A couple of months ago, when Marie Kondo’s series on Netflix came out, I watched all of the episodes in a single weekend. Before that, I loved watching videos on YouTube of people decluttering. I still do. I declutter my stuff quite regularly and only own things that make me happy. But does that make me a minimalist? Or am I just decluttering?
What is minimalism?
Minimalism can mean two different things:
- Getting rid of almost everything you own so you don’t have to keep and clean possessions and other materialistic things
- Intentionally focusing on the things that matter to you and getting rid of everything that distracts you from what you love
The difference between minimalism and decluttering
The difference between decluttering your life and being a minimalist is that one of them is an action, the other a lifestyle. The idea of minimalism is cutting back on everything in your life: living in a smaller house, having a capsule wardrobe, only owning the essentials. When you declutter, you get rid of things you no longer use or want.
Decluttering and privilege
One problem that I do have with minimalism and decluttering is that it feels like a huge waste. I donate things I no longer want to charity. And that really makes me realise just how privileged I am. How privileged people in the western world are. Because why would we get rid of things we once wanted and saved up for just because we changed our minds about them anymore? There are so many people in third-world countries that live with nothing. And they don’t have a choice.
It’s so easy to get hooked to the idea of being a minimalist. Because in theory, it all sounds great. Who doesn’t want less stress in their lives? Who doesn’t want more time? Who doesn’t want to save money by not buying all of the things?
There are moments where I consider packing clothes in a backpack and going on a trip around the world. And I might still do that. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to get rid of the books I love so much, or my fancier dresses that I don’t wear more than two or three times a year.
What do you think of minimalism?