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What Defines a Minimalist?

I was featured as a “Real Life Minimalist” on Francine’s blog, Miss Minimalist.

The post got me thinking – what defines a minimalist? When I looked on Webster’s Dictionary, here’s what it said about “minimalist”

a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity

According to that definition, I certainly would not qualify as a minimalist. I own much more than 100 items, I have a permanent residence, I enjoy my creature comforts. I am not sure if I am a minimalist, but I am not pursuing the minimalism lifestyle with the zeal and enthusiasm with some other bloggers. Likewise, as a personal finance blogger, I am not pursuing frugality just for frugality’s sake.

Instead, what I am after is a healthy relationship with stuff.  In my Real Life Minimalist story, this is what I said:

I realized that what I want isn’t an arbitrarily small number of belongings. Instead, I want each and every piece of my possessions to be useful and appreciated. I don’t want the mindless accumulation of stuff just for stuff’s sake.

  • Tweets that mention What Defines a Minimalist? | Well Heeled Blog -- Topsy.com - [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by WellHeeledBlog, SelfRelianceExchange. SelfRelianceExchange said: RT @wellheeledblog: What Defines a Minimalist? http://bit.ly/9cOwYL [...]ReplyCancel

  • FabulouslyBroke.com - Girl, that's what I consider minimalism :)

    I just made up my own interpretation of it and stuck to it. Can't give up my jewellery. *sigh* ReplyCancel

  • Starshard0 - I think your attitude would qualify you as a minimalist. I think it's more important to have a healthy relationship with stuff than it is to have a small number of possessions.ReplyCancel

  • Yakezie Saves The Day - [...] Well Heeled, a post about What Defines a Minimalist? I consider myself a minimalist, somewhat by choice and somewhat by [...]ReplyCancel

  • Jaime - I think sometimes minimalists can tend to come across as extreme, the opposite of hoarders, a little OCD but I also realize that there are many people whom are minimalists that are genuine. Its the extremists that bother me at times, but IMO minimalism is whatever you want it to be, some people can live with 50 items or less, others don't want to go that far but I think its about finding what's right for each of us. And I think you found that for yourself or so it seems ;) ReplyCancel

  • Redefining Less - " I want each and every piece of my possessions to be useful and appreciated. I don’t want the mindless accumulation of stuff just for stuff’s sake."
    I think you've hit the nail on the head! Thats what I believe minimalism is about. Getting rid of the things that don't help you or make you happy. Simplifying all the way through not just by purging your possesions.

    ReplyCancel

  • Joe Plemon - My trouble is actually getting a handle on what a minimalist is. Webster says "extreme spareness and simplicity". Does that mean owning only a few items, selling your car, and living in a 100 SF house? Not sure, but I do know this: I have zero desire to be that kind of minimalist. ReplyCancel

  • Money Reasons - I was going to say, I don't consider you a minimalist either!

    Frugally well balanced, yes… but not a minimalist!

    In my (backwards and probably incorrect) vision of a minimalist, they are kind of the early stages of becoming a miser. Hopefully, I'm wrong :) ReplyCancel

  • Moving Is A Pain & I Am Turning Minimalist | Well Heeled Blog - [...] Minimalism and I have had a love-hate relationship (see here and  here for all the times I’ve tried, and failed, at minimalism), but now that I am prepping for a cross-country move, I am awash in this feeling of “die, stuff, die.” [...]ReplyCancel

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