This post from Minimalist Mom really resonated with me today. It perfectly describes my kind of minimalism, and I agree with Rachel that it’s much more likely to be embraced by a lot of people than extreme minimalism. I have no desire to live out of a backpack or move somewhere new every few months. My family lived in several states when I was a child, and I traveled quite a bit in my 20s. When I finished college, I joined the Peace Corps and headed to Africa for two years with only what I could fit in two suitcases. I know that I can live perfectly well in a tiny house with no running water or electricity, and a ceiling made of old burlap sacks. But I sure do appreciate the fact that the house I live in now has a washing machine and electricity.
At this stage in my life, I’m very happy to live in one place for a long time, working on our mini-farm and raising our children. And I like having things like a couch, bed, and dining room table. The extreme minimalist movement has inspired me to clear out clutter and stop shopping, but I have no desire to get rid of all of our possessions and become a family of wanderers.
Most of the extreme minimalist bloggers are very attracted to the idea of a location-independent lifestyle, and thus tend to earn a living from something online – often blogging and/or writing e-books. Although my husband and I want to stay in our current location for a very long time, we have been self-employed for eight years, and began transitioning our business to be online-only around the end of 2003. These days, everything we do to earn a living is online and over the phone, which means we work only from home (or wherever we happen to be, if we’re not at home) and can be very flexible with our time. This is far better than the days when we were slaves to our alarm clock and commuting back and forth to jobs we didn’t really enjoy. And since we work from home using the internet, we do technically have a location-independent life… that’s why we were able to sell our house in the city and move to a small town last year. While I might not be into the idea of constant travel right now, I do very much love the way we earn a living, and how flexible our lives are. Stay tuned next week for an amazing e-book package aimed at people who want to pursue location-independent self-employment… it makes for a good lifestyle, even if you are perfectly happy staying in one location.
What I liked about the post from Minimalist Mom was the idea of appealing to the masses. I don’t think that most of us really want to live out of a backpack and wander from one place to another long-term. But I think that the idea of a peaceful, less cluttered life without debt is appealing to a whole lot more people. People want less stress, they want homes that are easier to clean, they want more flexibility with their time, they want more financial stability. Applying some of the ideas of minimalism (like getting rid of excess stuff, not over-scheduling ourselves, and spending our time and money doing things other than shopping) can help nearly all of us achieve a better lifestyle in some way – and it doesn’t mean that we have to ditch our beds and living room furniture in the process. Simply being mindful of our purchases, getting rid of physical and mental clutter, and focusing on what we really want out of life will make a huge difference in our lives.