minimalism – the heart’s desire of most

over the past 45 days since we intentionally decided to become minimalist, i have had scores of conversations with people about our decision.  and it usually happens the same way…

my wife and i are sitting at a table with a group of people when one of our friends will say, “joshua, you should tell so-and-so about your minimalism decision.”  i am usually reluctant, but often oblige when so-and-so reiterates the question.  i try to begin as close to the beginning as possible (read it here) and take them through our journey while the parties ask questions along the way.  somewhere about half-way through, i inevitably find agreement on the part of the listeners. 

typically, they will respond with statements like, “i have so much stuff that i need to get rid of too,” or “you should see my basement, it’s a disaster,” or my favorite, “i can’t wait to get home and start throwing things away.”  a smaller percentage will email or post a comment the following day journaling the boxes of junk or bags of clothes that they have removed from their lives.

the attractiveness of minimalism (to date, only two men have outright determined that they would never get rid of their stuff) seems so universal that i can’t help think that this is the way life is meant to be lived and when a soul hears the invitation, it responds favorably.  we were never meant to live life accumulating stuff.  we were meant to live simply enjoying the experiences of life, the people of life, and the God of life – not the things of life.  i just wish it hadn’t taken me 33 years to figure that out.

related posts: possessions do not equal joy, the journey begins, a spiritual journey

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    I love this quote you have in your post….”we were meant to live simply enjoying the experiences of life, the people of life, and the God of life – not the things of life.” Absolutely beautiful!

  2. Frank says

    I’ve been slowly working towards a minimalist lifestyle, editing my bedroom (I live in an apartment, so I can’t exactly go whole hog) and my other possessions. At some point I hope to take on the 100 thing challenge and possibly move into a micro-house, but we’ll see how things go. At this point I think my main issue is my library.

  3. Kelly says

    New reader, love love love …

    “we were never meant to live life accumulating stuff. we were meant to live simply enjoying the experiences of life, the people of life, and the God of life – not the things of life”

    Can’t wait to read more.

  4. Judy says

    Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog yesterday becuase I have been trying to organise my stuff.. I have a 9 month old baby and work full time and hate that so much of my time goes in organising around the house only to have everything back to where it was 2 weeks later( and I honestly dont even have that much stuff but its still more than I need). So I figured if I dont have so much stuff I wont be spending all my time organising it. So yesterday I went home and spent 10 minutes and cleaned out 2 of my kitchen drawers while holding my baby in one hand. and later on in the night around 10 pm I started organising my guest bedroom closet which has become a storage area. I worked for an hour after my baby was tucked into bed and got rid of 2 huge boxes of stuff. Thank you. I also like how you have archived the blog. It makes it easy to read your whole process from the beginning.

  5. di says

    I prefer one or two of everything, such as one week of clothes, two pairs of shoes, two sets of linens, two sets of towels, one set of dishes, one set of pans, one set of utensils. Most things can be quickly cleaned and reused.

  6. rshwery says

    I, too, find the same reponses as you. Most do reply that they also have too much junk or too many things around or their storage spaces are too full. Only those who seem to feel they are being “told” to get rid of *everything* revolt at the thought and adamantly refuse the thought stating they NEED all their stuff. I could easily name a half dozen things I know they have that they don’t NEED but I let them stew about that conversation instead. And they do stew about it since they bring it up in various ways later.

    In my own life I started simplifying on New Years Day, Jan 1, 2012. I remember browsing the Internet just looking up things of interest. One of those things has always been renewable resources and practices, at least in the back of my mind when it wasn’t in the front. I found Jay Shafer’s web site and the SHS web site that day and couldn’t stop looking for more on the web about tiny houses, renewable practices, simplicity, minimalism, etc. I have always been interested in efficient things and practices. To me renewable practices are efficiency. And most efficient things are some of the smallest gadgets you will find if they really do something useful. It’s inefficiency that makes things bigger, take more resources, and are less useful and less durable. I started my journey by going through the massive collection of papers that I’ve kept for reasons that I cannot remember (or that didn’t make sense in any circumstance). School papers from high school and college. Financial records that are worthless now from (gasp!!!) 1962(!!) for bank accounts that have not existed for 43 years! Also old military uniforms that have not been “official” for over 10 years and that I couldn’t fit into anyway. Overall the first 8 months (took me that long to shred most of the papers) I got rid of over 30 large boxes and a few duffel bags of stuff. I’ve reduced the number of dresser drawers and storage boxes I take up with folded clothes and now fit ALL my folded clothes in fewer drawers than I started with. Due to my wife being reluctant for me to get rid of all my excess hanging clothes I’ve simply moved those to another place in the closet that I don’t even look at and now have less than half the hanging clothes and she doesn’t even miss what I set aside. Once in a while she asks where such and such is and I show her, but it never moves from it’s place off in the corner of the closet. I did get rid of 3 large garbage bags of coats and sweatshirts that I haven’t used in many years. Those went to Goodwill. I still have a very long way to go and continue to wittle away at it. My wife is one who is reluctant to part with her things so I just let her watch my results and she actually has begun to show a bit of desire to pare down some things that have piled up of hers. Every web site about minimising, simple living, smaller living, etc that I read inspires me to continue on this journey. So keep up the blog and keep up the inspiration. Thank you.

  7. says

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