I have a “cluttered” fridge that is completely covered with photos and calendars.

I collect household items with penguins on them.

I will gladly accept your free t-shirt.

…And I’m a minimalist.

Believe it or not, these statements are not contradictory.

I know several people who dislike the idea of minimalism and view it as deprivation.  I suspect that anyone who dislikes minimalism doesn’t truly understand what it means to be a minimalist.

Minimalism does not mean that you only own five outfits, that you never collect anything, or that you live in a sparse, cold home.  It doesn’t always mean that you refuse to accept gifts or that you hate it when people give you free stuff.

Minimalism is not about depriving yourself.  Minimalism is about owning only things that you consider to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

It’s about getting rid of the things that don’t matter so you can focus on the things that do.

I love my fridge.  The photos are beautiful and the calendars serve a purpose – they help to keep me organized.  My penguin mugs and Christmas ornaments are beautiful to me.  My free t-shirts are useful – I wear them to the gym.

Minimalism is a broad term – there are minimalists who refuse free stuff, who keep their homes sparsely decorated, and who would consider my penguin collection to be silly.  There are also minimalists whom you may not even realize are minimalists.

Those who misunderstand minimalism and brush it off as something that just isn’t for them are missing out on the many benefits of minimalism.  There are numerous benefits of living a minimalist lifestyle, including:

  • Saving money by owning a smaller home
  • Less money spent on buying useless “stuff” and more emphasis on experiences that you actually enjoy
  • Less clutter = less time spent cleaning and organizing
  • More visually appealing
  • Good for the environment
  • Less stress
  • Freedom from comparing ourselves to others
  • More time for the things that matter most

Are you a minimalist?  What do you like or dislike about minimalism?