Why Labeling Myself Minimalist Made All the Difference

I have been a leaning towards minimalism for many years, reading blogs about uncluttering and simple productivity, loving books like The Power of Less, driving a small car, blocking ads from entering my home, not having a TV, and generally not totally buying into the consumerist culture around me. Yet it took several years and a bunch of new blogs to finally make me realize that there is a group of people who, like me, want to live with less stuff and more meaning, and that the movement has a name: minimalism.

There are many good reasons why you should adopt minimalism as well, but that’s not what this post is about.

Today I want to discuss the benefits of taking the step from being curious about minimalism and implementing some of the ideas to actually calling yourself a minimalist. Minimalism is not a religion, so I am not saying that there is a set of rules you must start to follow or a leader whom you should pick as your guru (be your own guru instead!). I’m talking about a new mindset where you tell yourself: “I am a minimalist. Now, let’s figure out what it means to me.”

It’s amazing how big a difference such a small label can make. After I started describing myself as a minimalist, I have seen the following changes begin to happen:

  1. An increased sense of focus: When I know why I don’t want to buy more items and have clear reasons for not wanting to supersize my life, it makes it much easier to resist the temptation. It also makes it much easier to discuss the choices with friends as you know yourself and have ways to describe your values.
  2. A community: After deciding to be minimalist, I have found a great web of fellow minimalist bloggers who share their experiences and thoughts with the world. Reading their posts and engaging into discussion with them encourages and educates me in my quest to use minimalism in the way that works best for me.
  3. Personal growth: Today, inspired by Brett Oblack, I wrote my minimalist manifesto, a short piece of text that describes why I am a minimalist and what that means to me in practice. Minimalism is a great way to boost your growth towards being a more mindful, wise person. The journey is long, but it’s not for no reason that so many of the big thinkers in both the past and the present have been minimalists.

Minimalism, like life in its whole, is a journey, and gets more interesting with every step you take. So, if you are playing with these ideas and feel like you might actually be sort of a minimalist already, dive in and take the next step by carrying the label with pride. You might love the places this decision will lead you to!

And, if you are already a minimalist, are there other benefits you have reaped from labeling yourself? Or could it be that adding this label to yourself has brought some downsides too? Let’s discuss!

10 thoughts on “Why Labeling Myself Minimalist Made All the Difference”

  1. Thanks for the mention. Interesting that the word “sustainable” is in your tagline, since I just posted about sustainable minimalism as well. Thanks for reading, glad I could find your blog through your comment.

    1. You’re welcome! I’m always happy to link to stuff that inspires me.

      Your post about sustainability in minimalism describes really well one half of the sustainability I am aiming for, the sustainability of my personal lifestyle. Minimalism is by definition a perfect fit for aiming that goal as it’s a lifestyle where you can do with less. The other side of sustainability that I’m also aiming for is sustainability on a global level, trying to make my actions such that I leave other people room to live as well.

  2. Sadly i can see minimalism becoming the next big fad – and then being killed of by over commercialization.

    1. That’s a thought that has crossed my mind as well, but I don’t think that’s really the case for most of the minimalism today after all.

      Minimalism is about having less, so it’s quite hard to monetize and commercialize it too much. I’m sure there will be attempts to do that, and some people will give up after the “fad” is over. But still I believe that many if not most of the people who get interested about minimalism will be changed by it — and even if it starts for them as a fad, it can have a lasting impact.

      And also, at the same time, I believe our planet requires us to rethink our choices, so at least some level of minimalism has to become more mainstream… I don’t know what that will mean, but the fact that already thinkers from ancient Greece were in support of minimalism does give me faith in the fact that this is not something new that will soon be over.

  3. I’m impressed by the principles of a minimalist. I myself have implemented some of them and it did a great change in my life. However, I spoil myself just to make a balance. It is beneficial to give way to our urges once in a while. :-)

  4. That is exactly how I felt.

    When I started being able to name what I felt I was becoming, it all made so much more sense.

    Then it built — I started reading about it more, thinking about it, and changing my habits accordingly (without feeling like I was giving up anything or being forced to follow something just for the sake of a label).

    The other name they’ve created is “Minsumerism”, which I think is a marriage between minimalism and not being tied down by consumerism.

    Personally, I just prefer the simple, easy-to-say: Minimalist.

    Wonderful post! And thank you for being such a great reader (and insightful commenter) :)

    1. Thank you!

      I guess it’s unintentional, but it’s funny how I read “minsumer” as “mindsumer” and immediately think of being mindful about your consumption. So, yeah, I think the term minsumer would gather even more of my values to one term, but like you, I prefer minimalism for the simplicity on the word itself (after all, it’s a real word).

  5. I have been living a minimalist life because of multiple instances of violence against me. I have to admit that it is refreshing to only have a few items and a pared down lifestyle. Buying, organizing, consuming and clearing out all those non-essential items is very stressful and time consuming.

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