As I was thinking about what to write I thought it’d be good to share more of the philosophy of minimalism to help readers get the “why” behind the practice. So often the focus is on the “how” of paring down possessions or whatever, which has its place, but I’ve noticed that a lot of people get bogged down in the details of decluttering without ever really adopting the philosophy behind it all.
I think the missing link for many people trying to simplify their lives is that it is not yet a long-term lifestyle to them but rather a short-term solution. But for minimalism or simplicity or whatever you want to call it to work, you will need to cultivate some convictions about what you desire for your life to look like. The pressure to acquire and accumulate material goods will simply overwhelm you otherwise.
The reality is that our behavior flows from our belief system and until we adopt the philosophy of minimalism we will never adapt our lives to its principles. Webster defines minimalism as “a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.” I don’t know about the extreme part but I do know it is radical and countercultural.
My philosophy of minimalism is “an intentional mode of living that understands simpler is usually better, less stuff equals more life, time has greater value than money, and people are higher priorities than possessions.” That is my worldview and my life flows from it. It is the perspective from which I try to make sense of my limited time here on earth. It is a core conviction and it is non-negotiable.
I snapped the above photo yesterday as the fog blanketed Belfast harbor here in Maine. The docked sailboat is the picture of simplicity to me, as it is a vessel designed for voyage that nonetheless remains stationary until its sails are placed in position. I’d like to think the sailboat represents our dreams of a simpler life yet until we hoist the sails of principled patterns of living we’ll stay moored in the proverbial harbor.