What’s at the heart of what we call minimalism? 




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.

2 thoughts on “What’s at the heart of what we call minimalism? 

  1. Great content and excellent points here! Check out my blog gypsyminimalist.com or follow me on instagram @gypsyminimalist! Thanks 🙂 ~Sydney Kate | Gypsy Minimalist

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am just beginning to see a greater value in “downsizing” my stuff! And am enjoying the “game” I’ve made of saying good bye to some of my things! Yet, I will probably never see myself as a true minimalist, only because I could never see the stuff as the culprit of the problem. Long before we all had stuff, we still had selfish hearts, and desires to put self first – whether it be with stuff, or control, or prestige, or …..fill in the blank. I am learning, though, that when I willingly lay myself down, and embrace a relationship with the God of creation who made me, and loved me first; and then love others as he has loved me – stuff and self love no longer hold the sway they once did.

    I am grateful that I am learning to let go of some things, and am finding it freeing – whether things, or my own self-will, through embracing the One who loved me first.

    Liked by 1 person

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