Moderation in Minimalism


I got this charming little image from The Grubworm as a way of introducing my next topic.

Moderation in Minimalism is a subject that is very important to me, and one that I believe a lot of us know already when it comes to Simple Living – however, it’s definitely something that is often forgotten by modern minimalism’s critics.

Now, a person may ask, moderation and minimalism?  Aren’t those two words opposed by their very natures?

Well, we should remember that minimalism as we are speaking of it is a personal and social movement.  Another way people have referred to it is “Simple Living?”  So, what are we trying to be minimal about?

A person could give up everything: all of their money, their possessions, their house, their job, all interaction with other humans, never acquiring anything else…and then wait to die, probably from lack of water.  However, that is obviously a terrible, terrible idea.  This way you have the least that you can possibly have – nothing.  (Did I mention it was a terrible idea?)

If we use the definition of “minimalism” that I gave in my “What is Minimalism?” blog post, “Choosing to include in your life only those things that we value most, and removing everything that distracts us from them,” we can get a better picture of how moderation and minimalism might work together.  I can be ruthless with those things that get in my way, yet still finding moderation in my life in general as I work towards my goals.  For example, while I hold nothing against those in the “tiny house” movement that move around and live alone (in fact, I wish them the very best in their endeavors, and hope it works out well for them), I do not choose that lifestyle for myself, because I want to live with my family.

Now, you might define minimalism in your life slightly differently than I have in mine.  For example, “Analyzing the things I choose to keep in my life, and then only continuing with those that truly add value.”  Use whatever suits your needs best.  (For me, I feel that I need a real focus, hence the stress on the things that I value most.)   In this instance, you can still be ruthless in minimizing those things that don’t truly add value, but find moderation in your life overall.  Have too many pots and pans?  Give some away – but keep enough silverware for your family to use in a practical manner.  Have you got a book to read?  Wonderful!  Have you got a stack of unread magazines piling up?  In that case, you may need to reevaluate something.

And that’s what minimalism is all about, I think – getting past all of the “things” that tend to get in our way, that consumerist society and other people have falsely convinced us that we need – and living the most wholesome lives that we can.  The urge to minimize should never get in your own way.  If getting rid of something has actually made your life harder and more complicated in the end, it’s probably not a good practice to get rid of it.  However, in my life, I still haven’t run out of “things” and distractions that I can find to get rid of, and if someone doesn’t keep constantly mindful of such things, they have a habit of reaccumulating.

So, what are your thoughts on the subject?  I’ll probably write another post on this subject sometime, but I felt that it was important for me to get this out there. Leave a comment below and tell us what you think!

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