Last year at this time I was clearing out stuff in a big way. End of March 2011 was our huge garage sale where we sold most of what we couldn’t donate. The house was more and more empty and we were signing contracts with a sweet couple who were planning on renting it beginning of May.
It wasn’t until much later that I even heard the term minimalism and was able to find like minded (similarly crazy) people on line. Back then all I knew was that I wanted less space, less stuff, and more living for my family. Now that I have read a bunch more on the topic and have been living the lifestyle for a while I wanted to do up a list of what I define a minimalist as.
A Minimalist is:
- An intentional person. They see where they are going in life as something they can plan or affect. They do not just accept what life throws at them as their fate. Sure, they don’t have control over the world, but they choose how they will respond to what is out of their control and steer their life in a direction they have decided on.
- A driven and focused person. Similar to #1 they are making things happen. They can still be laid back fun people to be around, but typically a minimalist isn’t just sitting back and watching the world. They are actively taking part in life and the world around them.
- Un-Attached materially. Probably the most visible is the understanding that a minimalist has less stuff. They are intentional about what they own and have only the things they want. This can range from 50 or less things (the crazy, hard-core) to much more. Many minimalists don’t count things but the number is often countable (vs the typical person or family in a first world country). The idea is to not be limited or distracted by material possessions.
- Quality loving. Goes with having less stuff. The stuff minimalists do have is higher quality. Less stuff means more money for the few things that are needed. Also, the things a minimalist owns are often used much more often and need to be able to handle it.
- Priority Centered. Minimalists know or are trying to find out what is most important to them and live their life based on that information.
- Society Questioning. Just the idea of having less stuff is a little crazy when society as a whole is always looking for more, bigger, and fancier. A minimalist has questioned this and disagreed with it and will often question other parts of society as well.
Being a minimalist isn’t a ticket into an elite group or defined by a number of possessions. Being a minimalist is something that starts in the mind and is driven by intangibles (#1). The visible and tangible is only a byproduct of intentional living decisions.