I’ve come across a few other blogs, comments, or conversations about what people believe minimalism is about and who the people are that practice it.
There’s the notion that minimalism is classist, elitist, or for people that “can afford to live with nothing.”
So, I want to share who I am and why and how I practice minimalism.
Who I Am
I’m a stay at home mom with two children. My husband provides our one income. I homeschool our children using homemade curricula. We have a three bedroom, two bathroom home that we purchased with 100% financing from USDA.
We have two vehicles. One being an almost fifteen year old car my husband purchased used in college. The other an SUV that was hand-me-downed to us and paid off quickly.
We do not utilize any cable providers or entertainment streaming services. We buy refurbished or used cell phones and choose inexpensive prepaid plans. We do not own any laptops, tablets, smartwatches, DVD players, MP3 players, etc. We have a television connected to a computer in our family room.
We have a strict $100 weekly budget that covers all food (including any take out or dining), hygiene items, and household items. We do not have any credit cards. Our debt consists of school loans, our home mortgage, and a loan we took on for lawn care equipment. (Why?? My husband, bless his beautiful heart, decided to organize a small group for the purpose of providing free lawncare services for the elderly, sick, disabled, or otherwise unabled in our community. We have made every payment on time and do not regret this expense for a moment.)
We keep our A/C and heat off unless necessary and only rarely utilize our dishwasher or dryer. We do not own a microwave.
I never buy clothes. We receive clothing as gifts during the holidays and also exchange hand-me-downs between friends. I wear $1 flip flops in the summer and seven year old boots in the winter.
Toilet paper is our only paper product, and its value is being heavily questioned as well. I cut my own hair, frequently bathe without soaps, sew, repurpose, upcycle, conserve, etc.
We are not elitist or classist.
Do we live this way due to financial constrictions or because it’s what we’ve chosen?
Would you assume we are wealthy and can afford to not buy things?
Would you assume we are poor and can’t afford to buy things?
You have no idea and that’s precisely my point.
Why I Choose Minimalism
I choose minimalism because owning gadgets or having overflowing kitchen cabinets is not what makes me happy. My preferences are mine alone and do not speak to those of anyone else.
And minimalism is not about money. Minimalism is not about money. Should I say it again?
I choose to clear out drinking glasses I don’t need because I don’t need them. Not because I can afford to buy new ones or would rather just buy a package of plastic cups every other week. I choose to narrow down our wardrobes because three shirts are enough. Not because I plan to buy a slew of new things three months from now.
The excess we have(had) in our home was not the result of shopping sprees or frivolous spending. The build up of things in our home was due to indecisiveness, irrational fear of “needing” unneeded things, poor health choices, and wasteful habits.
How I Minimize
I minimize by keeping what’s truly necessary, what makes me happy, and what makes my life productive. I minimize by ridding my home of the things that I don’t need.
How and why I minimize, and how other people minimize, is about adjusting what we own (however little or much it may be) to how we feel. A rich person keeping things they don’t need is the same as a poor person keeping things they don’t need.