A few weeks ago I met up with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. As we hugged and greeted and caught up the subject of this little blog came up. A friend asked for more information and another friend replied, ‘she’s getting rid of everything she owns’. I laughed it off.
We’re taking our last load of items for donation today. Last load for a while anyways. When I look around I like what I see and what I see is not a bare home. Lots of DVDs on the shelf still after selling about a third of our collection. A small book collection, mostly Chris’s. Framed wedding photos, a few of me in my athlete days, a couple of us traveling in France and Italy. Two, instead of four, wine crates with about 20 bottles of B.C. wine. A china cabinet, couch, love seat, ottoman, side table. A few lamps. We’re still sitting at a table for dinner. I haven’t gone so far as to say all meals will be eaten on the floor.
For the hardcore I’m not minimalist, I’ve just cleaned house. I’m fine with that. The living with 100 things movement is interesting, shocking and news worthy. The deciding to live a life with a lot less stuff isn’t nearly as sexy or easy to define. But I would argue my version of minimalism, minimalism for the masses, is much more accessible, attainable and has the possibility of changing a lot more of lives.
We’re not all going to sell our possessions and live in South America out of a backpack while earning a small income from e-book sales. That is a great dream but the reality is that most First Worlders won’t do that. They don’t want to.
There is a tight knit group of minimalist bloggers out there living their dream of being office free and living with less stuff. Everett Bogue at Beyond the Stars, Tammy Strobel at Rowdy Kittens, Adam Baker at Man vs Debt, Leo Babauta at Zen Habits, Francine at Miss Minimalist and the list goes on. Good for them. Good for the tens of thousands of people that follow them hoping to break out of their day job and/or become location independent with a minimalist business. It’s inspiring.
But it’s not for the millions.
For the rest of us it needs to be more attainable, accessible and understandable. The leap of logic from two cars, a 2500 sq ft home and loads of stuff to leaving it all behind is a huge one. Too huge for most people.
Instead of encouraging 10,000 people to live with 95% less why not encourage 300 million people to live with 20% less. Don’t tell them to move to San Francisco and hit up the 4 o’clock yoga class while living on $1000 a month from their e-business. Show the masses that with more thought at the register, less shopping as a hobby, more time with family or working on passion projects, fewer rooms to clean and upkeep and collect clutter in a smaller home, they can all live a better life. A more engaged life. A life with less stress, debt, fast food and waste. A better life through small change.