I had the great pleasure of chatting with Genevieve Parker Hill, author of Minimalistic Living about what it meant to her to be a minimalist, why she has spent so much of her time writing about and living minimalism and how it's impacted her life. Click here if you'd like to hear the podcast interview.
For this Minimalistic Monday, let's touch on one of the take away points from the interview: minimalism = joy. Ten years ago Genevieve and her family lost all of their worldly possessions in a fire and even in the midst of this disaster they were happy. Happy that everything that mattered survived. They escaped with their lives and without injury. Even their dog made it out ok! While they surveyed the remains of EVERYTHING they owned was steeping in piles of ash. It was then that they realized it wasn't important, it was just stuff. This realization and restart gave them joy. Genevieve, a then college student, had absolutely nothing and yet she was happy.
I'm sure you've heard the old adage less is more. There is a reason it's used so much, it's true. Outside of our basic needs (food and shelter), the less stuff you have the less you have to manage, maintain, store, organize, and worry about. With less comes less responsibility and more financial freedom.
People often lament, "I'd love to travel more, live abroad, or roam the world" but they have a mortgage, car payment, credit card debt, and creature comforts that they're sure to miss. Debt is a huge hinderance to joy and one that minimalism can help rectify, but that's another article. People, and more specifically Americans, are perpetual consumers addicted to that high you get when opening an new product. On the flip-side, the lows you experience are manyfold. First, the high usually only lasts minutes. Second, you now have to find a place to store this new item. Lastly, you will likely be paying for it on your credit card for months, long after you have lost interest for it. Unfortunately for you, the bank hasn't lost any interest, in fact they are winning in this consumer driven world. You are left dissatisfied, stressed out, with less breathing space in your home, and are a slave to the bank. So yes, when I add up all of the factors in my personal journey I end up with: Less = More and Minimalism = Joy.