In a recent post about Minimalism vs Frugality, Ms. Rustic Walks mentioned that just under a year ago, we discovered who are likely the first two people anyone researching this stuff would come across: The Minimalists. Their message sat well with us: less is more. We found that we had a good amount of things, but they were not improving our life anymore.
For years, I have had an aversion to clutter. Keeping my life in order physically meant less work for my future self when looking for something, or needing to run out the door. Meanwhile, Ms. RW moved around a lot and had to keep her possessions to a minimum. We both already had a predisposition to curating our possessions, but we needed extra motivation to get rid of things we no longer needed.
Minimalism 101: Playing the 30-Day Minimalism Game
Immediately, we felt compelled to try this minimalism thing for real. I was eager to start, so I began my own run of the minimalism game before Ms. RW even had a chance to finish reading the page. I had a lot more junk laying around in drawers, so my time playing it was a little easier. After about a week, we reset and both took the challenge on together. We made it just about all the way through the month, getting rid of one more thing each day. It took only a few days before we started struggling to find things to toss. That’s the whole point: decluttering is best done gradually and intentionally. Luckily there was a lot we could spare. We made more trips to various donation stops that month than ever before.
During that same time, we began to binge on the Minimalists’ podcast, and more recently, we watched their film. The film itself was nice because it showed us other people who have been following this lifestyle. It offered a lot of different living situations where people improved their lives via minimalism. Some of the people featured, like Courtney Carver, Joshua Becker, and Leo Babauta, have become additional sources of inspiration for living with less.
Critics of The Minimalists
Of course, no big hitting public figure of a group can be unanimously adored. There are pockets of the minimalism world, and even among bloggers, who dislike or otherwise resent “The Minimalists”. Maybe it’s because they refer to themselves as The Minimalists, maybe it’s because they started off with cozy salaries (which they both later dropped), or maybe it’s just because they’re “mainstream”, but there are some people out there who just refuse to like these guys.
Personally, I agree with a bit of the criticism, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan. Some people say that their message is one of privilege. From their books, you’ll see that they didn’t exactly have a privileged childhood. You could also argue that the “possess-as-little-as-possible” approach to minimalism is only achievable if you have the money to do it, citing that their 20-20 rule comes from a place of having money. This may be true, but also consider that embracing minimalism can help free up more money in your day-to-day living. Remember that they also have good suggestions on investing the money “saved” by not buying the new shiny every day at the market. They encourage spending money wisely so that you can save more of it.
Inspiring a Life with Less
The Minimalists serve a very important purpose: being an accessible introduction to the world of minimalism. They are evangelists for people who are looking for a new way of thinking. They bridge the gap between the hardcore monk-like minimalists and the mainstream in order to spread the word that, well hey, minimalism is a pretty nice way to approach living. If anything, the hardcore minimalists who resent them should love the fact that every new person embracing minimalism further validates it as a solid lifestyle choice. There’s a bit of a revolution going on against the big business society we have right now, and it will only continue to grow as people begin to realize what is important. As The Minimalists say, what is most important is health, relationships, passion, growth and contribution.
Give them a read if you haven’t. If not a read, check out the film or podcast. We hope they can improve your life as they have ours.
~ Mr. RW