art of living with less, there's bound to be some confusion and misinterpretation. So, allow me to present my definition of what I believe the heart of minimalism is, by defining what it isn't.
1. Minimalism isn't the "be all end all"
Although it can certainly cut out a lot of unnecessary problems and make life a heck of a lot easier, minimalism isn't the "ultimate good". It can't solve every problem you have.
It can, however, give you a system for dealing with excess — be it physical, mental, social, or digital. But minimalism isn't the ultimate.
2. Minimalism isn't depriving yourself of things you love
I've heard a lot of people say that minimalism isn't for them because they don't think they'd be able to let go of a certain collection, or get rid of their favorite clothes, or a certain sentimental trinket from their past. But that misses the point entirely. Minimalism isn't deprivation. It's creating space so you can have and do more of what you love. Even if what you love is antique tea cups.
It's all things in moderation.
3. Minimalism isn't just about aesthetics
Although minimalist architecture and interior design may trend on social media and be serious #housegoals, the aesthetics isn't what it's about either. Ultimately, minimalism is a heart project — teaching yourself to live with less of what you don't need, so you can have more of what you do need.
4. Minimalism isn't just about stuff
Getting rid of "stuff" is a huge part of it, but, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, minimalism is about way, way more than a 37 piece wardrobe or a sparsely decorated home.
5. Minimalism isn't supposed to be hard
The initial work may be difficult, yes. Transitioning from a "more mentality" to a "less but better" mentality will definitely be hard. But in another sense, it is one hundred times more freeing and exciting than it is limiting and constricting.
6. Minimalism isn't the same for everyone
Like most things in life, minimalism looks different for each person. You don't have to have an all white home with only a table and a set of chairs, or 100 belongings, or a curated capsule of 37 pieces to consider yourself a minimalist. More than anything, it is learning to be intentional with the things you allow into your home and into your life.
Now that we know what it isn't, tell me what minimalism is to you....