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Sustaining The Minimalist Living Mindset

by Gip Plaster on September 13th, 2011

Looking back over the more than 200 posts on this blog, I find mentions of blogger that are long gone from the minimalist blogging scene as well as guest posts from writers who never really went anywhere.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of minimalist living is finding a way to continue the mindset when the clutter is gone, the counters are clean and your approach to work is as simple as possible. Perhaps it is also finding a way to sustain minimalism when circumstances no longer force you to live simply.

For some, sustaining minimalist living seems to take some real effort. Of course, the things about which we are passionate — the things that become part of us — don’t require much effort, do they?

A Short Ode To Bloggers Gone

Don’t worry. This is a general ode. I don’t plan to list or explore all the bloggers who have either left blogging or left minimalism.

I miss many of the bloggers whose paths crossed mine in months and years past. Minimalist bloggers have helped me see how I can have more life when I live with fewer things to weigh me down. That’s why this blog is called So Much More Life.

By tossing out the things, ideas and attitudes that hold me down, my life rises like the overused metaphor of a hot air balloon jettisoning its extra weigh.

Minimalist bloggers have played important roles in improving my life, so how can so many of them be gone from the scene? How can something that was once so important to them now fail to resonate with them enough to warrant even an occasional post?

Minimalism is a leaderless lifestyle these days because those who once led the movement have moved on. Who is stepping up to replace them? Who are today’s established, lifelong ambassadors of simplicity?

What Seems To Happen

Here’s what I’ve seen happen more than once.

A person in early adulthood realizes that he (and it’s often a he) can’t find a job. He starts a blog and realizes by communicating with other bloggers that he doesn’t have to get a traditional job and doesn’t have to have much income to be happy. He learns and teachs how to accept less in order to get more. Then, he gets a job or falls in love with someone who has one or gets a book deal or somehow acquires a traditional life and a traditional income. He decides that people with traditional lives and plenty of money don’t have to live simply, so he moves on.

Does this sound familiar to you?

I don’t have much money and I have few possessions, but the minimalist mindset is inside me even as my tenuous situation begins to stabilize and expand.

I’m not cheap, I’m not always frugal and I don’t always do things the simplest way, but I understand how money, complex systems and expensive possessions get in the way of a good life rather than enhance it.

I Wonder…

Here’s what I wonder: Is someone who writes about minimalist living and then abandons the topic when better money or nicer relationships come along really a minimalist?

The key, I think, to a simple, deliberate life is letting the minimalist mindset sink into you so deeply that abandoning it isn’t even possible.

In other words, sustaining the minimalist living mindset isn’t hard for me because I truly believe in it.

Is the secret to sustaining minimalism to be a minimalist in the first place?

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From → Simpler Living

10 Comments
  1. Linda Sand permalink

    Maybe you’ve found the key. I’ve always been anti clutter and in favor of organizing what I have. Maybe that means I’ll be a minimalist the rest of my life. It feels true for me.
    Linda Sand recently posted Weight loss tip

    • I find a lot of experiences in life that seem hollow or empty, so finding something that feels true is finding something to hang on to. Living simply seems right to me, so that’s what I do and what I suggest.
      Gip

  2. Tammi Kibler | Freelance Writer permalink

    I think it completely in keeping with a minimalist mindset to stop maintaining a blog. It could be one thing a minimalist let go of on the path.

    As for abandoning the movement, it happens with every philosophy and lifestyle. Some people adopt a mindset while it works for them and let it go when it no longer does, like visiting the gym.
    Tammi Kibler | Freelance Writer recently posted Blogging for Business Benefit #3: Tell Your Stories

    • Thanks for commenting, Tammi. You’re right: Some people stop blogging because they think the act of blogging is too complex for a simple life. Words come simply and naturally to me, but they’re hard and complex for others.

      It’s good to have you here.
      Gip

  3. Marti permalink

    I think part of the issue is that there is only just so much to say about minimalism. Once you’ve said it, then it all becomes rinse and repeat. In the best case scenario, a person internalizes the principals, stops thinking consciously about it all the time, and it just becomes a natural part of the way they live.

    But for most of the bloggers you speak of, I tend to agree with your view — somehow they returned to the ‘mainstream’, via love affair, marriage, job offer, etc., and disappeared off the radar. They used minimalism blogging as the flavor of the month entry into a life of more ease.

    Perhaps a number of those minimalist, location-independent bloggers eventually discovered that living out of a backpack and having no real place to call home, even if it is home for only a year or so, tends to pale after a while. We are a nomad race, true, but more importantly, we are ‘settlers’. We like to travel and arrive. Arrive somewhere to settle.

    Just my take on things.

    • There is a point about talking so much about simplicity that you’re overcomplicating it.

      I think you’re right: Most of us like to travel, we like to arrive, and we think that whatever we’re doing at this moment is better than what we did before and anything that could come later. Then, we find the next great thing and think the same about it.

      Gip

  4. “Is the secret to sustaining minimalism to be a minimalist in the first place?” – Yes I believe it is.
    The reason for this is because for many years I didn’t understand why I didn’t get what others did. Let me explain… I’d go shopping but would start to panic in a shop, feel confused, feel like I needed to get out of the shop. I’d try and wear accessories and different jewellery but just felt silly. Even patterned clothing I’m not overly sure about, some items I can wear, some I can’t, again it doesn’t feel quite right. Today I am wearing a white vest top, white cardy, blue jeans, black flip flops (despite the weather taking a turn for the worse in the UK) and a wedding band. As I’m getting older I’m getting more minimal, I’ll go without things it doesn’t seem important. All I want is a simple life…
    Jo@simplybeingmum recently posted No Waste Tastes Great 9 September 2011

    • I’ve had the feeling when shopping that I needed to simply leave the store and forget it. And I’ve also felt like a circus clown when I’ve tried to dress up and look nice. Patterned clothes are fine with me, but wearing something stylish and modern makes me feel like I’m trying to be something I’m not. I should write about my clothing choices sometimes: For me, it’s almost always jeans and never a tie. Otherwise, it’s whatever I find at a thrift store or other discount shop.

      I don’t mind being an outsider as long as I’m true to my own rules and beliefs.
      Gip

  5. I imagine there are two different groups of minimalist bloggers who either stop blogging or move their blogs in a different direction. There are those who have decided, for whatever reason, that they are no longer interested in minimalism, and there are also those who continue to practice minimalism and simplicity, but just have nothing more to add to the conversation. Perhaps it is a natural progression; they minimalize their writings along with the rest of their lives, until they find their blogging to be superfluous?

    Perhaps it is better they stop blogging once they run out of things to say. I’ve read (and stopped reading) a few blogs where you could tell the writer was trying really hard to come up with ideas but failing profoundly. Others end up so far into the philosophical or sociological realms that I find myself losing interest.

    There may be some, too, who latched on to minimalism as a fad, and for whatever reason have decided it isn’t popular enough anymore, so they’ve moved on to the next fad. Who knows?
    Mike | Homeless On Wheels recently posted Exploring RV Living – All The Comforts Of Home: Water, Gas, And More

    • I think all of those are good observations. When I can’t think of something to say or don’t have enough time to devote to writing a good post, I simply skip one or two and continue when I do.

      I’ve found that when I write spiritual or touch-feely posts, a whole new set of commenters sound off that I don’t hear from on more practical posts. That tells me that different people relate to different approaches. I suppose I should be more consistent with my approach, but I’m not.

      Gip

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