My blog’s tagline is “moving towards a simpler life”, and I have been moving in that direction for some time. I’m an avid reader, so naturally I’ve been reading books and blogs about anything related to the subject.
Two of the concepts I keep circling back to are frugality (which has been a focus in my life these last few months) and minimalism. I’m drawn to both, but I’m not really sure if I belong wholeheartedly in any of them.
Minimalism, as I understand it, is to strive to live with as few possessions as possible. There are people who aim for a certain (low) number of things. Some people also search to eliminate non-material distractions as well, leaving just the essential things to think and care about. I can relate to that. Fewer distractions is a necessity for me nowadays. Fewer possessions means less time and effort in upkeep, less time for cleaning (not my favorite pastime).
In the summer we stay at our cabin by the lake. It’s not actually a cabin, it’s a caravan with a wooden room (“spiketält”) attached. The caravan is about 10 m² ( 110 ft²) and the wooden room about 15 m² (160 ft²) – that’s the floorsizes, including storage space etc. We live there for most of the weekends from May – September, and 6-8 weeks straight in the summer (it is close enough that we can commute, just 30 minutes away by car). When we move home again at the end of summer I’m always amazed by all the space in our house!
And our house is not really big. We have 2 small bedrooms – one of which now serves as office/TV-room/guestroom – a living room, a kitchen big enough to have friends over for dinner in, and one bathroom. All in all 70 m² (750 ft²) – not counting the storage room, and a one-car garage with some extra space for Mr Livslevandes to work in. The house is roomy now that we (and the two cats) are the only ones living here. It was a bit more cramped when we had our two sons living with us – even though we used the now storage room as a bedroom back then.
Last autumn we renovated a couple of rooms in our house, and made one that bedroom into a storage room/clothes-drying-room. In the process we cleared out an amazing amount of stuff. (Truly amazing, since I have been clearing out unnecessary stuff for years…) The storage room actually has some empty shelves still after one year!
I can easily see myself living, like I did when I was young and still studying, in just one room with kitchenette and a small bathroom . (If I were living alone, that is.)
But I’m not sure if I am a “true” minimalist. I enjoy the process of clearing out unnecessary things, both material and time-consuming, yes. But I also like having stocks of things that I know I will use. Like socks. Or soap. Not a minimalistic trait, I think? And to much empty space feels – empty.
Frugality has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can see the advantages of frugality as well – but I’m not prepared to save everything just because it may one day be useful either… I enjoy clearing out stuff to much.
So not a minimalist life, nor an extremely frugal life. But a simpler, less stressful and more joyful life, that’s what I’m aiming for. And beginning to find, with the aid of ideas both from minimalism and frugality.