I thought a great deal this weekend about what to share next. Many times when I talk about minimalism I hear the response, “I could never do that because….” when I get specific. I don’t want to write things bog readers down with impractical concepts. At the same time, I can’t write about something without personalizing it to myself and my family. I can only speak about my own experiences.
After all this thinking I decided it would be a good idea to establish some rules about minimalism, so here they are. Are you ready?
The first rule of minimalism:
Stop looking for the rules.
That’s it. That’s the only rule I know.
Over the next few days I am going to talk about our journey, mine and my family. It is the only experience I have to share, and I share it, not because I believe that you have to do everything just like me, but to possibly encourage you to begin rethinking everything culture ever told you about what you need or how to measure success. This is what I love best about the whole concept of minimalism. It’s all about discovery and the individual ways we live our best lives. When I talk about giving up cable TV or driving twenty year old cars, it’s completely acceptable if those things aren’t practical in your life. If you work outside the home then, yes, you are going to need a very different, and probably slightly more extensive wardrobe than I do. If you have a hobby or a craft, there is no reason to get rid of those things to call yourself a minimalist. Please don’t use my experiences as the template that will ensure your happiness or success.
What I am going to ask is this: if your immediate response is “I could never do that!” take a few moments, or a few days, to examine whether that response is because it would actually complicate your life or because change can be difficult, and we often resist it.
One more thing I want to share, which isn’t a rule, it’s just a good thought to keep in mind: it’s perfectly alright to try something and decide it won’t work for you. This isn’t failure; it’s learning. Maybe you pare your closet down to thirty-three items and after two weeks you just hate it. By all means add some clothes back! I bet you won’t go all the way back to where you started, though. That is progress. It’s learning what works for you and what doesn’t. We only become more joyful and engaged as we go through the process.
So now that we have established our ground rule, I think we’re ready to get started. Come on back tomorrow for some specific ways we’ve minimalized at my house. There may even be pictures of my closets.