Minimalism & happiness – I’m not buying it

I’ve been reading lots of articles on the internet about minimalism lately. And, like everyone else, I have my two cents to add to the topic. There’s so much about minimalism that appeals to me, and lots of ways in which I consider myself to be a minimalist. I hate waste and clutter, dream of simplicity in all things, and lean towards a quiet life. However, it seems like there are a lot of minimalists out there telling themselves and each other that minimalism is the key to Happiness. Yeah, that’s a capital ‘h‘, you know what I’m getting at, right?

“Buy my books, watch my movies, sign up for my decluttering e-course or come along to a seminar. I’ll teach you how to do minimalism my way, and I promise it’ll make you Happy.”

I read a lot of articles stating outright that owning less stuff leaves you more time for what matters to you, but they never seem to adequately explain how that is so. The few worn-out, broken-down, good for nothing belongings I have lingering in hard to reach cupboards take up exactly none of my time.

If I have half as many clothes, maybe I have to do laundry twice as frequently.

Same with crockery and kitchenware – won’t I just have to wash what I do own more often? Urgh!

It’s true that sometimes you can’t see the woods for the trees, or the spatulas for the whisks. You might spend a few extra seconds rummaging in a drawer whose contents you could potentially reduce by a half or three-quarters, 99% or whatever. Indeed it would simplify one small corner of your life, but will it bring you transcendental happiness?

Even if you extended your decluttering efforts to your entire house, would you be happy (or even, happier) then? Or would you still be you, only in a more organised house?

In my experience decluttering, once begun, can take on a real sense of urgency. A drive to get rid of everything that’s holding you back from an authentic life. There’s a definite sense of satisfaction in creating order out of chaos. I’ve felt the warm-fuzzies of a bare kitchen counter where once bills and reminders sat yellowing. The sense of freedom and lightness prompted me to look for more things to cast off. Before I knew it, I was living in a house as organised as a house can be when it’s shared with a husband who would roll his eyes at the notion of minimalism, two little people and a dog. Once I reached that stage, I didn’t have any extra time on my hands and I was about as happy as I ever am.

To be sure, minimalism is so much more than simply owning less stuff, and minimalism in all its variations is a worthy aspiration. I just don’t agree that having less stuff and more time is all it takes to be Happy and I’m wary of anyone who suggests as much.

 

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4 Replies to “Minimalism & happiness – I’m not buying it”

  1. I agree that minimalism isn’t a panacea, but my own understanding is that de-cluttering and minimising is just one aspect of minimalism, and another part is reducing how much money and time we spend buying things we don’t really need, which gives us more time and money to spend on things that matter to us.

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    1. Thanks for being my first commenter, you are Lovely & I am Grateful 😉 Yes, I totally agree that decluttering can be a great jumping off point for getting into a minimalist mindset! Downsizing our belongings can definitely stop that cycle of ‘wanting’ all the time, when you realise what a nuisance it is to get rid of stuff that never proved worthwhile.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve definitely pointed out one of the flaws with minimalism. How does owning less actually leave you time for the things that matter, instead of the matter just cluttering your life?

    I’ve approached it by embracing a minimal mindset. You can only get rid of so much stuff until you have nothing, and then…well…you have nothing. Does that mean you’ve won? Instead of focusing on the “stuff,” I try to focus on the dreams I could be pursuing while forgoing the pursuit of more materials things.

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    1. You’ve totally hit the nail on the head – looking for happiness in the not-owning of stuff is about as useful as looking for it in the accumulation of things. Giving up seeking contentment through belongings (or decluttering) definitely prompts you look for it elsewhere 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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