In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but by what one owns.
-President Jimmy Carter
The original title for this post was “Minimalism: I watched a Netflix documentary, read a few blogs, and now, I’m an expert” but I decided to minimize it to simply “Minimalism.” for obvious reasons.
In case you’re not familiar with minimalism or fell asleep during the documentary, minimalism is a movement that seeks to quell the ills of capitalism by taking a bold (courageous even) stand against the unforgiving consumer culture/hysteria that currently governs society, mostly through living with the least amount of possessions as possible.
Here’s how others define it:
Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. –Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. –Joshua Becker
A bunch of rich people from Western developed countries attempting to live like the rest of the world and getting highly praised for doing so. –Me
Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. As a specific movement in the arts it is identified with developments in post–World War II Western Art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s. –Wikipedia
As a maximalist myself (by nature of my US citizenship alone), I wanted to learn more about minimalism, directly from minimalists themselves. As you already know, Make the Welkin Dance is keen on investigative journalism (cf. my interviews with fellow millennials and toddlers or my exclusive on the Trixie scandal). I decided to go knocking on a few tiny home doors and learn if life is more fulfilling solely owning 2 pairs of underwear.
Here’s what I found.
10 Minimalists on Minimalism*
DISCLAIMER**: Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
1. Dale, 38
I became a minimalist when my possessions began to consume me. After almost losing a toe to my roomba, I decided that enough was enough.
2. 51, 31
The most liberating aspect of minimalism is that I no longer feel that I must define myself by the objects I own.
Me: But you start each one of your blog posts with the number of things you have. You even asked to be called ’51’ for this interview…
3. Sheila, 23
Minimalism doesn’t stop with material possessions. It extends to technology as well. I limit myself to 5 open tabs at a time. Any more, and I have to justify to myself why I need a sixth tab.
4. Axl, 29
Me: Do you need to be a white hipster to be a minimalist?
No, but it definitely helps. Don’t worry though; the self-righteousness will come with time.
5. Colin, 21
Minimalism helped me reach a decision on the Oxford comma debate, streamline my Spotify playlists[,] and focus on finishing my essay.
5. Kay, 19
I downsized from 36 pairs of shoes to a humble 32. And that’s made all the difference in the world.
7. James, 24
What people often miss is that minimalism is a process. You have to pick up each item you own one by one, stare at it carefully, and answer the following two questions: 1) Do I really need this? 2) Is this object bringing me joy?
I’m not saying it’s a fast or easy process. I’m still working through my cutlery. I’m amazed at how many spoons and knives I’ve let into my life without thinking twice. It’s truly terrifying.
8. Blair, 31
I own 35 pieces in my wardrobe, including socks. I buy only bright orange clothes so that I can always mix and match. Plus, it makes laundry a breeze since I can just wash everything together. The bright color ensures I never leave anything behind in the dryer, too. My small wardrobe is functional year around. During the winter, I wear everything I own at the same time to keep warm. It’s a small price to pay for happiness.
Me: Awesome! Do you have a separate sleepwear category? I know that some minimalist style bloggers do that. What do minimalists wear to bed? Like just regular clothes or do you think pajamas are a consumer scam?
[Cue awkward silence.]
9. Chelsea, 27
Me: I’ve always wondered, “Why the tiny home?” Why not an RV? Aren’t they more practical, durable, affordable, portable, and aerodynamic?
Um…Because…Getting featured on HGTV is a once in lifetime opportunity.
10. John and Jane, 40 and 38
Our lives are completely stress-free now that we’ve minimized our kids. Sending them to live with their grandparents has given us the time and resources to focus on our minimalist lifestyle.
One lingering question remains: Can we buy happiness if we limit ourselves to 51 items? I guess it’s certainly cheaper than attempting to buy 51,000…
*That was the actual title of this blog post, but I limited myself to a single word because I’m testing out this minimalism thing. I kept the period at the end of “Minimalism.” to give the title a sense of finality and completeness; the period was absolutely essential.
**DISCLAIMER TO THE ABOVE DISCLAIMER: Lol it’s all made up.