On average, we see 5,000 advertisements every day calling us to buy more and more. And I want to be just one voice inviting us to buy less.
From the very beginning, Becoming Minimalist has had one goal: inspire others to live more by owning less. When I write, I write for those who have never been introduced to the minimalism lifestyle—those are the people I want to reach.
I write books and blog posts for those who are beginning their journey or have not begun…
…and also for those who are looking for encouragement and inspiration to follow through with their desire to own less.
I have discovered, after all these years, that owning less is countercultural, encouragement is essential, community is important, and there are significant truths about minimalism we need to be frequently reminded of. Even in my own life, I need to remind myself often of the core truths of minimalism.
Here are 5 Truths About Minimalism I Remind Myself Often:
1. Excess possessions are a burden and a distraction. Every thing we own requires time, money, energy, and focus to maintain. And every increased possessions adds increased anxiety on to our lives. This exchange would make sense if possessions made us happy. Unfortunately, they do not. Instead, they only distract us from the things that do.
Read more: 21 Life-Giving Benefits of Owning Less
2. Our society is built on excessive consumption. Our economy thrives on artificially manufactured needs and wants. As a result, we are constantly bombarded with messages claiming we are not as happy as we could be and the quickest remedy is to “buy their product.” Discontent is sown into our soul at every turn—and on every billboard. But their messaging is carefully crafted for their own selfish gain. And there is a wonderful joy available to those who reject it.
Read more: 10 Reasons to Escape Excessive Consumerism
3. My life is too valuable to waste chasing material possessions. We each get one life to live and we each get to determine what our life is going to be focused on. Some will use it to pursue money, fame, or power. Others will use it to passionately pursue bigger houses, nicer cars, and fuller closets. But not me. My one life is too valuable to waste chasing things that will never last. I will pursue love and hope, impact and significance. And I will seek to live a life that benefits others above all other things.
Read more: Life is Too Valuable to Waste Chasing Possessions
4. There is no right way to do minimalism. Minimalism is always going to look different from one person to another. And well it should—each of us have different passions and values and gifts that we can offer to the world. For example, a minimalist writer is always going to own different things than a minimalist farmer or a minimalist carpenter. And someone who desires to use their newfound freedom to travel the world is going to own something different than a minimalist who desires to use their freedom to host beautiful dinner parties. Find freedom in this reminder. And refrain from comparing your version of minimalism to anyone else’s.
Read more: Find a Rational Minimalism that Works For You
5. Minimalism is the pathway, not the goal. Owning the fewest number of things possible is not the greatest goal for your life or mine. Minimalism is not our greatest obsession. Minimalism is simply a means to an end. It removes physical distractions so our greatest priorities can be elevated. It allows our lives to be defined by things that matter. If minimalism has allowed you the opportunity to pursue those things in life you most desire, you have succeeded.
Read more: Live with Less. Pursue Your Passions. Finally.
Minimalism, as a way of life, holds benefit for all. Regardless of gender, religion, race, or socio-economic class, there are life-giving benefits to intentionally owning fewer possessions and removing the pursuit of empty consumerism. This is a message that must be proclaimed and shared often and widely. And for that reason, I will continue to do what I do: inspiring others to live more by owning less.
I will lend my voice to the movement and I hope you will too.
Ashley Baemel says
I see your posts daily on facebook. I am now a top fan. You are the only thing helping me keep footing in my chaotic house family of 5 with 3 animals too. I also homeschool and love how you reminded us that it looks different for everyone.
Because of your posts… I have gained motivation to declutter our home. We live in a tiny 2 bedroom (reminder family of 5) so minimalizing is a must. First my journey has started by decluttering what we already have. During spring break, the kids and i packed 11 boxes of items from all around the house (FINALLY GOT TO THE TOY ROOM) and donated 11 boxes full to someone who just lost everything in a house fire. It was the best feeling ever. So thank you for sharing daily.
Every day i look forward to your gentle reminders and new outlooks. Thank you from the buttom of my heart.
My next goal… Empty the attic.?
I am working everyday, a little at a time, to give, sell, donate things I don’t need and others would be able to use and enjoy.
Brigham Berthold says
My wife and I are newcomers to minimalism as a practice. As I am also a writer, your reminders inspired me, and I took great note of the mission statement you wife into this article.
Specific purpose is something my minimalist efforts lack. In general, I just want to be happier, but why? What will my perceived increase in happiness bring? My wife brought me to your article. Your words brought me to this question.
Please keep going. As the comments following this article illustrate, you are succeeding in your efforts.
It was your first book that introduced me to this concept of minimalism, I used to think it was only a decorating style. Now I understand and live a lifestyle of enjoying having less and being very mindful of what deserves my time and attention.
Thank you for everything that you do
Thank you for this great summary! I’m working toward minimalism, but as a homeschool family with three kids age 7 and younger I felt like I’d never achieve what others have, becase I need certain things to homeschool. Your reminder that it looks different for each household is just what I needed. I’ll start letting go of the guilt and accept the gifts having less can bring.
Keep posting these reminders! All true and necessary! Thank you
Thank you for this and all your blog posts. Through them you provide gentle reminders and support to so many of us on this journey, as you say, that is counter to the culture around us. The more I embrace minimalism, the richer my life gets.
You are a blessing.
Mary Ann says
I am just beginning my minimalism journey. My husband and I have been married 34 years and one day thought to myself, “I can’t breathe with all this stuff around us.” I am working everyday, a little at a time, to give, sell, donate things I don’t need and others would be able to use and enjoy. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support.
Ashleigh Memarzadeh says
YESSSSSS. My goodness, everything I feel you have managed to put into words. Minimalism is a continuous journey, not something you wake up to one day and say ‘Oh it’s finally done, I can check that off of the list’. And minimalism certainly isn’t for everyone, but I would definitely suggest that everyone should try it at least once. I have felt so much lighter since I began my minimalist journey. I’m not tied to things like I was before. I value what I have now more than ever, and better yet, I don’t want much. I read a quote somewhere that said ‘I make my life rich by making my wants few’. I don’t remember who said it but it has always stuck with me. Thanks so much for this post of encouragement Josh. It’s actually your story about how you found minimalism that propelled me into my own journey, and for that I am ever grateful. Hugs and love.
Dear Joshua, Thank you for this inspiring post. It is always difficult to part with stuff that took me time and money to accumulate even though those stuff no longer mattered. Reading your article is a good reminder to me many others have been able to declutter and de-own, experienced the pain of loss(of tossing those stuff) and still emerged fulfilled.
Great reminders, it is so important to remember your why. Love this: “Minimalism is not about owning the fewest number of things, … but a means to an end.” When our focus is on the number of things we own, that becomes our priority. It is easy to fall into that trap if we are not intentional and remembering our why.