Mrs. Super Frugal Duo and I have noticed lately that minimalism has been appropriated by the mainstream from those few fringe eccentrics whose lead-by-example lifestyle once fell on deaf ears. What once was a way of life for some has become something hip and trendy; the kind of thing you would read about in a lifestyle magazine or blog. It’s banner has been taken up by retailers, offering less, if you just buy a little more of their product. And it’s methods have been practiced, often halfheartedly, by many. It’s no longer a methodical way of being, it’s a commodity being bandied about.
And this often leaves it without definition.
One of the great things about minimalism, is that it’s deeply personal. Let’s take the idea of a minimalist wardrobe. I may need only fifty pieces in my wardrobe to feel like I have just the right amount, but my neighbor may need one hundred and fifty. So long as we both have made an effort to eliminate the pieces we don’t use or need, and focus only on that which is important, we are both minimalists. Yet, to a “die-hard minimalist” who gets by on only twenty pieces, and insists that others do the same, my neighbor and I may both appear to be garish in our number of items.
Our Brand of Minimalism
Because Mrs. Super Frugal Duo and I practice minimalism in our own lives, and intend to write about that here from time to time, we thought it was important to put down in words just what minimalism means to us. And, as I’m sure is no surprise to you, our definition is quite concise:
Minimalism should be a constant evaluation of the value that people, places and things bring to your life, and a consistent elimination of those things which do not add or create value.
In practice it’s pretty simple, but also delightfully boring – the kind of thing that you won’t read about in a lifestyle magazine. We choose to emphasize the mindfulness involved in minimalism, rather than the focus so many put on material possessions, as a way to focus on internalization, rather than relying on externalization.
It’s a way of putting process before product that produces the best lives we can live.