Anyone ever told you that? I’ve been told that… many times. Of course, it’s been said in many ways – Where’s your stuff? How do you live like this? There must be something wrong with you! It looks like no one lives here! – but yet I carry on. After all, it’s the only life I have and the choices are mine to make and live with. Many people think that an empty house means an empty life…or an organized house means that no one is actually living in it… but I don’t agree. Oftentimes the collecting of “stuff” is a true sign that something is amiss, as people use it to escape from or ignore true issues in their lives. If they are constantly bombarded with stimulation or surrounded by endless amounts of stuff, when does the mind get a rest to do any real thinking? To contemplate what is going on around them outside of their home? To dream of things they want to do?
There is nothing wrong with you for wanting less stuff. For thinking less about consuming and more about living. For keeping your belongings to a minimum and your home simple. We weren’t put here to continually buy, buy, buy – yet it has become normal to assume that’s why we exist.
I have given up fighting back because it’s not worth the effort, to be honest. I know what works for me, and no one can tell me that there is anything wrong with it. Usually when others try to tell you something you are doing is wrong, it’s only out of their own insecurity and self-doubt.
So don’t let anyone tell you what is right for you. Period. You know best.
Hi there. Love your blog (:
Thank you for addressing this. I’ve made a conscious effort not to judge my lifestyle as better or more fulfilling than that of the non-minimalists around me, so it’s pretty disappointing when people I like and respect look down on it for being different from theirs.
David, I so agree with you. I am not bothered by what others think any more. I know that “stuff” weighs me down and is just one more thing to take care of. My mother and I live together. She is 82 and still into stuff. She is doing better. It drives her nuts that my room is “bare”. It only has a bed, a chair and a small shelf for my clock, kleenex and eyeglasses. There is nothing on the walls. She keeps bugging me to finish it. I keep telling her it IS finished. Gradually she is beginning to give away or sell all of the things she has stuffed in drawers or closets or in boxes in the shed. One thing that is nice is that she doesn’t clutter surfaces so the rooms are fairly clean and calm. Of course, I would get rid of more if I could. But I have to remember that when she moved in with me at the beginning she went from a very full 3600 sq ft to 1440 and now 1248. Progress can sometimes be slow but it is still progress.
Man, I SO agree with this. I make a decent amount of money and people are always asking me why I don’t upgrade this, or get that, etc., etc. Even though I grew up in an affluent neighborhood with very wealthy friends (not my family, though), I somehow made it through without ever having the desire for buying and buying and buying.
Like you said, there is not a single thing wrong with this way of living. At all. And really, ALL of us could get rid of a lot of the stuff we have; even those of us who don’t want as much as most people do.
I too am constantly asked why i don’t seem to want anything…i went through the mass accumulation of stuff in earlier years and then i lived among the mess. Only in the past 2 years have i finally figured out that the root of my unhappiness was caused by all the clutter surrounding me. So i purged it all…and now my home is to some ‘sparce and un-homely’…to me…it’s clean, and very calming. And the most important lesson i learned in this journey is the more i got rid of, the less i found i needed, or wanted, to survive. I have reached the point in my life where i have ‘enough’ and my ‘enough’ is obviously a lot less than others but for me it’s plenty.
What an excellent post! I have had this happen to me so many times! I shared a link with this on my blog–you deserve all the readers you can get on this post!
My older brother had (one) plate, bowl and glass, fork, spoon and knife when he lived on his own. Me and the rest of my family though he was nuts. Now I live like him. What’s the point of having a complete super duper dish set from Ikea when 90% of the time your the only one eating. Same with a spending plan/budget. Some think that’s not living. My life now is easier with these “limits”. It’s the 80/20 rule. That’s how I look at minimalism.
We are in search of simplicity, but also self-sufficiency, and sometimes the two conflict. We store food–lots of it. We have camping, fishing, and hunting gear (but try to be minimalist and keep what we really use). Then there is equipment for gardening, for home-canning, etc. Not to mention we have four children–it seems that most successful minimalists are single. Looking for examples of families taking the challenge of simplicity.
I live with my 10-year-old daughter, and I am still working toward a simpler life.
She has a lot of needs (and stuff) but I work to corral her things as much as possible while working to be a good example for her.
She has watched me simplifying and minimizing and routinely thins out her toys and clothes rather than stockpile things like she used to.
It isn’t perfect, and I do have to keep more stuff as a result of being a parent of a pet-loving kid but we are still able to make progress.
The trick is to just pluck at it a little at a time and to not lose hope!
Good luck Kevin!
A dear friend of mine once made the comment “Ye who dies with the most toys wins.” My immediate thought was, yes, but they still die. It feels good to be rid of the need to accumulate and hold on to “stuff.”
I am so happy to have come across this tonight. I needed to read others thoughts on not having or needing to have “everything”, but to more so enjoy the simple life. I had a very interesting conversation tonight. My friend asked me if I had won the lottery how would I spend my money. And I said, I would of course pay off all my debts, buy a condo, and jeep wrangler, no Porsche, no BMW, no Mercedes, but a jeep. And my friend almost made me feel like there was something wrong with me because I wouldn’t go out and buy a mansion. He said to me, “I’ve had a mansion, I would want a house (2-3 story) with a pool in the back…I just felt like what’s wrong with me wanting what I want and you just wanting what you want? Everyone is entitled to that…right?
Yes we are entitled to live the way we want. If we want to live with just a little that is our choice. Many still comment that we are crazy something is wrong with your thinking!
I am not crazy and my thinking is just fine. I want to have less work and more enjoyment. Less responsibilities to stuff and more down time. Spend my money on what I want not on bills to keep stuff and things I don’t use or need. Thanks for bringing other peoples responses to the fore front.