October 20, 2013 § Leave a comment
I like this photo. It’s nothing special – just a bicycle in front of a shop, but I liked that the scene was so simple and clean. And I am crazy about that purple door!
Anyway, simple and clean has been a bit of a mantra for a while now in our household. I’ve referenced minimalism a couple of times on this blog and it’s something that I believe in. I do also recognize that this is not the norm and that most people do not adhere to this philosophy. It seems so many people around me are conditioned to have the biggest and most of anything they can – be it cars, square footage, or clothes.
Often, on a weekend morning, while CJ is still asleep, I’ll pop onto the computer and do a little blog reading and it’s often about minimalism. This morning, I did just that and I stumbled across this page:
The minimalist blog that this post references is probably one of the most well-known, if not “the” most well-known, minimalist blog around. I take a look at it from time to time and if I am honest….with me being a person that needs visual stimulation…..it was artistically bland for me and the information somewhat extreme. I found it interesting that Penelope took a somewhat critical swipe at the minimalist blog and some of the comments that ensued had valid points as well. One of the observations I found most interesting (and that I agree with) is that it seems many of the people who write about minimalism came from extremely well-paying jobs and were able to put away enough money to travel or “embrace” this new lifestyle without much detriment.
While I may make a reference to a minimalist blog that I enjoy from time to time, I think it’s important to realize that I believe minimalism is completely relative and unique to each person and family. For me and my daughter, it’s simply the desire to leave a clean life, to have a somewhat simpler life, and to not have to hunt very hard or look very far to find anything that is in our home. The fact that I can almost vacuum my entire space from one electrical outlet is an amazing bonus!
Do I work full-time? Yes. And I am the only source of money for me and my daughter.
Do we live comfortably in 600 square feet? Yes. Do I hate to clean? Yes – and maintaining a small space is MUCH easier than a big one (I’ve lived in spaces with more than twice this size and I hated it).
Do we go through and purge things often? Yes. Is it difficult sometimes? Yes.
Am I getting rid of my mother’s china or pure silver “silverware” even though I don’t use it? Hell no.
Did I purchase a “Neat Desk” so I could start scanning in any paperwork that I needed to keep where an original copy was not necessary? Yes. (And I love it – although this project is time-consuming and perpetual!)
Do I occasionally buy things that we want? Yes. Are those items sometimes expensive? Yes – but I would rather spend more money on something we truly want and will enjoy than something I skimped on…and later regretted. This has been particularly true in the case of electronics. I do not want to have to replace them every couple of years.
Do we go out to dinner? Yes, sometimes….although I’ve taken more interest in cooking lately.
Do I have a car? Yes. Do we like to go places and do things? Yes. And sometimes doing those things cost money.
You get the idea. And some of the things listed above go against what someone would perceive a “minimalist” lifestyle – yet, I do consider us minimalists in the fact that we “live small”. We have a small space, we have a small amount of things (compared to most other people), and we like to live an uncomplicated, not overly structured or scheduled life.
Maybe CJ will feel differently when she is older, but I think teaching her to think about what she wants….instead of impulsively buying it regardless…..is an extremely valuable trait I can instill in her and hopefully will help prevent her from accumulating debt as an adult. I hope that I am setting her on a good path for her life, even if it’s different from those around her. I hope that she sees that it’s okay to be different. It’s okay to want things – but to purchase selectively. She sees that space is good – we don’t have to purchase something to fill it. And that real happiness will never be found on a hanger, in a box, or on a shelf. She has to find that within herself.
And really, I can’t think of a better gift to give her.