Defining Minimalism

I’m not anti-stuff. I like having nice quality things around me. I enjoy my motorcycle, I get a lot of use from my laptop, and I’d love to have a really nice digital camera. However, it can seem that way, since I’ve been eliminating things from my life during the Minimalism Experiment and now that I’m taking the 100 Thing Challenge. Much of the focus of these experiments has been getting rid of the clutter that I’ve filled my life with. However, those actions are uncluttering, not minimalism.

What is Minimalism

The definition of minimalism is actually quite short (minimalist, you might say).

Eliminate the unimportant from your life
so that you can focus on the important.

While plenty more has been said about it, this is the heart of minimalism. Because everyone will define the important things in their life differently, everyone’s implementation of minimalism will look different. The key is giving yourself permission to remove the clutter from your life in order to really focus on what really makes your life worthwhile.

Why I’m interested in Minimalism

I have a lot of interests, as well as pack-rat tendencies. Over my life I’ve managed to build a lot of clutter based on changing interests and just-in-case thoughts. I have discovered that this clutter interferes with my actual life. It takes me longer to find things that I need, packing to move takes far longer with all of this extra stuff around, and the clutter in my house not only means that cleaning takes longer, but it generally stresses me out. Clutter makes it harder for me to achieve my goals. It distracts me from the important things in my life (this is not only physical clutter, but other forms as well.)

Goals that Minimalism will help me reach

Looking at my Life List, there are at least a few goals on there that will be a lot easier to accomplish after I’ve cut out the clutter from my life. The experience of the 100 Thing Challenge will help me prepare for a few of the others.

    Here are some of the goals that will be easier now that I’m removing clutter from my life:

  • be financially self sufficient – I won’t need to bring as much income to live off of, since my expenses will be less
  • motorcycle trip across the US – I might be able to pack most of my 100 things onto my motorcycle… something that would have been impossible just a few weeks ago
  • Bike ride across US – I wouldn’t carry all 100 things with me, so I’d have to reduce even further. But this is a great start!
  • live in RV – Just imagine how easily you could clutter up an RV!
  • Live in SailBoat – Even less room than in an RV.

I know that my minimalist journey far from completed. It will be a lifetime spent tweaking and adjusting. But I’ve started the path, and am excited about the progress that I’ve made so far.

2 thoughts on “Defining Minimalism

  1. Rebecca Burgener says:

    I’ve never considered living on a sailboat, but that would probably be just as awesome as the other goals.

    The thing about being in a RV is it’s just not an option to clutter it up if you ever move it. The same would be true for the other options.

    Financial self-sufficiency . . . That is my most important goal.

    • Matthew says:

      Rebecca,
      I grew up near some pretty good-sized lakes, so I always liked the idea of living on a boat. I figure that sailboats don’t need gas to get around, so that would be a plus. Also, I’ve always wanted to be able to sail, so learning how would complete another goal as well.

      Financial self-sufficiency is my most important goal as well… I’m certainly not there yet!

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