Why Becoming Minimalist is Still Appropriately Titled

Becoming Minimalist was started on a Sunday night with little or no forethought.

Earlier that weekend, while spring-cleaning my garage, I had a conversation with my neighbor who mentioned that her daughter was a minimalist. As if the thought of living with less had never crossed my mind, I was instantly intrigued with the idea and began researching the lifestyle online. Immediately, I found a few articles related to the topic that resonated with my heart. And as a family, we decided to jump right in.

The next evening, I decided that it might be helpful to blog about our journey. I assumed it would be beneficial to us as a family to have a written record of our downsizing efforts and I wanted to keep my extended family informed about our progress. As a result, I sat down at the computer in our guest room with the intention of creating a blog just for them and just for us.

I had never blogged before and certainly didn’t know anything about it (or the industry). With little to no research, a simple Google search led me to wordpress.com which offered me the opportunity to host a free blog. It seemed easy enough and I was only required at this point to choose a domain name. I quickly chose “Becoming Minimalist” because it accurately described the journey I wanted to record, it best described the decision that we had just made, and it was the first thing that popped in my head. Luckily, it was available. And at that moment, becomingminimalist.wordpress.com was born.

Since then, the blog has been in a constant state of evolution. What began as a personal journal of our experience into minimalism quickly turned into a place dedicated to inspiring others. It became something different and far bigger than I ever dreamt. Yet through the years and despite all the changes/evolution of the blog, somehow… Becoming Minimalist continues to remain appropriately titled.

Consider the aspects of the name:

“Becoming”

To me, my journey into minimalism continues every day. The word “becoming” provides the opportunity to humbly say that I have not yet fully arrived – that I am on a lifelong journey that still continues. Some days I feel like I’m gaining ground, while other days I feel like I’m losing. To be honest, sometimes I feel like I still have as far to go today as when I first started. After all, removing the junk and clutter is the easy part – it is the “next step” that is far more difficult (the sentimental possessions, the unopened storage boxes in the basement, the extra car in the garage, or the house that suddenly feels too big). Additionally, the word “becoming” allows me to admit that the ever-present culture of consumption surrounds me with a constant state of conflict. And though I may never be removed from it… I will continue to stay resolute in my journey toward minimalism.

To those outside the minimalist movement, the word “becoming” stands as an open invitation. It does not boldly require you to “be” minimalist overnight. Instead, it encourages you to consider the journey and the far-reaching benefits that come from it. At its core, this is a blog dedicated to reaching people far beyond the minimalist movement and inviting them to embrace it. That’s why I write monthly at Organizing Your Way… because I believe this simple message of owning less will allow them to live more. And the more we can reach with this message, the better!

To other minimalists, this is not a blog dedicated solely to you. In fact, I offer very little advice to those of you who are already living the lifestyle… who are hoping to reduce their possessions from 75 things to 55. While I think this blog can still push you forward in matters of the heart and inner-simplicity (generosity, forgiveness, service), when it comes to life hacks for extreme minimalism, this is probably not the best place.

And in that way, “becoming” has always been the perfect word to summarize both the journey and the focus.

“A”

While the decision to call the blog “Becoming Minimalist” rather than “Becoming A Minimalist” was not a debate I had in mind when picking a name, I have always been thankful for the accidental choice of neglecting the article. The article “a” transforms minimalist into a noun rather than an adjective. And I much prefer it to be considered an adjective in my life.

My life is not ultimately defined by minimalism – never has been and never will be. Minimalism empowers me to live a more meaningful life, but it is not the chief goal of my life. In the end, I don’t want to be known as a great minimalist… I want to be known as a devoted husband, a loving father, and a faithful follower of God. I value faith, family, and relationships above everything else. And I’d much rather be known for pursuing love than pursuing minimalism.

That isn’t to say that a minimalist can’t be all those things… I hope they are. It just means that I value the word more as an adjective than as a noun in both my life and the name of this blog.

