It is often difficult to talk about minimalism with friends and family. Terms like “hippie” can get thrown around in an uncomplimentary fashion or, more often, an odd look followed by an awkward silence. To someone with only tertiary knowledge of minimalism, saying “I’m a minimalist.” can sound too much like “I’m in a cult.”
People have a tendency to shun, or even fear extremes; especially when those perceived extremes are opposite what society has taught them. A minimalist lifestyle flies in the face of social norms and this is why it seems extreme… but it only seems that way. In reality, minimalism is a step back from the severe debt and hoarding we have all been taught to accept as normal. It is a step toward the middle, not away from it.
To many of us, myself included, a minimalist lifestyle isn’t about bare, white walls and 100 items or less in a two-hundred square foot apartment with no TV. It is simply about having less clutter, less debt, less weight on our shoulders, and less time wasted. I have no intention of giving up modern conveniences or living out of a backpack for the next five years. My simpler lifestyle will not look like yours, but that’s alright. Being minimalist is also not about measuring yourself against anyone else. It is about making conscious and thoughtful decisions about the objects, relationships, and experiences that get included in our lives.