8) I won’t know how to spend my time without housework.
This excuse is a head scratcher to me. I’m alright with minimal house work since there are always a few things to do in house with five people, but I have never thought to myself, “Man! I wish I were cleaning right now instead of….” Here, again, I believe culture is stealing from us. It’s stealing the option to explore, to enjoy, to dabble, even to sit and do nothing. We’ve bought the lie of ‘productivity is king’. If we aren’t producing, we are wasting. We’re so busy, we’ve even forgotten how to dream. We’ve stopped doing things for pleasure and even worse, we’ve stopped simply being still while the world goes on without us. If we aren’t slowing enough to let our thoughts wander and our bodies rest, we begin to lose essential parts of ourselves. We weren’t meant to run at constantly high speeds any more than we were meant to lie dormant. Minimalism is a way to create the space to rediscover who we are and what we love. When we begin minimizing our finances as well, we have both the time and the means to try the things we allow ourselves to dream. It’s a wonderful combination!
9) I don’t want to move into a tiny house/ sell my cars/ shop only at Goodwill/ live with only 100 things…
Many people avoid minimalism because they have a set of preconceived criteria they believe must be met. When we really stop to examine the scope and variety of minimalists who are sharing their lifestyles with the world, we can see that there isn’t a set of rules or guidelines anywhere! Some of us live in tiny houses – I would like to one day- but I currently live in a house that’s roughly 2,000 sq ft,downsized from our last house. Financially speaking it’s far and away better than smaller options we visited when we moved, as was the larger house before it. Smaller isn’t always better, sometimes it’s also not financially wiser. Some minimalists do sell their cars. We have not since we live in a very rural area of Georgia with little to no public transportation and many miles between places we frequent. We do own our cars so we live without car payments. Being a minimalist isn’t the same as being an ascetic. We don’t dispose of things simply for the sake of going without. Our purpose is to remove the things that we do not love or enjoy in order to make room for the things that we do. This is different for each and every minimalist whether we look at finances, living space, belongings or hobbies. As I continue to strip away I am learning not to hold so tightly to the things I love. I am a shameless, wanton bibliophile who packed twenty or more boxes of books when we moved to Georgia four years ago. My love for books has not changed, but my need to possess every book I love or may one day love has diminished. When we moved most recently in June, I packed only four boxes of books, and those small ones. I am much happier allowing the library maintenance of my beloved books, managing them electronically than I am hauling them around to home after home. Minimalism is about creating space for change; I have changed, and continue to change greatly. I still, however, have far too much yarn; I’m a work in progress.
10) I need my stuff
This is the mother of all excuses. covering every other excuse and then some. I need my stuff. It’s difficult to argue against. There are things that each of us need. The problem is allowing neighbors, media, culture, geography, careers, and even our kids tell us what we need. Instead of questioning whether we really need it, or whether it’s something someone else thinks we should have, we simply acquire. The huge house, the new car, the game system, the sea-doo, the bedroom suite, we buy them now planning to pay for them later when we never took the time to consider why we wanted them in the first place. Now we’re stuck with a mortgage we can’t manage, cars we’re so upside down on we’ll never own them, recreation equipment that we’re too busy to enjoy. All because we of the things we need. I know I said that minimalism isn’t a practice in asceticism, but sometimes we have to strip life all the way down to the very barest essentials to determine want from true need. Our basic needs are food, shelter and security. Most of us can’t even financially handle that. We’re one paycheck from disaster and the bills never stop coming in. We’re not secure. We don’t need our stuff; we’re owned by it. I know. I have been here. It’s time to strip away the cultural blinders and determine who we are and what need actually is. Stuff is only stuff. It can’t protect us or save us or make us better or more likable. It may make us more popular, but for how long? And at what cost? Let’s stop one upping each other with our square feet, our hemi’s and our collection of kid’s sports trophies and really listen to what our soul is saying, “I’m still here. But you are selling me for things that break, rot and decay. Let them go and find me again.”
Isn’t it time we did?