Minimalist”

This is a website dedicated to inspiring others to live more life by owning less stuff. It invites its readers to embrace a minimalist lifestyle that centers on their values. It calls them to intentionally promote the things they most value in their unique life and remove everything that distracts them from it.

In the very beginning, it encouraged me. The process of keeping a daily journal challenged my thinking and forced me to verbalize my thoughts. It celebrated my past successes and motivated me to continue on the journey. It still does even today.

More recently, it has begun to inspire others. Every day, it inspires thousands of readers from all over the world to reject the empty pursuit of more possessions. It has granted me the opportunity to share the message of simplicity and minimalism to rooms full of people around the country. And it has been the topic of conversation with close friends around the table in my dining room.

But through it all, the message has always remained the same: “There is far more joy to be found in living with less than can ever be found in pursuing more.”

1,000 Days Later

In March, 2008, I started a little blog named Becoming Minimalist. And now… 1,000+ days later, the name of the blog is as appropriate as the first day I typed it into WordPress. Who knew?

 

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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Comments

  1. says

    You picked a great blog name, Joshua and the adjective vs noun choice couldn’t have turned out better. Happy Thousand Days and best wishes for thousands more :)

  2. says

    Well said. That you’d even need to write this post is somewhat sad, but I am glad you did. I am a minimalist and enjoys the constant pushes from folks like you and many other minimalism blogs I follow. Thanks for this thoughtful post!

    • says

      I don’t think I needed to write it. It was just a good opportunity to reintroduce my story and the purpose of this blog. New readers pop up all the time. Thanks for the kind words.

  3. says

    Joshua,
    You continue to inspire with every post, and this one is no exception. I really enjoyed reading through some of the archives on your older wordpress blog, and it’s neat to see how you have transitioned not only in your life, but also in your writing.
    Funny enough, it turns out that you and Kim and my husband and I were married 2 weeks apart to the day. Ours is June 26, 1999.
    Thanks for sharing your journey, because it helps motivate all of those who are on the journey too.
    I feel honored to have met you, and I always look forward to your next post. Keep it up!

    Dr. Laura

  4. Kelly says

    I agree your website title is appropriate. I have been on this journey for just shy of two years now since being evacuated from my house from the threat of wildfires. The threat of ‘loosing it all’ made me question, what is it all anyway? Fortunately, the fire never made it to my house (but within a quarter mile). It’s been a slow, but steady process. I have gone through every draw, closet, cabinet and bookshelf at least once. Now I continue to deal with items realize I don’t want or need , whether placed in a “6 month review box” or just something I realize i don’t intend to use after all. I don’t intend to live out of a backpack, move with only two or three suitcases to a foreign country, or or live in a space totally devoid of anything, however the more I get rid of, the lighter or freer I feel. So it is truly work-in-progress – FOREVER, and I’m fine with that. One nice side-effect is I spend a surprisingly less amount on new things. Never could be have been considered a pack-rat, especially for someone who’s friends would call him Felix, but I still feel a greater sense of freedom. So again, I agree “Becoming..” is appropriate and keep up the good work.

  5. says

    A very inspiring post as I am currently questioning my blogging efforts. You have been at this blogging thing for quite sometime and now have developed a great following. I have limited readership but have only been at it now since mid-November 2010. I have been questioning everything about my blog, the title the content and basically am I offering material people want to read.The fact that you started small and it has taken some time to get where you are now is an inspiration to keep going. It seems that maybe I just need to be patient and have faith that people do benefit from my efforts, every if for now the numbers are small,

  6. Sue says

    “At its core, this is a blog dedicated to reaching people far beyond the minimalist movement and inviting them to embrace it.”

    Hello-I’m one of the people that was far beyond the minimalist movement and I am starting to embrace it. I too am becoming minimalist.

    Several transitions in life without time in between to find myself led clutter-both inside and out. I stumbled upon your website, as well as a few others, and I have been inspired to become less burdened by stuff. So far I’ve experimented with minimalism in my bedroom and bathroom. I feel anything but empty in those spaces. My mind is at peace there, and I’m planning on taking on other areas.

