Minimalism is the pursuit of owning less.
Physical possessions do not bring lasting joy into our lives. But even worse, physical possessions often become a distraction from a more joyful, purposeful, and focused life.
It is one thing to admit that possessions don’t equal happiness… it is something else to recognize how they keep us from it.
But this realization, that our possessions have become an unnecessary burden, forms the foundation and basis for minimalism. For those who see (or have experienced) this weight, minimalism is a means to an end. By owning fewer possessions, we free our lives to pursue things that matter.
This, then, is minimalism—and why the lifestyle continues to grow in popularity.
Those who pursue it with passion, at some point, run directly into a new question, “How do I know when I’m done minimizing? How do I know when I have removed enough?”
Often times, when minimalism is first discovered, the pursuit for more becomes replaced with the pursuit of less. And those who are captivated with the benefits of minimalism can quickly become obsessed with its pursuit. So how do you know when you’re done minimizing?
To those who have reached that point, and have begun asking the question above, allow me to offer two thoughts:
1. Celebrate your progress.
Desiring to own less holds more potential than desiring to own more. You have overcome (at least for now) a common lie told in our society—that happiness is found in the pursuit and accumulation of material possessions.
You have seen the foolishness of this claim and have embraced a lifestyle counter to it. Good for you. Celebrate the fact you have minimized many of your possessions and have freed up valuable resources. In many ways, you live an enviable life and have discovered that less is more. Be thankful.
2. Remember why you chose minimalism in the first place.
What was your motivation? What pursuit compelled you to free yourself from the burden of physical possessions? Did you want to spend more time with your family? Save more money? Pursue a hobby? Align your life with spiritual values? Or make a bigger, more specific difference in the world?
The goal of minimalism is not to own as few things as possible… nor is the purpose to be constantly chasing less and less. The goal of minimalism is to be living your life centered on your passions and values.
So recall your initial motivation. And then ask yourself, “Am I doing that? Have I gotten to a point where I’m able to do what I said I wanted to do with my life? Have I freed myself enough to pursue it?” If so, you’re probably ready to move into management mode of your minimalism, as opposed to a decluttering/minimizing mode.
Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it. If you have achieved that in your material possessions, it makes no sense to constantly obsess over chasing less. Not when you should be enjoying the life you have created that is now right in front of you.