When Less Means More: On Rediscovering Minimalism
Countless family dinners took place around that old slate lab table. The holes where the gas lines from when the table had originally been used in a high school science lab were always strategically covered up with a placement, table runner, or candles.
My husband and I had bought the table for $25 from a lady in Rhode Island who was moving out of her art studio where she was using the table as a place to create her pieces.
We had bought it at the time when I needed a bigger work surface, and something tall enough that I could stand at when I typed and worked at my online job.
Back then, my husband and I had carried it up three flights of stairs to our apartment (I’ll be honest here, he carried most of the load on his back, I just guided him).
It was always a conversation piece in our home — mint green metal legs and black slate top with a small heart carved into it from when I can only imagine a high schooler did not want to go over the periodic table of elements.
This week, we sold the table.
We are moving and downsizing (again). Every time we’ve moved, our living space gets smaller and smaller. We’ve gone from an almost 2,000 square foot space to a 1,200 square foot home, and now, we are hoping to move into a 748 square foot home.
I’ve always had a penchant for decluttering, calling myself a wannabe minimalist (because I try quite hard to have less stuff, but sometimes with a child and a dog things come into this household and just don’t leave). As a child, I alphabetized my music collection, and organized my clothes by color and season. I thrive with order, structure and open space — it just puts my mind at ease. In my world, a calm, tidy house equals a calm, tidy mind.
In chatting over Zoom with other friends, it seems that although the minimalist lifestyle has been around for quite some time, more people are just discovering it again, hoping to reclaim calm and space while they’ve been cooped up inside their homes during a global pandemic.
The tenets of minimalism can be seen in various aspects of Stoicism and Zen Buddhism — with absence and space becoming a large preoccupation of art in the 1960s as well.
If you, like myself and my friends, are wannabe minimalists, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite resources for you to explore.
These guys had high-paying jobs and lots of stuff before they walked away from it and decided to downsize their stuff and up-size their life. They caught a lot of attention back when they burst onto the minimalism scene in 2009, and since then have launched a website, two books, a podcast, and a newsletter.
In the podcast category (this was hard to narrow down because I am podcast obsessed), I really enjoy the conversation around minimalism and sustainability on this show. Covering everything from the impact of climate change on human health to simple tips on buying nothing and the gift economy, it really embodies many of our core values here at Shareable.
As with the podcast category, there are so many books about minimalism out there that it was hard to pick just one. But, one of the backbones of minimalism is that it is not just about “stuff.” It’s also about mental clutter. This book helps you declutter your digital space as well.
If you are interested in a more minimalist lifestyle or would like to read up on some more great minimalist e-books that provide solid and sound advice, this is a great book roundup.
The rise of the “McMansion — and its attendant conspicuous consumption — has also helped to create the burgeoning tiny house movement, which extols the virtues of living smaller.
A growing community that takes their work on the road whether as independent workers or employees also embrace aspects of minimalism. It sounds like a blast, but there are some challenges of going location free for long periods. Here are some tips they shared for making it work on the road.
Elizabeth Carr is a marathoner, journalist, triathlete, coffee connoisseur, wife, mother, and writer turned non-profit fundraising expert. Her background in the nonprofit world comes from working with advocacy groups in development.
This article was republished from Shareable.