    Thanks for sharing your journey.

  7. says

    I love it Joshua. Becoming is a beautiful word. I always liken my experience to being a journey too. I journeyed towards minimalism for three years. Now for the past few years I’ve been journeying further through the subtle layers of living with less.

    Congratulations on your thousand days Joshua and cheers for a thousand more.

  8. says

    Your posts never fail to inspire me, Joshua. Thanks for continuing to write the same message now that you did 1000 days ago. The fact that faith, family and friends is and always will be the foundation of your lives will only continue to encourage us all to remember and aspire to have ‘more joy by living with less’. I’m looking forward to the next 1000 days!

  9. says

    Well said. I especially like the whole idea that living a minimalist lifestyle is empowering but not necessarily defining your identity. I think minimalism is supported by another movement – “collaborative consumption”. Both are instruments in promoting shared values like health, wellness, and sustainable living. With collaborative consumption, families can split ownership of equipment and they can buy their supplies in bulk and split the cost. Splitting, at least the way my family practices it, is a form of minimalism and collaborative consumption. We use SplitStuff (http://splitstuff.com) which makes splitting easy and convenient. With the various online tools available today, there is no excuse why we can’t continue on this journey to a more mindful and minimalist living.

  10. Sarah says

    After reading your post on Organizing…Your Way (found via Simple Mom), I took the plunge on your blog as I really enjoyed your article. I say plunge because the word “minimalism” “minimalist” does not appeal to me in the slightest, whereas “simple living” does. “Becoming Minimalist” seemed as though it was a journey and was inviting me rather than condescending.

    Interestingly enough, through your posts I have discovered that simple living and minimalism could be used (or lived) synonymously, from my understanding of your posts. That said, I am certain there are differences (though none are apparent to me at this point) but the message is clear: Clear out the clutter so that you can LIVE your life! NOT live for your stuff.

    Thanks for your great articles and ridding my negative connotations to minimalism!

  11. says

    Congratulations! Thanks to you, we have been on our journey for the past 10 months. It has been liberating and though we still have a long way to go…..we celebrate each and every success. It is difficult to do this with two small children (4 and 1 and there might be one more someday) and being a recovering shop-aholic, but we work at it each and every day. Thanks for your wisdom, your advice and for your two books! I have just started the second and I am off to go read right now. My family truly appreciates all you do and we are so blessed to have found your site.

  12. laura m. says

    I agree with Sarah, by calling it simple living. Less stuff means less cleaning and maintenance.
    Seems like so many people including the elderly, live for “stuff” that they have little time for anything else, they seem to be constantly upgrading/remodeling something, or buying something to replace something else. I left that lifestyle when I saw how shallow and ridiculous it was. Even their conversation is geared about their stuff or what they plan on getting next. Another way to live a simple lifestyle is not to raise kids. It is expensive and creates clutter and with over population, perhaps adoption would be best for some if they have to have kids.

    • Evie says

      Wow. Yes, life would be simpler without children, but the same can be said for many of the things that enrich our lives. Almost anything you are passionate about is bound to bring some amount of clutter, expense, and complication into your life. Marriage, hobbies, travel, family relationships, even having a job, pursuing higher education…yet these are the things that make life worth living. Having children is not for everyone, but maybe without meaning to, your post comes across as cold and somewhat cynical.

  13. says

    me again,

    i knew your story, but you did such a lovely job to recap it. i too like the idea of not boxing yourself in with the letter ‘a’. take care

  14. Shell says

    Most of the people I see now that are true minimalists are about, not just less things,but they release themselves from gadgets, cars, computers, televisions. (non-productive, time consuming habits) I, on the other hand, have not made it there. I do not worship things, but you would have to drag me protesting vehemently from my computer on certain days. I think of it as a learning tool.

  15. says

    Congratulations, Joshua! It’s always interesting every time you talk about how you began minimalism. :) Looking forward for more of your posts. More Blessings to you and your family!

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