“leveling” vs “minimalizing”

this evening i was having a great conversation with some friends about my new desire to live a minimalist life.  i started telling the story of our basement project that we started last night and mentioned that we had moved some things downstairs to get them out of the way.  one of the ladies wisely responded, “sounds more like leveling than minimalizing.”

i defended myself listing the things that we threw away, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that she was right.  looking back, for the most part, we just “leveled” yesterday rather than “minimalized.”  sure, the room looks a lot better, but it doesn’t address the underlying issue – i own too much stuff.

thanks liz for challenging me to become minimalist and not just another leveler.  we obviously have a long way left to go!

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. Liz says

    my introduction to minimalizing today was only preceded by a short conversation i had with my husband recently about an article he was reading on this very subject… the 100 things challenge. .. the use less stuff challenge. the keep less stuff challenge. when my husband read part of the article to me the only challenging i did was that in defense of all the things i have. it took me less than 5 minutes to produce 100 things that covered a small portion of the very room we were talking in. in fact, almost 25% of my 100 item limit was on my person in some form of clothing, jewelry, eyewear, etc, blah blah blah. it’s overwhelming to me to think of how many multiples of of 100 i have without even leaving my bedroom. this concept about clutter breeding clutter has suddenly become very real to me. when i look around my house, everything on my counter has a matching pair…not one pen, but two hanging around, not put away. not one pair of glasses but 7 just taking up space in one big pile. recipes clipped whose only purpose seems to be an addition to a pile of more recipes that will never get tested. i need to change that. i’m running out of open space. i too am a leveler .. or a shifter. I move things from room to room on one level vs up and down on different floors. leveling and shifting areas then just turn into staging areas that then get forgotten. time i talk this minimalist gig seriously. i agree with you i too own way too much stuff.

  2. Christy says

    That’s an important distinction, one I have worked hard to be deliberate with. Several years ago I thought I didn’t have a lot of stuff, but a huge chunk of our stuff was in the basement – out of sight out of mind.

    So my major project was the basement last spring, and it was empowering. Minimalism is about how much stuff I have, not how much I can see. ;)

  3. Christy says

    Also, I meant to ask if you’d consider talking about the effect of Christmas on being minimalistic. How has your family’s decor and holiday plans changed with this process?

  4. Karen says

    I have been minimalizing in the single room I rent (I live with a hoarder, so the motivation to make my own room peaceful is strong), and I know the danger of merely hiding or storing un-needed stuff. For me, minimalism is mental liberation, so it has to be more than cosmetic. Even concealed clutter preys on my mind; I may have tucked it away and made the room look nice, but I know the stuff is there. So I organize my filing cabinet and shred what I don’t need, get rid of old school papers hidden in my closet, even sort and delete hundreds of emails from my computer. None of that is visible, but it’s a relief all the same.

    I know I’m commenting on a very old post… I just found your blog and I’m reading through from the beginning. :)

  5. Sherry says

    I know that this may never be read, but I am just now reading throught the posts from the beginning. I have been thinking about and half-heartedly been doing the minimalist dance for a while now. One conclusion that I have come to is that I am not a purist in this category. I cannot live with 100 things, I don’t want to. But I do want to purge and use everything that I have. I want less stuff definately. (that is why I am here, lol), but to get to the point…….leveling is a good middle ground. It gives me room to breath and plan the next step. It does bother me that there is stuff in the basement, but I don’t have to be distracted by it and can come home from work and not be stressed.

    The sad thing that has happened is that we just moved (the perfect time to clear it out) and I work, so hubby did most of the packing and moving of boxes. My plans were dashed as I had dreamed of getting rid of at least of half of my stuff. But when it gets warmer I will get to it.

    Love this website and the Christian (but not in your face) way that is presented. I have a bit to go before I get caught up reading, but appreciate what I have read so far.

    God bless you and your efforts and this new outreach!


  6. Keyholekate says

    Older posts – still relevant. Thoroughly enjoying working my way through these. The comments are helpful and insightful. X

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