Minimalism appeals to me, because it makes me focus on what I truly love and need. One of my favorite blogs is Zen Habits. I started reading Zen Habits for the productivity tips, but lately I’ve been fascinated with Leo’s simple guide to a minimalist life. If you were to come into my home, you’d never guess that I even think about minimalism. My home isn’t a disaster area, but it has plenty of clutter. It’s definitely well lived in.

So why does the minimalist lifestyle appeal to me? I see several benefits.

Minimalism Means Less Clutter

I have lots of clutter in my house, and I hate it. I would love to actually have a place for everything, but in order to do that, I need to get rid of a lot of stuff. I don’t have a garage, and my outside storage shed is very small. So everything I store would need to fit in one of my five closets. I have to admit, I like the thought of only owning as much stuff as I can fit comfortably in my house.

Minimalism Means Less Waste

If I bring less stuff home, I don’t have as much opportunity to waste. I really try hard not to waste anyway, but sometimes that’s hard in a cluttered home. If the refrigerator or freezer gets cluttered, I forget what I have, and sometimes the yogurt hiding behind the milk goes bad.

The same goes for clothes. If I own the minimal amount of clothing I need to get by, I’m not likely to forget about an outfit hanging at the back of the closet. I can’t count how many times that happened when my daughter was a baby. She had so many baby clothes, that I’d forget exactly what she had. Then I’d pull out an outfit, only to find that she had outgrown it already.

Minimalism Means Learning to be Content

I really believe that having an overabundance of stuff breeds discontentment. It seems that the more things a person has, the more they need. I know that’s true in my life. When I have the ability to buy more, I find that I start buying to fill some sort of unmet need in my life. By cutting down the amount of stuff I allow myself to buy, I force myself to deal with my discontentment. I need to learn to be content with what I have and find satisfaction in my relationship with God, my family life, and with who I am as a person.

Minimalism Means Really Loving What I Have

By forcing myself to cut down on the amount of stuff I own, I cut out the stuff that I’m ambivalent about. By embracing minimalism, I cut out everything but what I really love.

I remember reading Little House in the Big Woods as a child, and I remember reading about Laura and her doll, Charlotte. Laura LOVED Charlotte. I think she loved her so much because Charlotte was her only doll. Charlotte was precious. Charlotte was special. How many things do I own that I consider to be truly special? My photographs are special. Everything else? Not so much.

Though I doubt I have it in me to become truly minimalist, I am setting a goal for getting rid of stuff. Cutting my things to what I really use and love lends itself to my quest to live a more frugal life. So by the end of the year, I will go through every room in my house and get rid of what I don’t use or love. And to be really frugal, I’ll sell what I can and put it toward my debt.

For more on minimalism, be sure to check out Leo Babatua’s books:

  • The Simple Guide to a Mimimalist Life
  • Zen Habits: Handbook for Life
  • Zen to Done