Chances are, if you’ve even thought of decluttering in the last few months of years, you’ve heard of minimalism.
There seem to be some differences between what people would consider to be a minimalist. However, this is the best definition I could find.
When you call a person a minimalist, you’re describing their interest in keeping things very simple. A minimalist prefers the minimal amount or degree of something.
And while you could argue various other definitions, the central idea of minimalism includes some degree of freedom based on fewer material possessions.
What’s Wrong With That?
So far, so good. We already live a fairly uncluttered lifestyle. We live in a small house, I tend to be fairly frugal and we hate clutter, regularly purging the home of stuff we are not using. I am not sentimental about baby clothes, broken items, things we no longer use.
But I am not a minimalist.
While there is much I agree with, I part ways with minimalism when the focus shifts from creating and adding meaning to our lives to simply owning less.
The change in the focus is what bothers me. There is a starkness in the minimalist lifestyle I just cannot wrap my self around. Sure, starkness can be beautiful in a winter landscape kind of way, but that’s hardly how I want my life to be.
Some recent changes in our lives have caused me to reconsider my habits. I tend to be frugal, which is a good thing, but to be perfectly honest, I also tend to be cheap.
I tend to be an underbuyer.
As someone who forgoes or delays buying what is necessary until the very last moment and then does it only grudgingly, I tend to lose enjoyment with my loved ones because of my focus on spending less.
Sometimes, life just costs money. This is especially true when raising children. I have had to admit this.
Especially when you have been blessed with having enough, it seems almost ridiculous to attach myself to a minimalist ideal. While being a hoarder is clearly an indication of having crossed a line, there is much room in the middle.
So this is it. This is where minimalism and I must part ways.
So as we enter a time when there will clearly be some excess, I want to not think of the budget and how much everything costs. I mean, let’s face it. I know I will know. I manage the family’s finances and I always know what’s where and how much.
What I mean is I don’t want that to be the focus.
Instead, I will think about showering my children with good gifts, with time and experiences we love. Even when they cost more than I think they should.