Jenny’s post at This Tiny Blue House prompted me to reflect on my own approach to minimalism. As the movement grows and builds traction, the voices of its detractors arguably become louder.
So, what’s at the heart of what we call minimalism?
Today’s tweet by The Minimalists’ put it simply:
Minimalism is a tool that can help you focus on living a worthwhile life.
I commented on Jenny’s article that I had recently listened to an interview with James Wallman in conversation with Brooke McAlary for The Slow Home Podcast.
It was Wallman who coined the word ‘experientialism’ in his best-selling book, Stuffocation. His manifesto asserts that buying stuff for its own sake has contributed to many of society’s problems. Instead, acquiring things to enable you to have enjoyable and memorable experiences is ultimately the best path. That is, reduce unnecessary clutter (physical, mental or emotional) to become freer to make intentional choices, which will result in meaningful experiences. It’s these choices that will ultimately bring you joy.
In the interview, Wallman began by distancing his own philosophy from some approaches to minimalism. In the end, he had to admit that what many of us understand by the term is very close to his own idea of experientialism.
Two sides of the same coin
To me, minimalism and experientialism are two sides of the same intentional living coin.
The whole idea, as I see it, is to reduce or eliminate that which no longer adds value to create more capacity in our lives. This space or new-found freedom enables us to do what really matters – notably to have experiences whose impact and enjoyment far outweighs the buzz we might get from acquiring more stuff.
What really matters
What really matters to you will undoubtedly vary from the priorities of others. Nonetheless, we can all enjoy the shared experience of living more intentionally, slowing down, developing a greater awareness, and focusing on loving the life we uncover when we remove the clutter.
Further, what I consider to be ‘clutter’ may not be ‘clutter’ to you. That’s the beauty of this approach; we are not bound by convention but are free to adopt what works for us. That’s at the heart of it and it’s that which truly matters.