I’ve seen so many articles, videos, and blog posts out there where a minimalist will mention pretty specific examples of items he or she believes everyone should get rid of. These range from stuffed animals to old magazines to anything you have more than one of. And while I understand the idea behind this type of content, I can’t completely agree with that approach.
Minimalism is about living a life with less physical possessions, which will then lead to less worry and stress and more joy. It’s meant to be used as a tool so you can figure out what’s truly important to you. And that’s where the problem lies.
We won’t all agree on which items do or don’t add value to someone’s life because we’ll have different experiences with or attachments to certain items. Telling people to get rid of specific items means assuming they don’t find value in those items either.
For example, I saw a video once that mentioned getting rid of all the stuffed animals once you’re an adult. But I still own several stuffed animals and absolutely love them. They were given to me by friends or family members and remind me of the people that love me. They’re not in the way or causing me any sort of burden, and they do bring me joy when I look at them. So why would I want to get rid of them?
So what I’m trying to say is this: My point of view on minimalism will be different from that of other people. There will be people who own more than me and people who own less than me. There will be issues that I don’t decide to become vocal about that many minimalists tend to talk about. And that’s okay.
I hope this serves you as a reminder to avoid comparing yourself to other people or comparing other people to you. Don’t worry about doing things as well as someone else or being in the same place as them. Instead, focus on your own progress. Set goals for yourself, and then work hard to reach them.
And at the same time, don’t turn into the person no one can have a decent conversation with. If your friends aren’t minimalists, don’t give them judgmental looks every time they tell you they want to make a certain purchase. Instead of beating them over the head with your lifestyle, do your best to find a middle ground when you’re looking to hang out. Come up with suggestions for outings they might enjoy if you’re trying to avoid going shopping.
I know there are people who have ended up letting go of certain friendships after getting into minimalism, but that’s going to be up to you. Do whatever works for you and whatever adds to your life more. And don’t compare your journey to that of other people. Progress is progress.