The Confusion and Chaos behind Minimalism

Betcha that title caught your attention?

Confusion? Chaos?…..Minimalism? Not words we would normally associate with one another, right?

In today’s fast paced, consumer driven, mass produced environment the word Minimalism seems to mean something different for everyone. It would appear (in contrast to the very basis of the Minimalism movement- according to The Minimalists ) that Minimalism is in fact, open to numerous interpretations and beliefs and therein lies the confusion and irony, at least for me. Maybe you feel the same?

A simple google search of “Minimalism” will leave you reeling. People throw the term Minimalism around carelessly. “I’m a Minimalist” they say, while a quick look at their surroundings and “stuff” they have clearly says otherwise.

Ironically, searching for the truth of minimalism has led me to a LOT of clutter in which to sort through.

Pamela Thistle aka The Blind Thistle

Minimalism is a subject that I’ve always found fascinating. Starting in Post-World War II and gaining traction during the 80’s and 90’s Minimalism was referred to as an Art and Design movement. Think sleek, stark, all white interiors, with nary an object in sight other than a cliche piece of contemporary “art” that consists of maybe two colours and a single line. Fast forward to today and Minimalism encompasses so much more. Rather than an Interior Design style it has now become an entire movement.

For the past three years I have been reading, researching and studying what minimalism is today. Boy, oh boy, there is certainly no shortage of advice, books, opinions, websites, blogs, courses and documentaries out there for you. Ironically, searching for the truth of minimalism has led me to a LOT of “clutter” in which to sort through.

Something which I found upsetting during my search is the majority of websites that want to charge you for information and push a hard sell on how they do Minimalism. “Buy my book!” – Oh! You mean buy your book and add it to my collection of books that you just told me to get rid of? Or how about “Sign up and pay for a weekly newsletter/course on how to downsize your wardrobe”, “Pay just $89 and I will tell you how to declutter your home”. People are using Minimalism as a way to put extra money in their own pocket and then claiming it will make you feel better. Here’s a novel idea- how about they share that information for free? Isn’t that what the (apparent) core belief of minimalism is – giving away stuff and making someone else happy in the process? My two cents worth ( ⬅️ see what I did there?) think twice before spending your hard earned dollars on most of the “experts” out there. If you really want to read that book, check out your local library. If you feel you need to pay someone for advice, wait and search a little more and you may find it for free. You do not need to pay someone to tell you how to declutter your home/space- most of us have at least one friend who can help us with that.

Declutter your space, simplify your life, say no to consumerism, save money, spend your money on experiences rather than stuff, don’t shop, throw it out if it doesn’t bring you joy, you only need 20 pieces in your wardrobe, wear one pair of shoes until they fall apart, paint your decor all white, take mass transit or cycle only, downsize your home, say no to commitments, PURGE everything!

This is but a small example of the things I’ve seen on my minimalism “journey”. Some of it solid advice.

We can’t possibly do it all, can we?

Like most things that pique my interest, I tend to take bits and pieces of my research and put together something that works for me. I’ve never been one to jump in headfirst and blindly follow all the rules. We are not “one size fits all”.

There are extremes and a negative side to Minimalism as well. Some people feel like it is a challenge which needs to be bested. “I have gotten rid of 85% of my belongings so now my life must be better”- ummmm no, true happiness and positive attitude make your life better, not how much or little stuff you have. “I have become obsessed with purging things”. This is not a good thing for those who truly have a mental illness such as OCD, in fact minimalism could be detrimental to these people.

Like anything in life, I believe it is best to do your research, ask a lot of questions and find what works best for you.

Please don’t call yourself a Minimalist and throw the term around because you think it is trendy to do so. Minimalism really is a lifestyle that requires sacrifice. It is an ongoing process. It is a mindset.

Below are a few websites where you can find an abundance of information from reputable sources and most of it is free! Yay!

Also if you have Netflix you can watch the following on Minimalism

  • Minimalism: A documentary
  • Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Until next time! Thanks for reading, if you have any questions please feel free to message me.

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